Big 12 Conference (25-7, 11-5)
Big Wins: 11/29 vs Xavier (69-64), 1/30 at Texas (80-77), 2/24 Texas A&M (70-66)
Bad Losses: 11/26 vs Alabama (76-79), 1/12 at Colorado (71-78), 2/20 at Oklahoma State (75-82)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2008, First Round loss to Purdue
Coach: Scott Drew (0-1 in 1 NCAA appearance)
Why They Can Surprise:
As a team Baylor shoots 48.6 percent from the floor and allows the opposition to shoot a mere 38.2 percent. Finding a larger shooting percentage differential than that is not an easy thing to do. The big men are the main reason for that success. Ekpe Udoh has emerged as a star in the Big 12 and is an absolute beast on the defensive end of the floor. He blocks 3.9 shots per game and alters countless others. Udoh is also a superb interior scorer and one of the best rebounders in the Big 12 Conference. Next to the 6-10 Udoh is another 6-10 player in Anthony Jones and a seven-footer in Josh Lomers. While neither is the scoring threat that Udoh is, Lomers is a solid defender and Jones can stretch out the defense with his outside shooting ability. All that size also makes Baylor one of the best rebounding teams in the nation.
The shooters on the perimeter keep the overall team shooting percentage up too. LaceDarius Dunn knocks down 42.5 percent of his long range attempts and leads the team with 19.4 points per game. Tweety Carter is not quite as effective with his outside shot, but he still puts up impressive numbers. Yet, Carter is also the point guard and dishes out 6.1 assists per game and makes the offense very efficient and effective.
Why They Can Disappoint:
The Bears pretty much run a seven man rotation, and that lack of depth can certainly be a cause for concern, but the bigger issue is that somehow eight players on the team average nearly one turnover per game. The overall numbers are not too bad, but the turnover margin is abysmal. Coach Scott Drew has done a great job rebuilding this group and this is a veteran team that needs to be able to keep the team under control. Starting three guys who are at least 6-10 will cause some turnover problems, but Carter and Dunn need to do a better job offsetting those turnovers by reducing their amount.
Who To Watch:
Quincy Acy is a great sixth man. The 6-7 sophomore had high expectations heading into Waco, Texas and he is living up to them now. Dunn, Carter and Udoh will do a majority of the scoring, but Acy is capable of stepping in and picking up where the others left off. His versatility is also a big plus since the only other player on the team that sees significant playing time is freshman A.J. Walton. Walton, who has earned a handful of starts this season while Carter was out, is another capable shooter and he will have to play a big role on this team if Carter or Dunn run into foul trouble.
Tweety Carter, Senior, Guard, 15.7 ppg, 6.1 apg
LaceDarius Dunn, Junior, Guard, 19.4 ppg, 1.8 apg, 4.8 rpg
Anthony Jones, Sophomore, Forward, 6.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg
Epke Udoh, Junior, Center, 13.9 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 3.9 bpg
Josh Lomers, Senior, Center, 6.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.1 bpg
Quincy Acy, Sophomore, Forward, 9.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg
A.J. Walton, Freshman, Guard, 3.8 ppg, 1.9 apg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.4 (29th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.3 (94, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.6 (13, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.2 (7, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.3 (66, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.1 (20, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.7 (51, 3)
Rebound Margin: 7.4 (7, 1)
Assists Per Game: 14.1 (90, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.9 (183, 9)
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