With three straight wins for the Baylor Bears since the last time these two teams faced off, the Oklahoma State Cowboys can expect a bit of a different team. Gone is the stagnant motion and little ball movement that plagued the Bears early in conference play. In its stead is a much more fluid and crisp offense, less reliant on post ups and isolation plays late. Instead, the Bears are sharing the ball, using their guards or wings to penetrate the lane. This has brought the kick-out pass back into the lives of Baylor fans, and that is always a good thing. The Cowboys are on a nice little stretch as well, with wins over Texas on the road and then an upset over Kansas at home this weekend. Who will keep the good times rolling?
|No. 19 Baylor (18-5, 6-4) vs. Oklahoma State (16-7, 6-5)|
|Date||Monday, Feb. 9, 2015| 6:00 p.m. CT|
|Location||Waco. TX. / Ferrell Center (10,284)|
|Radio||ESPN Central Texas|
|Online Audio||Listen Online|
Fun Stats of the Game
- Baylor is looking to avoid a season sweep by OSU for the first time since 2006.
- Baylor has won its last 3 Big 12 games by 18+ points -- its just the 5th time in program history the Bears have won 3 straight conference games by double figures (Southwest Conference in 1955, 1968 and twice in 1988).
- All 5 Baylor starters average 8.3-11.8 points per game, and reserve Taurean Prince leads the team with 12.3 ppg.
- Baylor has won 17 of its last 18 home games, with the lone loss a 1-point defeat against No. 12 Kansas on Jan. 7.
- Through 23 games, Baylor opponents are averaging 11.2 fewer points than their season averages against the Bears.
- Oklahoma State is 9th best in steal percentage according to KenPom, getting a steal on 13.2% of defensive possessions. BOth Phil Forte and Anthony Hickey Jr. are excellent at getting steals.
Keys to the Game
1. Don't Assume the Good Time will Keep Rolling - The Bears are on a hot-streak, with 3 straight excellent performances resulting in blow out wins. The shots are falling, the breaks are going the Bears way, and the wins are starting to add up. When you are in a hot streak, sometimes it feels like it will never end...but they always do. Baylor cannot just expect for these good times to go on and on and on. They have to keep working, keep making their own luck. Those extra passes and unselfish plays have to keep driving the offense. If the Bears keep doing the RIGHT things, then good basketball will usually follow.
2. Make Forte Put the Ball on the Floor - One of the best shooters in the nation, Forte is as good as any with his feet set waiting for the ball. He is almost as good coming off of a curl or around a pick. Simply put, he is a tremendous shooter, converting over 41% of his 3-point chances into baskets. That is a great rate, especially for a high volume shooter. While Forte has improved his ability to put the ball on the floor and get into the paint, it is still not the strongest part of his game. Baylor has to come out hard on Forte and make him put the ball on the floor. They have to do that in the normal flow of the offense, but especially in transition or second chance opportunities off of offensive rebounds.
3. Take Advantage of Height on the Perimeter - The Cowboys feature two sub-6 foot guards on the perimeter with their small forward going only 6-2. They do have some options to go bigger, but that puts LeBryan Nash out on the wing, where he has not been as effective. This is a small team, especially at the guard spots. Baylor has to use that to their advantage, especially Royce O'Neale who has sometimes struggled to get good position down low against shorter defenders. His ability to finish in the paint, and also be a major threat to find open men if the opposition doubles down on him is a weapon.
It does not stop just with O'Neale though. Kenny Chery was able to get his shot off quite well last time against Oklahoma State, he just happened to miss almost everything he threw up there, missing 10 of 13 shots. Chery will get some open looks against the shorter Cowboy guards.
What Happened Last Time?
With one of the worst shooting performances of the year for the Bears, they never really had a chance in a 64-53 loss at Oklahoma State. Baylor shot just 34.5% from the field, only making 19 field goals in the game. With four Cowboys scoring in double figures, led by 16 points from Phil Forte, the Cowboys got the upset win at home and pushed 3-4 in conference play. Oklahoma State made 9 of 18 three-point shots and stayed pretty even on the glass, being out-rebounded 35-34.
KenPom.com – Baylor wins 65-59 (79% chance for win)
Massey.com – Baylor wins 67-59 (78% chance for win)
RealTime RPI – Baylor wins 75-62
Tim Watkins BearsIllustrated.com Writer– Baylor wins 72-64
If the Bears continue the trend of the past 3-games, this should be another big win for Baylor and another step towards competing for a Top-3 spot in the Big 12. Baylor's offense has been significantly more efficient and threatening since their trip to Stillwater.