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A Brief Baylor Preview

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor is ranked a spot above the Jayhawks in KenPom, but the Bears are 1-2 against the only three quality opponents they've played (and that's if you consider South Carolina quality) and are mostly resting on the laurels of beating up some bad teams and KenPom overrating a couple SEC teams.

As for the matchup, Baylor is a bit like the Jayhawks in that they aren't great at shooting twos, but shoot threes well and get a ton of offensive rebounds. The Bears rank 4th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage thanks in large part to Rico Gathers, who ranks second. Gathers will get his boards, but I think the Jayhawks will be able to hold their own on the glass against the rest of the team. If that proves to be true, Baylor is going to have a tough time scoring enough (barring an insane three point shooting effort) to win.

Speaking of threes, junior Taurean Prince is shooting 53.8 percent behind the arc. Given that he shot 36 percent last year and is not even shooting 60 percent from the line, however, I think he'll start to cool off a bit. Let's just hope he does enough in this one. Other than him, Baylor's offense isn't terribly impressive. Royce O'Neale is shooting 41.3 percent from three, but if those two aren't shooting well behind the arc, I think we can pretty much write off Baylor even scoring a point per possession.

On the other side of the ball, Baylor is allowing opponents to shoot 43.4 percent on twos, and just 27.8 on threes. The latter is easier to dispense with. Baylor is allowing teams to shoot quite a few threes, and they've gotten some good looks in the games I've watched, they just haven't fallen. In terms of twos, the Bears rank 183rd nationally (via hoop-math) in FG% allowed at the rim, but only allow opponents to take about 30% of their shots at the rim. Although freshman Johnathan Motley is a good shot blocker, he doesn't play a ton, and if the Jayhawks can get to the rim I think they can score some points against Baylor.

A final note on Baylor's defense: I'm not sure how much they (or any Big 12 opponent from here on out) will play zone against Kansas, but unlike last year the Jayhawks should be inviting it. I won't go through the possession by possession numbers, but Kansas is destroying zones this year, and it's for a few reasons. The biggest is that while Kansas is shooting well from three (39.2%), they take just 29 percent of their shots from three. A zone basically invites Kansas to shoot threes, something they're great at but might not want to do. Secondly, zones invite offensive rebounds, which is something Kansas relies on to score. Finally, while the Jayhawks have had turnover problems at times, they also can move the ball fairly well while not under pressure, and Ellis, Oubre, and even Traylor at times are effective at the free throw line against the zone (albeit in different ways). Oh yeah, and a zone also invites sweet Cliff dunks.

Last time out, Frank Mason's runner ruined my cover, dropping me to a disheartening 8-5 ATS this year. Baylor is favored by 2.5 at most places, and I think the Jayhawks will cover and win 70-61.