Coming off their biggest win of the season, Kansas State has a chance to start solidifying their hold on the NCAA bubble with another victory over a ranked team. Baylor, however, needs to stop the bleeding after losing to both Texas and West Virginia. Let's take a look at the Baylor Bears as we get ready for the second contest against the walking highlighters.
Know Your Opponent
Baylor (17-6, 7-4 Big 12, Kenpom #32, #26 RPI) appears to be similar to the Baylor Bears teams of recent memory. Baylor ranks 12th in adjusted offense efficiency while ranking 113 in adjusted defensive efficiency. What that means is Baylor scores at a highly efficient rate, but also allows a ton of points. This is not a good defensive team. The usually long, athletic zone is somewhat diminished this season due to a smaller than average front court. Ironically, K-State is basically the mirror opposite of Baylor, ranking 15th in defensive efficiency and 122 in offensive efficiency.
Besides a high efficiency rate, Baylor rebounds on the offensive glass at an incredibly high level. They are fifth in Offensive Rebounding % at 40.5%. The overall D-1 average is 29.9%, meaning Baylor grabs the offenisve rebound 10% more often than an average D-1 team.
On the defensive side of the ball Baylor allows opponents to convert 37.1% of their three point shots, good -- or bad, we guess -- for 296th in the country. That's awful, and could be attributed to a zone defense that has struggled this season. The good news for the Bears is Kansas State ranks 337th in the country in three-point shooting, at only 29.1%. If K-State shoots like they did against Oklahoma they should win tonight.
Keep a close watch on:
Taurean Prince. Prince led the Bears in scoring during the double overtime win last time these two teams matched up. He also killed the 'Cats on the glass grabbing 13 rebounds. Prince is the leader of the team on both offense and defense and holding him in check will be key tonight for the Wildcats.
Al Freeman, or "Sexy" Al Freeman as mattisbear calls him, didn't do much during regulation in the last match-up. However, Freeman was on fire in overtime scoring 11 points and almost single handily beating the Wildcats during those overtime periods.Offense/Defense Strategy:
Baylor scores in bunches, but as mentioned above they dominate the offensive glass. Similar to former Frank Martin teams, a missed shot for Baylor isn't always a bad thing given their rebounding prowess. If Rico Gathers and Prince don't have a body on them when a shot goes up, expect Kansas State to be in for a long night.
On defense, Baylor will run their typical zone defense for the majority of the game. They may transition to man to man for three to five minute stretches but with K-State's three point struggles a move out of the zone would be curious even for Scott Drew.
F Wesley Iwundu, 6-7 210 Jr
F Dean Wade, 6-10 225 Fr
F Stephen Hurt, 6-11 265 Sr
G Justin Edwards, 6-4 200 Sr
G Carlbe Ervin II, 6-3 205 Jr
F Taurean Prince, 6-8 220 Sr
F Rico Gathers, 6-8 275 Sr.
F Ishmail Wainright, 6-5 230 Jr
G Lester Medford, 5-10 175 Sr
G Al Freeman, 6-3 200 So
3 Keys To The Game
1. Contain Taurean Prince
Prince is the key to Baylor's offense. If Wesley Iwundu can make life difficult for Prince, I expect a positive outcome for the 'Cats
2. Limit Second Chances
Iwundu, Stephen Hurt, Dean Wade, DJ Johnson, and Justin Edwards better bring their A-game on the defensive glass. With Baylor crashing the offensive glass so hard, it'll be important to find a man and put their bodies on them.
3. Shoot with confidence
This team showed Saturday that when they play with confidence good things happen. Kansas State must keep playing with that confidence, feed off the energy of the crowd, and when an open shot presents itself they need to shoot like they expect it to go swish.
All stats by http://www.kenpom.com, or by the respective university's sports information.