Baylor has a losing record in Conference play, yet is still ranked in the Top 25. That shows how deep the Conference is. Oklahoma is only one Game better with a 3-3 Big 12 record, and that’s mainly because of their 10-point win three weeks ago in Norman against Baylor.
The Sooners won 73-63 in a Game that was close for most of the way. Oklahoma had three starters Scoreat least 19 points, while the Bears got 24 from Johnathan Motley and no more than nine from anyone else. Considering how Kenny Chery played, to still be competitive in this Game was not a bad result. OUtside of Motley, Baylor’s other Four starters shot 7-of-31 from the field. TaShawn Thomas dominated down low for OU, while Isaiah Cousins and Buddy Hield had Four three-pointers apiece.
The funny thing about the Big 12 is that neither one of these teams has great wins in non-Conference play. While Big 12 teams will beat up on each other in Conference play, their worth outside of the Conference is still up for debate. Baylor lost to Illinois and their best win was probably at South Carolina. Oklahoma lost to Creighton and Washington and their best win was against Butler.
Like most teams, Baylor is a much better team at home and the result of this Game could be exactly the opposite as the last. The Bears already beat Iowa State at home and came close to beating Kansas. Oklahoma has lost two straight road Games coming after a huge win at Texas.
For Baylor to get the win, Kenny Chery will undoubtedly need a better performance. It may have been his worst Game of the season when these teams played previously. Whether it was a bad night or credit to Oklahoma’s defense, we’ll have a better idea after this Game. Chery is the best pure scorer on this team and has averaged 18 points over the last Four Games (he had Four in the first matchup). In addition, Baylor will need to get better defense in the backcOurt from Chery and Lester Medford. Oklahoma’s guards can Scoreif they get open looks, that’s for sure.
In the paint, TaShawn Thomas had one of his best Games of the year in the first matchup with 24 points on 11-of-17 shooting. You have to think Baylor will defend him differently with the size they have in guys like Motley and Rico Gathers. Ryan Spangler didn’t have a great Game in the first meeting, but he’s a guy that’s averaging 9.7 points and 8.3 boards and can create problems for opposing teams.
Baylor has not had an easy Game in Conference play yet this season and it’s unlikely that this will change that. Expect a closely fought battle with it possibly coming down to which backcOurt is playing better, despite the obvious threats down low for both teams. If Chery can do his thing, that will take away what Hield and Cousins do on the other end.
Our Prediction – Oklahoma by 1