NCAA Wednesday Night Basketball: Baylor/Oklahoma Preview

by Big Al Staff

The nightcap in the Wednesday night college basketball doubleheader on ESPN2 at 10 PM ET involves two Big 12 teams that will make the NCAA Tournament.

Baylor hopes to make a deep run in the Big Dance in March. The Bears returned six players from their rotation that went 26-4 before the March shutdown. They have won their first nine games of the season after their 76-65 victory at Iowa State on Saturday as a 15.5-point favorite.

Preseason All-American Jared Butler is averaging 16.0 points-per-game while adding 5.8 assists-per-game. MaCio Teague is the team’s second-leading scorer with a 15.9 points-per-game scoring mark. Baylor’s four-guard small-ball lineup has another two players averaging double-digits in points. UNLV transfer Jonathan Tcharmwa Tchatchoua is contributing 8.0 rebounds-per-game.

The Bears rank second in the nation in the Associated Press poll. Their best win was a 13-point triumph against Illinois. COVID has postponed a handful of their games, with a showdown with Gonzaga in December being the most notable cancellation.

Head coach Scott Drew has a balanced team that ranks third in adjusted offensive efficiency at kenpom while ranking fifth in adjusted defensive efficiency in those metrics. Baylor had scored at least 82 points in their first eight games before their 76 points on Saturday against the Cyclones. The Bears are fifth in the country in forcing turnovers in 27.3% of their opponent’s possessions. They also rank fifth in the nation by rebounding 40.5% of their missed shots. Baylor is also second in the country, with a 3-point shooting percentage of 43.8%. The Bears are scoring 92.9 points-per-game while outscoring their opponents by 30.3 points-per-game.

Oklahoma has won four of their last five games, with their 75-71 win against West Virginia on Saturday as a 1.5-point favorite. That was the highest-profile win for head coach Lon Kruger’s team, with a victory against TCU being their second-best accomplishment. The Sooners lost by just two points against Texas Tech while suffering a 22-point loss at Xavier to account for their 6-2 record.

Kruger had over 70% of the production return last year's 19-12 team. Austin Reaves leads the way this year with a 15.0 points-per-game scoring average while adding 5.4 assists-per-game and 5.0 rebounds-per-game. Forward Brady Manek is adding 12.6 points-per-game along with 4.6 rebounds-per-game.

Oklahoma is 21st in the nation adjusted offensive efficiency and 64th on defense at kenpom. The Sooners have been tough to score on inside the arc, with opponents making only 42.2% of their 2-point shots. But Oklahoma is allowing opposing shooters to convert 39.6% of their 3-pointers. This contest continues a brutal stretch of games for Kruger’s team after playing ranked teams in Texas Tech and West Virginia before following up facing the second-ranked team in the country in Waco with a date in Lawrence against a Kansas team ranked sixth in the nation. The Sooners are scoring 81.7 points-per-game and outscoring their opponents by +10.8 points-per-game.

BookMaker lists Baylor as an 11.5-point favorite with the total set at 151.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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