Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor looks to break 2-game losing streak in Manhattan against Kansas State

The 19th ranked Baylor Bears look to end their first losing streak of the season as they hit the road to take on Kansas State.

With their first losing streak of the season, the Baylor Bears look to bounce back against a Kansas State team riding high off of an upset win over #1 ranked Oklahoma this weekend.  The Bears have lost three of their past five games. With a stingy defense, the Wildcats hope to take away the outside shot for the Bears, and keep them off the glass to get their second big Top-25 home win in a row.  

MEDIA INFORMATION

No. 21/19 Baylor (17-6, 6-4) at Kansas State (14-9, 3-7)

Date

Feb. 10, 2016 | 7:15 p.m. CT

Location

Manhattan, Kan. | Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)

TV

ESPNEWS and WatchESPN

Radio

ESPN Central Texas

Online Audio

Listen Online

Live Stats

Gametracker

Twitter @BaylorMBB

STORYLINES

  • Wednesday is the 34th series meeting. Baylor is 16-17 all-time against K-State, including 6-10 in Manhattan. 
  • Baylor has won 4 of its last 5 games against K-State.?The teams split two meetings last season.
  • Baylor is looking to win four Big 12 road games in a season for a 3rd consecutive season.
  • Baylor’s 6-4 Big 12 record trails only the 8-2 start of 2012 for BU’s best-ever record through 10 Big 12 games. 
  • All of Baylor’s losses are against current top-20 RPI teams (at Oregon, at TAMU, at Kansas, vs. OU, vs. UT, at WVU). 

KEYS TO THE GAME

1.  With starting point guard Kamau Stokes possibly out for the year after a knee injury against Mississippi, the Wildcats will be without their best shooter against the Bears.  Stokes lit up Baylor for 20 points on 7-14 shooting, including 3-6 from behind the arc.  As a team, the Wildcats hit 5-10 from 3-point range, but that was an outlier on the season.  This is a poor shooting team, especially from the perimeter.  They make just 29.1% of their 3-point attempts, 337th in the nation. Fellow freshman Barry Brown has stepped up into the starting line, and as their best 3-point shooter.  He makes a team best 34.1%. Stretch forward Dean Wade has also stepped up recently, improving to 29.3% from deep, including making 3-6 against Oklahoma in their upset win. 

Overall though, this is a bad shooting team that perfers to work the ball down low with dribble penetration.  Wesley Iwundu is a capable scorer down low, and an effective driver, while Justin Edwards is very good at using his 6-foot-4 frame to finish through contact.  Baylor's zone will need to keep them out of the paint, and make them shoot over the top of the zone, while still challeging the few capable shooters they do have. 

2. Win the Glass - These are two of the best offensive rebounding teams in the Big 12 and even the nation. Baylor is 5th in the nation at 40.5%, while Kansas State is 27th at 36.1%. Both of these offenses thrive on second chance points.  Where these two teams differ greatly is on the defensive end of the court.  Baylor is tops in the Big 12 in defensive rebounding %, while Kansas State ranks 8th.  Almost 10% differentiates the two teams.  The Wildcats attack the offensive glass and win with numbers, while the Bears simply have much better skill and strength down low.  With Rico Gathers, Jonathan Motley, and Taurean Prince all being good to great on the glass, Baylor should be able to win in that area of the game, and take away a huge piece of the Wildcats success. 

3. Turn the Tempo Up - Kansas State has been very generous with turnovers this year, averaing a turnover on one out of every five possessions.  Key playmaker Wesley Iwundu commits a turnover on 23% of his possesssions, while new starting point guard Barry Brown is at 16.6%.  Their 323 turnovers are 250th in the nation, despite playing at a below average tempo.  

The Bears defense has been good at forcing turnovers this year, getting a free possession on 19.9% of their chances.  During Big 12 play, they are at 18.1%.  Baylor will need to force mistakes by Kansas State and get their offense going in transition.  The Wildcats defense has been very strong this year, especially against three-point shooting teams.  Getting good looks in the open court will relieve some of that pressure. 

WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME?

The 13th ranked Bears escaped a tough test at home against an unranked Kansas State team, winning in double overtime 79-72. Al Freeman scored 11 points in the two overtimes, as the Bears won their 5th straight game.  Kansas State led for almost the entire first half, and building that lead to as much as 10.  A quick 4-0 to close the half for Baylor and a 18-7 to start the half gave the Bears a 5 point lead.  The lead would go back and forth before Taurean Prince missed the second of two free throws to keep the leat at two. A bad foul on the inbounds play with 6 second left sent Kamau Stokes to the line to tie the game, before a Lester Medford jumper bounced off the rim. 

With the win, the Bears were at the top of the Big 12 standings with a 5-1 conference record.  

PREDICTIONS

KenPom.com – Baylor loses 70-68 (39% chance for win)

Massey.com – Baylor loses 72-68 (37% chance for win)

Tim Watkins, BearsIllustrated.com - Baylor wins 71-67

On paper, this is a very good matchup for the Bears. The Wildcats are a poor shooting team, which plays into the strength of the zone defense.  The Wildcats best attribute (rebounding) is a bigger strength for the Bears.  The Bears have yet to lose a "bad game", with their closest call coming against these Wildcats.  At just 3-7 in conference play, Kansas State is in the bottom third of the conference. This is a game the Bears need to win. Add in a hopeful hangover from their upset win over Oklahoma, and I think the Bears sneak out of Manhattan to complete the season sweep.  


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