Many of you already know about my disdain for Baylor head coach Scott Drew, but I have sought counseling regarding the matter and have come to find out the following:
- Drew is the youngest of 11 coaches nationally to take his current program to three Sweet 16 appearances in the last five seasons;
- Since the start of 2007-2008, Baylor is 182-84 (24 wins per season) and has made six postseason appearances under Drew;
- Prior to 2007-2008, Baylor won only 135 games in the first eleven seasons of the Big 12 Conference era (12.3 wins per season).
Baylor’s success is predicated upon an outstanding defense that is allowing just 56.3 points per game on 38.3% shooting from the field and 27.3% from beyond the arc to teams that would combine to average 69.0 points per game against a mediocre defensive squad. The Bears are also 8-1 at home this season where they are limiting opponents to a mere 52.8 points per game on 37.7% shooting from the floor and 27.4% from three-point territory.
For the first time since 2009, Baylor has held four Division I opponents below to 50 points. Baylor has held 14 of its fifteen opponents at or below their season average, ranks 14th nationally in scoring defense and 8th nationally in three-point field goal defense. Overall, the Bears are 12.7 points per game better than average defensively, which is certainly good enough to slow down a very good Iowa State attack that is 13.2 points per game better than average (80.4 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 67.2 points per game).
Baylor takes the floor with a well-balanced attack that has seen eight difference players combine to score in double figures 41 times through the first seventeen games. All five starters average between 8 and ten points, while reserve Taurean Prince leads the team with 12.1 points per game. The Bears rank 4th nationally with 16.1 offensive rebounds per game and rank 7th in the nation in total rebounds per game (41.3). Rico Gathers leads the nation with 5.53 offensive rebounds per game and ranks 6th nationally in total rebound per game (11.3).
The Bears rank 6th nationally in rebounding margin (+10.2) and have posted equal or more second-chance points than their opponents in all fifteen games this season. Overall, the Bears are 5.0 points per game better than average offensively (68.7 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 63.7 points per game, which gives them a nominal advantage over an Iowa State defense that is 4.7 points per game better than average (65.4 points per game to teams that would combine to average 70.1 points per game).
The situation strongly favors Baylor as the Cyclones are coming off an exhausting 74-72 win at West Virginia and have a huge home game on deck against Kansas. Meanwhile, Baylor demonstrated both focus and determination with its 66-59 win at TCU, which came on the heals of an emotionally-draining loss to Kansas at the buzzer. From a technical standpoint, the home team is 21-2 in this series (13-2 ATS L/15), while the Bears are 9-2 all-time against Iowa State in Waco. Take Baylor on the money line and invest with confidence.