As always, we take two looks back and three looks forward on Mondays!
1) Baylor played two games last week and won by a combined total of 56 points. It looks like the Bears finally shook off the "Playing to your competition" bug that swept them for much of the non-conference schedule. After beating a decent Oral Roberts team by 26 points, the Bears and Rico Gathers (who is an entity unto himself) walloped Savannah State on Friday night.
With these two games in the books, Baylor finished its non-conference schedule with one loss to the second ranked and undefeated Syracuse Orange and twelve wins over teams like Colorado, South Carolina, University of Louisiana Lafayette, Dayton, and Kentucky (all in the RPI top 100). There is an argument to be made that this is the strongest start for a Scott Drew team since he arrived at Baylor. Not that it is a good thing to be projecting the bare minimum number of wins to reach the NCAA tournament, but with this schedule already under their belts - Baylor would probably only need 7 more wins to be a bubble team and 8 to be a lock. That's less than .500 required in conference play. I think we are in pretty solid shape to not have to try and repeat our NIT championship run of last year.
2) Updated Opp/40
For those of you unfamiliar with the Opp/40 statistic, it is a high level look at how each individual is performing offensively within their role. The higher number the better.
1) The Bears have never won in Ames under Scott Drew. The phrase "The Bears have never won in X" has not been kind to us this year in sports (see: Stillwater), however if you ever wanted to face off against an undefeated, top 10 team on the road it's in this scenario: A) School is not back in yet B) It's expected to be negative two degrees C) It's an early tip-off.
My assumption is that though it will be a solid crowd, the weather might prevent a few people from venturing out and the some students will be at home having mom do laundry who otherwise might have painted faces.
2) I will provide a more in depth preview tomorrow, so to tease it I will start with the reasons you should be hopeful for a win. A) Iowa State has yet to face a team with as formidable a front court as we have, and they do not have a guy in the rotation playing who is above 6'7" B) Kenny Chery is just sneaky good. C) Rico Gathers is pulling down offensive rebounds like they are nothing and D) Isaiah Austin is learning how to control a game and finally E) I got all the way to "E" without mentioning Cory Jefferson
3) No one realizes this right now, but Baylor has a home game on Saturday against TCU who lost their Big 12 opener to West Virginia at home. TCU is not going to compete for the Big 12 by any stretch, but they are going to be annoying this year. Hopefully Baylor can get a good crowd together for its Big 12 home opener at the end of this week.
I'm sure this will come up in the comments, so I'll leave it for discussion there - but this is a good conversation starter from @TheAlanNoble
@TheAlanNoble at Iowa state makes it tough, if I were putting odds on it I'd say we win one of every four games played in Ames. More on Mon.— Ted Harrison (@tedvid) January 5, 2014
What are your thoughts on tomorrow night's matchup?
Also for a good read check out PocketChange's Plus/Minus!!