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Old 01-11-2024, 12:16 PM   #1
Queens_NYC
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Baylor

Saturday, January 13th, 2024
8:00 PM EST
Foster Pavilion
ESPN

The Bearcats (12-3, 1-1 Big 12, NET #32, KenPom #32) hit the road for a second consecutive weekend to and take on Baylor (13-2, 2-0 Big 12, NET #14, KenPom #14) in Waco, TX.

The Bears are led by esteemed coach Scott Drew who is in his 21st season in charge and brought the program its first national championship in 2021.

This year's team has made an early case for being the best offensive team in college basketball. They currently rank 4th nationally in KenPom's Adjusted Offense rankings and lead the country in team 3-point FG% (43.2%).

They are led by a Class of 2023 top 10 recruit and potential 2024 NBA lottery pick in 6'5 guard Ja'Kobe Walter who averages 15.3 ppg and 4.2 rpg.

Their roster boasts 5 other double-digit scorers with the most intriguing prospect being Class of 2023 top 50 recruit and 6'10 center Yves Missi who averages 10.1 ppg and 6.3 rpg on 66% shooting from the field.

This Saturday's match-up will mark Baylor's third game in their brand new arena, Foster Pavilion (capacity 7,000), which debuted in the Bears' 98-79 win over Cornell on January 2nd.

In Baylor's most recent home match-up against BYU, the Bears erased an early 9-point 2nd half deficit with a 10-0 run and would keep their lead at 2+ baskets for the final 6 minutes before winning 81-72. The most telling stat of the game was Baylor only committing 5 turnovers compared to BYU's 14.

Baylor is ranked #14 in this past week's AP Poll and represent the Bearcats' third straight nationally ranked opponent.
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Old 01-12-2024, 01:55 PM   #2
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Baylor is a ridiculously good three point shooting team. There isn't a single player on their roster who shoots under 33%. Nine of the ten players who have attempted a three make over 41%. They are also elite at the rim, converting 69% there. They rank #26 in offensive rebounding, grabbing 36% of their misses. And they have top 100 turnover and free throw rates. Baylor does everything well on the offensive end with very few weaknesses.

Defense is another story. They are outside the top 100 in each of the "four factors", though the overall defense ranks #91 because they don't do anything bad. When they lose it's generally because opponents are getting to the rim. In the three games where they gave up more than 1.18 points per possession (including both losses), their opponents got to the rim at least 23 times. Michigan St converted 18 of 23 rim looks (78%).

Slowing Baylor's offense is a huge challenge, but the good news is our scheme is tailored for a team like this. We're good at preventing open set shots from beyond the arc. Their highest usage player is PG RayJ Dennis, who turns it over more than 3 times per game. Their centers don't shoot threes. They aren't a great midrange shooting team, hitting under 36%. So if we can run them off the line and keep a shot blocker at the rim, we might do ok. That's going to be hard to do if we play two bigs, so I'd prefer to see mostly Skillings and Reed at the 4.

On offense we need to attack. Getting to the rim is the clear key to unlock their defense. I would go 5 out and run a lot of PnR with one big. If we do run with two bigs, pound it inside and get some interior passes and screens going.
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Old 01-13-2024, 07:09 AM   #3
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Old 01-13-2024, 09:13 PM   #4
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We got lucky on the defensive end in the first half. Baylor had a lot of wide open threes but made just 3 of 10. We went under ball screens, were surprised by down screens, and had a couple of PnR miscommunications. We need to clean that up in the second half. Vik and Jamille have done a good job protecting the rim though.

On offense we're playing a lot of 5 out, which is what I wanted to see. But there has been very little side to side ball movement to shift the defense before driving. Too much iso dribbling resulting in late clock heaves. We should try something as simple as a weave up top just to get some early action.

I'm happy with the score, but I have a feeling Baylor is going to hit more jump shots in the second half and put up 40. I think Wes needs to implement some simple actions to get more from the 5 out so we can keep up.
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Old 01-13-2024, 09:21 PM   #5
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We came out with a couple horns sets to start the second half. Great adjustment from Wes resulting in rim looks.
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Old 01-13-2024, 09:39 PM   #6
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And then Baylor counters with a zone and completely shuts us down.
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Old 01-13-2024, 10:34 PM   #7
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Fought back and had a great look at a potential game winner. That 11-0 run when Baylor switched to zone just killed us. We adjusted after the timeout and overloaded one side to get some three point looks and open the lane for drives, but by that point we were already down 6.

The defense was really good in the second half, I'd say even better than the first despite giving up 8 more points. We cut down on open three point looks and forced them into a lot of midrange shots, which Baylor was unfortunately hitting. Holding Baylor to 62 points is very impressive.

Good to see Day Day have a good game. I like that this team is versatile and can score and defend in multiple ways. Wes has shown in the last few games that he is up to the task of in gam adjustments. We would have lost these by 20 last year.
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Old 01-14-2024, 01:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sedziobs View Post
Fought back and had a great look at a potential game winner. That 11-0 run when Baylor switched to zone just killed us. We adjusted after the timeout and overloaded one side to get some three point looks and open the lane for drives, but by that point we were already down 6.

The defense was really good in the second half, I'd say even better than the first despite giving up 8 more points. We cut down on open three point looks and forced them into a lot of midrange shots, which Baylor was unfortunately hitting. Holding Baylor to 62 points is very impressive.

Good to see Day Day have a good game. I like that this team is versatile and can score and defend in multiple ways. Wes has shown in the last few games that he is up to the task of in gam adjustments. We would have lost these by 20 last year.
Great synopsis. I thought the defensive game plan and execution could not have been any better. I absolutely agree with your last sentence. The performances from the last 3 games are on a different level from what we saw last season.

I hope last night represented a turning point of sorts for Skillings. Over the past 5 games he has averaged 16 ppg on 61.7% 2FG and 45.5% 3FG.

We're gonna need someone to help pick up the offensive load with CJ out and a number of our other playmakers prone to inconsistency while competing in a tough league.
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