Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

17th ranked Baylor hosts Georgia in Big12/SEC Challenge

The 17th ranked Baylor Bears host the Georgia Bulldogs in the Big 12 / SEC Challenge Saturday evening.

The 17th ranked Baylor Bears exit conference play Saturday evening to host Georgia in the Big 12 / SEC Challenge.  This is the 3rd year for the challenge, with Baylor defeated Kentucky and Venderbilt in the first two matchups.  Georgia is coming off a tight road loss to LSU, 89-85, giving the Bulldogs a 1-4 record away from home on the season.  Baylor enters the game ranked in the Top-25, and winners of 6 of their last 7 games, including a road victory over Oklahoma State earlier in the week. 

MEDIA INFORMATION

No. 17/18 Baylor (16-4) vs. Georgia (11-7)

Date

Jan. 30, 2016 | 5:00 p.m. CT

Location

Waco, Texas | Ferrell Center (10,284)

TV

ESPN2 and WatchESPN

Radio

ESPN Central Texas

Online Audio

Listen Online

Live Stats

Gametracker

Twitter @BaylorMBB

STORYLINES

  • Saturday is the first meeting between Baylor and UGA. BU is 33-10 against first-time opponents in the Drew era. 
  • Baylor is 7-1 against SEC?teams since the start of the 2012-13 season, including a pair of wins vs. Kentucky, two wins against Vanderbilt, two wins against South?Carolina and one win over Texas A&M. 
  • Baylor has the Big 12's best record in "conference challenge" games at 5-1. BU went 3-1 during the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series and is 2-0 in the Big 12/SEC?Challenge, with wins over Kentucky and at Vanderbilt. 
  • Baylor has won 33 consecutive non-conference home games -- last loss to?Northwestern on Dec. 4, 2012. 

KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Force Turnovers - This might be the biggest mismatch statistically between these two teams, as the Bears are just outside the Top-50 in turnovers forced, while Georgia is closer to the bottom-50 in turnovers allowed.  Baylor forced a turnover on 20.6% of their defensive possessions, while Georgia coughs it up 20.4% of the time.  Outside of point guard JJ Frazier, they have been awful at taking care of the ball, especially in the front court.  Starting small forward Charles Mann turns the ball over 23.3% of the time, with key post backup Derek Ogbeide doing it 31.1% of the time.  Expect the Bears to try and force the big-men of Georgia to pass the ball in tough situations.  

2. Key in on Gaines and Frazier - Three of the four top scorers for the Bulldogs are in the backcourt, with Gaines (13.4 ppg) and Frazier (16.3) leading the way for them.  Both are very good 3-point threats, making a combined 100 three-pointers on the season.  THey both shot over 40% from long range.  However, outside of that dynamic duo, they have mae only 26 3-pointers as a team.  They do not have a lot of weapons that can spread the floor.  Baylor will have to stay on the two starting guards for Georgia, and make sure they give them little space to get open and shoot.  

3. Finish Through Contact - The Bulldogs are a very aggressive team defensively, with an elite rim protector in Yante Maten.  They ahve four players in the top-500 in block % in the nation, and as a team, they are the 17th best team in block %.  They go for blocks and will foul to do so.  They foul a lot, and also get fouled a lot.  They are 25th in the nation in free throws attempt rate, and 306th in allowed, with both right around 44.  That is incredibly high.  This is a game that should have a lot of whistles.  

The Bears will need to finish through that contact, and use the pump fake and other weapons to nullify their rim protectors.  Rico Gathers will be a key asset in this manner, especially if he can make his free throws.  

PREDICTIONS

KenPom - Bears win 73-63 (84% chance for win)

Massey - Bears win 74-64 (84% chance for win)

Tim Watkins, BearsIllustrated.com - Baylor wins 79-64

This appears to be a big mismatch to me for the Bulldogs.  Georgia does several things very well, but they all align with strengths for the Bears.  Add in Georgia turnovers, and the Bears ability to cause turnovers and then score in transition, and I think this game gets away from the visitors midway through the second half.

Georgia has also not played a lot of high level teams this year.  Their best win according to KenPom is against 51st ranked Clemson.  They are 0-4 against Top-50 teams, losing by an average of 14 points, though that is greatly skewed by a 34 point loss at home against Texas A&M.  Baylor continues a great run against the SEC, especially in the official challenge games, and gets another solid win for the resume.  


Bears Illustrated Top Stories