Baylor to Open Big 12 Play Against Tech

The #23 ranked Baylor Bears open Big 12 conference action Saturday at 12:45 in the Ferrell Center in Waco against Texas Tech. BearsIllustrated.com breaks it down.

Since Curtis Jerrells committed to Baylor on March 7, 2004, Henry Dugat committed to Baylor on August 9th, 2004, and Kevin Rogers comitted to Baylor on September 30, 2004, this is the season Baylor Bear fans have been waiting for. After getting through the nonconference schedule with some good wins, a couple of tough losses, and a national ranking going on 6 weeks, Baylor is ready to see how good they can be in the Big 12. Despite some hopes of a possible conference championship, Scott Drew and the Bears know they have to take it one game at a time, and so here's how the match with Texas Tech shakes out.

Schedule Talk

Currently Texas Tech sits at 10-5 (good for 2nd worst in the Big 12). Their losses are to #1 Pitt by 13, Lamar by 6, Utep by 18, Stanford by 45, and TCU by 5. 4 of the losses were away from home, TCU being the only home loss.

The Red Raiders have a handful of wins over teams you've heard of - Mississippi State, Wichita State, and New Mexico. And Baylor and Tech have one common opponent - Centenary. Tech beat them by 14 in Lubbock, and Baylor beat them by 35 in Waco (note: both were up by 20 or so at half though).

Players Talk

Tech is led in scoring by 2 guards: 5-11 sophomore John Roberson (#21) at 14.9 ppg and 6 assists per game; and 6-3 senior Alan Voskuil (#20) at 14.5 ppg. You probably remember Voskuil as a classic stop and pop shooter. He has really struggled in most of their losses - 2 of 10 for 7 points against Pitt, 3 of 13 for 11 points against TCU, 2 of 8 for 6 points against Stanford. Interestingly, his best game of the year was in a loss to UTEP; he had 33 points, 9 assists and 4 boards.

Last year, Baylor did an okay job against Voskuil putting him in foul trouble the first game in Waco (he scored 16 points in 27 minutes), and a great job in Lubbock as he was 0 of 6 from the field for 0 points in 31 minutes. Baylor will need to apply the same pressure against him as he's not near as effective against high pressure. This will be a chance for Baylor's defense to redeem itself from the South Carolina game.

After the 2 guards, you have 6-6 sophomore forward Mike Singletary (#32) scoring 11 a game and newcomer 6-1 junior guard Nick Okorie (#23) at 10.5 a game. That's some pretty decent balance with 4 guys in double figures.

Singletary leads Tech in rebounding at 5.8, with Voskuil and D'Wayln Roberts both averaging over 4.

Team Comparisons

Tech has 2 players averaging over 30 minutes a game (Roberson and Voskuil), whereas Baylor has 3 (Jerrells, Dugat, and Tweety Carter). Tech actually has 10 guys who average double-digit minutes - but that may be misleading as the rotation may get shortened in conference (for reference, Baylor has 9 including a few guys who have seen little to no time in bigger games).

Tech is 4th in scoring in offense in the Big 12 (Baylor is 3rd), but that is skewed due to their ridiculous 167 point game. If you just take that outlier game out, they would fall to 77 ppg which would be 7th in the Big 12. The big thing is defense. Baylor knows the story here as far as it is concerned - and currently Baylor is sitting at 10th in the Big 12 giving up 65 a game. BUT, Tech is even worse - they are 12th in the league giving up a huge 78 a game. Even if you take out the same outlier game, they are still 12th giving up 75 a game.

Scoring margin: Baylor is 3rd, Tech is 11th.

FG %: Baylor is 1st, Tech 8th.

Rebounding: Tech is 6th, Baylor 8th, but rebounding margin Baylor is 7th and Tech 10th.

Tech gets about 2 assists a game more than Baylor, but Baylor gets 2 more steals per game.

As for individual players - Baylor has 3 guys break the top 20 in the league in scoring, Tech have the 2 guards; Kevin Rogers is 6th in rebounding, Tech has Singletary at 16th; Baylor has Jerrells as the leading assist guy in the league! and Dugat at 15, Tech has Roberson at 3.

Last Time Out

Last time out was obviously last year - there's essentially a player or two different between each team - Baylor lost Bruce, but Tech is way more effected by losing Zeno. Baylor fans always hated playing Zeno, even though he didn't hurt them too much last year (because Baylor won both). He seemed to be a leader for them, and a guy they could count on to compete against better teams.

Baylor was 2-0 against them last year, beating them by 6 in Waco, and 13 in Lubbock. Most Baylor fans recall the Lubbock game as they needed it to get in the NCAA tourney and Lacedarius Dunn absolutely tore up Tech for 38 points. In Waco, Singletary ate Baylor alive scoring 20 points and getting to the line 13 times. Baylor was up by 14 in the second half in that game, but relaxed and let Voskuil and Roberson hit some 3's, and Singletary hit some free throws to get it all the way down to a 3 point lead in the closing minutes. Baylor made 6 straight free throws towards the end to win the game.

In Lubbock - everyone basically sat back and watched Lace. Zeno lit Baylor up for 27 and Roberson had 25. But Baylor rode Lace's back and got Baylor in the NCAA tourney.

Summary and Projection

So what does all that mean? There is no question Baylor has much more talent than Tech. They have some very bad losses this year - and not many impressive wins. Tech is undersized and should be outmatched. Baylor SHOULD be able to build a first half lead if they pressure Voskuil a ton. If Baylor can do that, they just need to keep the clamps on this time and build on the lead rather than let somebody make a bunch of shots right before the half like what happened against South Carolina.

Baylor fans hope Rogers continues to come to play like he has recently, because he could have a big night. Baylor also needs to not let the undersized Singletary eat them alive inside - no reason they should be getting in foul trouble off of him.

I'm guessing Tweety starts the game on Roberson, and Dugat on Voskuil - Baylor fans hope those two will make a commitment to disrupting them early - if Baylor gets some stops, and gets out on the run with CJ - there's no doubt they should build that early lead.

Baylor fans would love to see Baylor win this first conference game convincingly. This may be one of the most winnable of the year because Tech looks to be having a pretty tough season and it's at home. So all in all, Baylor fans will be expecting a double digit win.


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