Bears take on Wildcats again

Bears take on Wildcats again

– Tuesday night, the Bears play the Wildcats for the second game in a row. This edition is from Northwestern, and couldn't look more different than the last version of the Wildcats the Bears beat.

The Baylor Bears, fresh off a big road win against the Kentucky Wildcats, have another team of Wildcats in their cross-hairs. Northwestern comes to town, looking to stop a 2-game losing streak and get back on track to its first ever NCAA tournament appearance. The Wildcats started off their 2012 campaign 6-0 with wins over Big 12 conference mate TCU and Illinois State alongside a cast of lower profile programs. However, their last two games have seen the caliber of competition increase a bit, and the Wildcats have not responded.

2012-2013

Baylor

Northwestern

Sagarin

13

81

KenPom

21

86

Massey

30

68

TeamRanking.com

30

61

AP Poll

33

N/A

Coaches Poll

33

N/A

Their first loss of the season came in the Big 10/ACC Challenge which pitted them against Maryland at home. Despite 18 points from Drew Crawford, the Wildcats would fall on their home court 77-57. Just four days later, Northwestern fell again against University of Illinois-Chicago, a game that most expected the Wildcats to win. They were again led by Drew Crawford with 18 points, but only had one other player in double figures.

Baylor fans should be a little familiar with Northwestern, due to their game last year, a 69-41 Baylor blowout win. In that game, exactly one year prior to the game on Tuesday, the Bears limited the Wildcats to just 24% shooting. Below is the box score for Northwestern in that game:

Starters MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA FT FTA ORB TRB AST TOV PF PTS
Drew Crawford 38 5 16 .313 3 8 2 2 3 5 3 1 2 15
John Shurna 38 4 19 .211 0 7 3 5 1 3 2 0 1 11
Dave Sobolewski 37 0 4 .000 0 3 1 2 2 4 4 0 2 1
Luka Mirkovic 18 2 8 .250 0 0 2 2 1 3 0 4 1 6
Reggie Hearn 17 0 2 .000 0 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 0
Reserves MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA FT FTA ORB TRB AST TOV PF PTS
Davide Curletti 23 2 4 .500 0 1 1 2 3 5 1 2 3 5
Alex Marcotullio 20 1 3 .333 1 3 0 0 1 3 3 2 5 3
Nick Fruendt 7 0 1 .000 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 2 1 0
James Mongomery 2 0 1 .000 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
School Totals 200 14 58 .241 4 26 9 14 12 26 13 11 17 41
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CBB: View Original Table
Generated 12/3/2012.

Crawford, Sobolewski, and Hearn are the main contributors back along with newcomers Jared Swopshire (a graduate transfer from Louisville) and freshman Alex Olah and Kale Abrahamson.

Keys to Victory

-Stop the 3-point shooting of Northwestern – The Wildcats like to shoot the three point shot. They have the 16th most 3-pointers made this year, and the 26th most attempted. They make just 36.9% of them (good for 80th in the Country) but they have several capable shooters. Their most prolific is Reggie Hearn, who has made 18 of 26 so far this year. Drew Crawford is also capable as he has made 14 of 36, along with Sobolewski who is 13 of 26. If the Bears come out in a zone defense for the second game in a row, they will have to get out on shooters all over the court. The Bears 3-point defense has struggled at times this year, so they need to get out on those shooters and challenge all shots.

-Win on the glass – The Bears are one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the country. They have a distinct advantage over Northwestern

College Basketball Stats

-Get the game temp up – The Bears usually play much better when everyone is flying around and making plays. They play better when the tempo is higher and when they can get out and run. Northwestern is not necessarily a slow team, but they do prefer a slower tempo than the Bears. What helps them keep the tempo slower is their lack of turnovers. They only turn it over on 17% of their possessions, the 32nd best rate in the country. The Bears force turnovers on just 20.8% of possessions (21% is average). If Baylor wants to get out and run, they either need to force more turnovers, or make sure they rebound long misses and try and push the ball. That is something they did well against Kentucky at times, especially in the second half.

Predictions

KenPom.com – 70-59 Bears (85% chance for win)

Massey.com – 70-61 Bears (80% chance for win)

TeamRanking.com – 73.6 – 63.9 Bears (83.1% chance for win)

BearsIllustrated.com – 75-59 Bears

I think this is a great matchup for the Bears, who should be playing with confidence after their big road win against Kentucky. They have their full arsenal back and healthy now that Brady Heslip is healed from his emergency appendectomy surgery. They also can put a few different defensive looks on the court against Northwestern, as they will have to prepare for zone and man defense. I also think that Pierre Jackson will play much more efficiently, as he had a season high 7 turnovers against Kentucky that made that game even closer than it should have been. The Bears play with purpose and play hard and get the big win over a team of Wildcats for the second game in a row.

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