McNeese State v. Baylor Basketball Preview

Baylor Men's Basketball hosts the McNeese State Cowboys tonight to open the 2014-15 season. What should Scott Drew and company be on the lookout for?

Quick Facts about McNeese State:

Location: Lake Charles, LA

Conference: Southland Conference

Mascot: Cowboys

Colors: Blue and Gold

Head Coach: Dave Simmons (Overall Record: 112-136)

2013-14 Record: 11-20 (9-9 conference, 3-14 away)

Last Matchup versus Baylor: 78-55 loss to the Bears in 1999

Last NCAA Tournament Appearance: 2002

Game Preview:

The Baylor Bears open the 2014-15 season at home against McNeese State on Friday November 12, 2014 at 8:30 CT (TV: FSSW). To be honest, there is not much to say about McNeese State, as with most opening games against lower-conference opponents.

The Cowboys lost their leading scorer from last season Ledrick Eackles, who put up 17.8 ppg and close to 5 rpg in just over 31 minutes. The next leading scorer, Kevin Hardy, returns to the team as a senior and is expected to take over the bulk of the offensive work. The 6-2 guard has good height for the position and is able to finish around the rim, but he is still raw as a distance shooter, averaging around 35% from three. That said, he is probably the most complete player on the McNeese State roster, averaging 11 ppg (46% FG), 6.7 apg, and 4.3 rpg last season. The Bears will have their work cut out for them defending No. 11 on the Cowboys, as he will have the positional height advantage on two of our three main guards (Kenny Chery and Lester Medford).

Offensively for the Bears, look to see how Coach Drew and company utilize Johnathan Motley, coming off a redshirt season, and Rico Gathers down low and near the basket. As with most teams in their situation, McNeese State is generally undersized at the forward position; the tallest player is listed at 6’7’’. The bigs on this Baylor team are probably the biggest question mark and it will be interesting to see how Scott Drew game plans to get his newly-starting forwards into a game-speed rhythm.

In the end, this Baylor team should be able to easily handle the McNeese State Cowboys. Fans should be on the lookout for the speed at which this Baylor team plays and the size of the rotations employed by the coaching staff, as both of those will point to where this team will be heading in the future.

Players to Watch:

McNeese State – Kevin Hardy

Baylor – Johnathan Motley and Rico Gathers

Final Prediction:

McNeese State – 52 Baylor - 78

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