Baylor-Arizona: Prediction and Three Keys

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Sic ‘Em!

Baylor takes on Arizona at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday in the Ferrell Center. The game airs on ESPNU.

Tickets to the game are free because of the Big 12 title game. If you arrive at the Ferrell Center after 9:00, you can enter without handing anyone money. If you had someone money, you have been the victim of theft.

With the Big 12 Championship Game, we’re not going to do as big of a breakdown. But we will return to the giant breakdowns soon.

Here are three keys:

1) Defending without fouling– Arizona has the No. 7 KenPom offense, and they rank No. 45 in free throw rate. Baylor had some foul issues against Arizona and Villanova. The Bears will need Davion Mitchell to stay in the game and handle Arizona’s top guards.

2) Let it rain- Arizona is 223rd in percent of points allowed from three. Jared Butler is shooting over 50% from beyond the arc, and the Bears are 20th in 3-point percentage. No need to work too much inside against the Wildcats.

3) Handle the weird crowd- I’m hopeful the free tickets lead to Waco folks taking over the arena. But with the Big 12 title, I’m worried they’ll be 4,000 people at this game, and the vast majority will be Arizona fans. I don’t blame anyone on the poor attendance—it’s rare to have a marquee game at the same time as a major football game. But it’s possible Arizona has more fans at this one.

Prediction:

The crowd has me a little worried, but the Bears have a better team. KenPom gives Baylor a six point edge, and Torvik likes the Bears by six.

The Bears take care of business. Butler has a nice game—proving he’s better than Arizona’s young guards—and Mitchell makes a few big defensive plays. I’ll take Baylor 74-66.

Source: The Baylor Lariat