clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Know Your Baptist Rival: Baylor

Baylor is just inconsistent enough that MIzzou might be able to sneak into Waco and knock them off, but as I mentioned on the podcast earlier this week, you could make a pretty legitimate case that Mizzou matches up with Baylor worse than with any other team in the conference sans Kansas.  If you're going to beat Baylor, you better be making your 3's, because you're probably not getting a clean shot off within about 7 feet of the basket.  Fear the Udoh.

Don't forget to post your Trifecta picks!


Baylor: 17-5 (4-4)

BU Opp
Points Per Minute
1.91 1.58
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.15 0.95
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.36 1.07
2-PT FG% 53.7% 39.7%
3-PT FG% 39.0% 32.3%
FT% 70.3% 65.0%
True Shooting % 58.7% 46.7%
BU Opp
Assists/Gm 14.2 12.3
Steals/Gm 6.1 5.9
Turnovers/Gm 14.1 12.3
Ball Control Index
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.44 1.48
BU Opp
Expected Offensive Rebounds/Gm 11.3 14.4
Offensive Rebounds/Gm 12.7 13.2
Difference +1.4 -1.2

Ken Pomeroy Stats

BU Offense vs MU Defense Ranks
BU Offense MU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 9 7 Push
Effective FG% 16 34 BU
Turnover % 177 1 MU Big
Off. Reb. % 16 321 BU Big
FTA/FGA 201 226 Push
MU Offense vs BU Defense Ranks
MU Offense BU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 41 40 Push
Effective FG% 61 19 BU
Turnover % 44 312 MU Big
Off. Reb. % 129 138 MU
FTA/FGA 234 102 BU Big

I mentioned this on the podcast too, but it's still one of the most baffling stats I've come across at Ken Pomeroy's site. Close your eyes and picture Baylor playing basketball: you're probably picturing a pretty free-wheeling, up-and-down style, right?  Wrong.  Baylor plays at one of the slowest tempos in the conference, ranking 235th in Tempo at  It's pretty clear that Scott Drew doesn't necessarily trust his bench -- they rank 318th in Bench Minutes.  If Mizzou can get them to run, they might be in good shape, but ... well, you have to make buckets to do that.  Can Mizzou shoot like they did in Boulder?

Where the Bears are strongest

  1. They are devastatingly efficient on offense. The Bears have scored over 80 points ten times despite their slow pace. They rank 10th overall in Efficiency, 31st in 3PT% offense, 24th in 2PT% offense, and 16th in Offensive Rebounding.  They work the clock, take the shot they want, and crash the boards in case they miss.  Mizzou will have to force a pretty high rate of turnovers if they want to win the game.

  2. They've got height, and they know how to use it. Their height comes across on offense with their high offensive rebounding rate, but their height is infinitely more effective on defense.  They block more shots than almost anybody in the country (they're 4th in Blocks%), and they alter a ridiculous amount of shots (they are 7th in 2PT% defense).  They are 2nd in the country according to KenPom's "Effective Height" measure, and it comes across in most "tall people" categories.

    (The one weakness: they go for enough blocks that they find themselves out of rebounding position occasionally -- they rank only 138th in defensive rebounding rate, meaning Mizzou might get a few opportunities for putbacks if Laurence Bowers and Justin Safford are hitting the boards like they did against Iowa State.)

    Because they are so effective on the interior, Baylor ends up giving up a ton of 3-point attempts. This is not what Mizzou fans want to hear, but the odds are pretty decent that Mizzou will be yanking up a ton of 3's, and as long as they are still trying to attack the rim from time to time, that might be their best chance.  Hope you shoot yourself out of your one-game slump, Marcus Denmon.

Where they are weakest

  1. They turn the ball over too much and don't force nearly enough turnovers. It appears that Baylor is comfortable enough in their shot-blocking and rebounding ability that they don't necessarily play too aggressively in terms of forcing turnovers.  They are among the country's worst in defensive turnover rate (312th) and steals (243rd).  That's good, because Mizzou will need to get off as many shots as humanly possible.

    Meanwhile, on offense, they rank 177th in turnovers, giving Mizzou significant advantages on both sides of the ball when it comes to ball-handling.  Mizzou will need to live up to every ounce of its 1st-place rank in defensive takeaways.

  2. They're almost as jumper-oriented as Mizzou. Yes, they make jumpers at a high rate.  LaceDarius Dunn shoots 41.0% from 3-point range, Tweety Carter 39.7%, Anthony Jones 36.4%, and A.J. Walton 55.0% (on just 20 attempts).  But if Mizzou's man-to-man defense is up to snuff, they might be able to tamp those %'s down a bit.

    Good ball movement can open up some shots against Mizzou's overly aggressive defense, but Baylor ranks just 253rd in Assists Per Field Goal Made, meaning they don't necessarily rely on ball movement -- it seems that they take on their man quite a bit and pull up for jumpers.  Unless Baylor's offensive rebounding rate is just obscenely high (which is certainly a possibility), this game will come down to who is making their jumpers, and while that does favor Baylor, Mizzou will have a chance if somebody gets hot and they force enough turnovers to offset the offensive rebounding.

BU's Season to Date

  • Wins vs KenPom's Top 200
    at #13 Texas (80-77, OT)
    vs #28 Xavier (69-64)
    at #34 Arizona State (64-61)
    #60 Oklahoma State (83-70)
    at #79 South Carolina (85-74)
    #87 Iowa State (84-63)
    #90 Oklahoma (91-60)
    vs #102 Iona (72-62, OT)
    vs #105 Arkansas (70-47)
    #138 Morgan State (79-63)
    #177 UMass (71-45)
  • Losses
    at #1 Kansas (75-81)
    #10 Kansas State (74-76)
    at #36 Texas A&M (71-78)
    vs #71 Alabama (76-79)
    at #89 Colorado (71-78)

Baylor has faced six Top 50 opponents, only one at home (ironically, it was a loss to K-State).  The Walton Center should be rocking, as, strangely enough, Mizzou is probably the second-biggest opponent Baylor has faced at home thus far.  The Bears are not as battle-tested as Mizzou's last few opponents -- ATM, CU, and ISU had all played more Top 50 opponents -- but obviously three away-from-home wins over the Top 50 (and two tight losses) means they won't be thrown by the moment by any means.

BU Player Stats

Player AdjGS*/Gm GmSc/Min Line
Ekpe Udoh (6'10, 240, Jr.) 18.3 0.52 35.0 MPG, 13.9 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 4.2 BPG, 2.8 APG, 2.3 TOPG
Tweety Carter (5'11, 185, Sr.)
15.8 0.43 36.6 MPG, 16.2 PPG, 6.1 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.4 SPG, 2.7 TOPG
LaceDarius Dunn (6'4, 205, Jr.) 14.2 0.44 32.4 MPG, 18.7 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 2.6 TOPG
Quincy Acy (6'7, 225, So.) 9.1 0.42 22.0 MPG, 8.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG
Anthony Jones (6'10, 195, So.) 7.2 0.26 27.7 MPG, 6.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.3 TOPG
Josh Lomers (7'0, 280, Sr.) 5.9 0.34 17.3 MPG, 6.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.3 TOPG
A.J. Walton (6'1, 190, Fr.) 4.5 0.27 16.8 MPG, 4.0 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.6 TOPG
Cory Jefferson (6'9, 200, Fr.) 1.7 0.30 5.8 MPG, 1.8 PPG, 1.5 RPG
Nolan Dennis (6'5, 180, Fr.) 1.3 0.13 10.0 MPG, 2.5 PPG, 1.2 RPG
Fred Ellis (6'6, 215, So.) 0.7 0.14 5.5 MPG, 1.1 PPG, 1.8 RPG
Dragan Sekelja (7'0, 275, Fr.) 1.6 0.44 36 minutes
Givon Crump (6'7, 210, Fr.) 0.1 0.02 37 minutes
Oscar Griffin (6'4, 200, Fr.) 0.3 0.15 23 minutes

* AdjGS = a take-off of the Game Score metric (definition here) accepted by a lot of basketball stat nerds.  It redistributes a team's points based not only on points scored, but also by giving credit for assists, rebounds (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls.  It is a stat intended to determine who had the biggest overall impact on the game itself, instead of just how many balls a player put through a basket.

  • It's odd that neither of Baylor's 16PPG+ players are #1 on this list, but that goes to show you just how dominant and important Ekpe Udoh has been to Baylor this year.  Udoh posted a triple-double (18 pts, 17 rebounds, 10 blocks) against Morgan State earlier in the season and has registered at least five blocks TEN times this year.  He is less physical than Cole Aldrich, but his arms seem about twice as long.  For a Mizzou team that finally got JT Tiller going in the "Stick Your Head Down and Plow Your Way to the basket" department the other day, Udoh is the last person they should want to face right now.
  • With such a slow-paced offense, it is REALLY hard to pull off the 16 PPG / 6 APG combo that Tweety Carter has.  In Mizzou's system, he might manage about a 19 & 8!
  • You can see that crashing the boards is a team effort for Baylor -- despite Udoh sucking up 10 boards a game, the Bears still have five other guys averaging at least 3 RPG.  They have the same number of 3 RPG'ers as Mizzou, only Mizzou's leader (Bowers) averages just 6 RPG.
  • Further proof that Mizzou needs to make their jumpers and run, run, run: Baylor's three best players, the only three in the rotation who average over 0.40 AdjGS/min, all average at least 32 minutes per game.  Running their pants off (or getting one of them in foul trouble) would benefit Mizzou significantly.  They're going to walk the ball up as much as possible, and if Mizzou can suck them into the running game, good things could happen.

Keys to the Game

  1. Make Your Jumpers. Duh. This one bears no further explanation.  Mizzou making jumpers leads to better pressing leads to faster tempo leads to more turnovers leads to better shots leads to a Mizzou victory.

  2. Get Some Second Chances. We probably have to accept the fact that Baylor is going to get more offensive rebounds than we would prefer.  However, there is an opportunity on the offensive glass, especially if Mizzou is taking shots closer to the basket (and therefore sucking a defender into going for the block).  If Mizzou's settling for 3's, they better go in.  But if guys like Mike Dixon, Marcus Denmon, Kim English, and Zaire Taylor are pulling up from the 8-10 foot range (shots that these four guys in particular have shown they can make), then Bowers/Safford/Ramsey might be able to get position underneath.  Negating as many of BU's offensive boards with second chances of their own could be very important.

  3. Double Them Up on BCI.  Despite fielding what is very obviously a rock solid basketball team this year, Baylor is actually losing the BCI battle for the season.  In the two MU-BU games last year, at Mizzou Arena and in the finals of the Big 12 Tournament, Mizzou's combined BCI was 2.00, while BU's was 1.06.  Mizzou is not as good as they were last year on the interior, while BU is much better there, but if Mizzou can maintain the doubled-up ball-handling advantage, they might be able to hold onto a smidge of what was a 30-point advantage over the two games.


If BU wins ... it probably won't be close.  You can see how this one could play out: Mizzou gets a couple of shots swatted early on and starts launching 3's at a really high rate ... and they don't go in.  Baylor dominates the glass, and either Carter or Dunn gets hot from long range; and when the guards do miss, Udoh and Quincy Acy are creating second-chance opportunities.  Baylor is up by 15+ in the first half and, despite a Mizzou run to make it respectable, wins 80-66.

If Mizzou wins ... someone -- probably either English or Denmon -- gets hot, opening up the offense quite a bit and, more importantly, allowing Mizzou to press.  They force enough turnovers to take a short lead at halftime and though the game remains close, Mizzou is keeping the tempo up enough to have the steadier legs down the stretch.  They make their free throws down the stretch and pull out an exciting 78-74 win.

I could definitely see Mizzou winning this game, but I just think the If Baylor Wins scenario is more realistic.  Unless Denmon in particular gets hot, expect an 80-66 Baylor win.