Bears Look for Season Sweep over TCU

The climb to over an over .500 record in the Big 12 continues for the Baylor Bears, this time with TCU coming to the Ferrell Center looking to stop a 4-game slide. Can the Bears get over the hump or will TCU score a big-time upset?

The Baylor Bears have their first back to back home games in Big 12 play with TCU coming to Waco Wednesday night. Baylor beat Texas on Saturday, 83-60 to get to 4-4 in Big 12 play. With a win over TCU, the Bears would be over .500 for the first time in Big 12 play. A win would also complete the season sweep for the Bears over TCU for the third straight year.

No. 19 Baylor (16-5, 4-4) vs. TCU (14-7, 1-7)
Date Saturday, Feb. 4, 2015| 7:00 p.m. CT
Location Waco. TX. / Ferrell Center (10,284)
Radio ESPN Central Texas
Online Audio Listen Online
Live Stats Gametracker
Twitter @BaylorMBB

Fun Stats of the Game

-For the 2nd consecutive game, the Bears will face off against a Top-10 offensive rebounding team. According to KenPom's Offensive Rebound percentage Texas is ranked 6th, while TCU is ranked 10th. The Bears are 1st.

-After starting the year 13-0, TCU is just 1-7 in Big 12 play, and has lost 4 in a row. Their lone Big 12 win is on the road at Texas Tech, 62-42.

-Expect a slow game, as both teams are in the bottom third of the NCAA in terms of possessions per game. Baylor is 308th in adjusted Tempo according to KenPom, while TCU is 260th.

Keys to the Game

1. Move the ball - Statistically, it would be pretty difficult for the Bears to shoot worse than they did against TCU the last time these two teams played at a glorified high school gym with odd site lines at the Wilkerson-Greines Athletic Center. With a home crowd and a comfortable environment welcoming the Bears Wednesday night, it should much better. Even when they shot poorly against Oklahoma State in their last loss, they made over 35% of their shots. as we talked about earlier this week, the Baylor offense is at its best when the ball is moving and the extra pass is made. TCU still has the 2nd best defense in terms of effective field goal percentage allowed, and they are especially tough inside of the 3-point circle allowing just 38.4% shooting.

They do this by challenging everything hard, as they foul at a ridiculous rate. All three of their starting front court players (Karviar Shepherd, Kenrich Williams, and Chris Washburn) are very good shot blockers and bring good height with all three above 6-foot-7. With great rim protection, the TCU guards can be very physical and aggressive on the perimeter, which can put them in a position to foul, especially if the Big 12 refs that night are not allowing hand-checking. With the aggressive defense, the Bears need to move the ball, and get TCU over-helping and then let the ball go to the open man or spot on the floor.

2. Limit Anderson - While the talent at TCU has gotten better this year, there is really only one player that can beat the Bears on the floor; Kyan Anderson. With tremendous range on his shot and the ability to get into the lane and finish or find a teammate for an easy bucket, Anderson is one of the more underrated offensive threats in the Big 12. He averages a team high 13.57 points, and almost 4 assists per game. He plays big minutes (just over 30 per game) and is the guy that runs this offense.

The senior point guard has had some big games against Baylor the last two years, with a career high 29 point effort against them last year in Fort Worth. He is a pass first point guard most of the time, but is unafraid to take big shots when he needs to. With the Bears zone defense, they can't give Anderson too much room. No other Horned Frog has made more than 17 3-pointers, compared to the 34 that Anderson has. No one has even attempted half of Anderson's 107 3-point attempts on the year. He is their long-range offense, and someone the scouting report will have to focus on.

3. Win the Charity Stripe - This was the key to the Bears win in Fort Worth, as they outscored TCU by 16 points in their first game. Baylor shot 46 free throws, compared to just 28 for the Horned Frogs. Both of those are a by-product of the teams defense. The Bears zone simply does not foul very often. In fact, only 17.5% of the Bears oppositions points come from free throws (318th in the nation). TCU on the other hand has 10% more of their points allowed come from the charity stripe (27.7% - 6th highest). TCU has sent their opponent to the line 519 times this year.

The good news for TCU is that they are excellent at drawing fouls and getting to the line themselves. They have the 6th most free throws in the nation with all five of their starters being above average at forcing fouls. Unfortunately, the Frogs are one of the worst free throw shooting teams in the nation, converting just over 60% of their foul shots. Baylor will send TCU to the foul line, but should more than make up for it with their own trips to the charity stripe. Outscoring TCU from there will be a big key to another victory, just like their win in Fort Worth.

What Happened Last Time?

The Bears survived a trip to Fort Worth with an ugly 66-59 overtime win. In one of the worst displays of offensive basketball, the Bears made under 30% of their shots, and went to the free throw line 46 times. There were 52 total fouls, 23 turnovers, 75 missed shots and just a ton of ugly basketball. Rico Gathers and Taurean Prince led the Bears in scoring with 17 apiece with Rico also chipping in 18 rebounds. The less remembered or said about this basketball game, the better.

Predictions – Baylor wins 64-56 (83% chance for win) – Baylor wins 66-56 (82% chance for win)

RealTime RPI – Baylor wins 75-59

Tim Watkins Writer– Baylor wins 69-52

Since TCU came into the Big 12, the Bears and Horned Frogs have faced 5 times. Baylor is 5-0 in those games, winning them by an average of 20.8. The closest game has been the 8 point win for the Bears earlier this year, but three games have been won by more than 25 points. Yes, TCU is better than they have been the past 2 season. If the Bears play with the same energy, passion and sharpness that they did against Texas, this game will be more like the 30-point blowouts we have seen in the past.

Simply put, the Bears are still a much better team than TCU, who is still a few years away from truly competing in the Big 12. With Taurean Prince leading the way and Kenny Chery continuing his hot shooting, the Bears will ride a strong defensive effort that forces a lot of TCU turnovers to get an easy win at home.

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