There are four games tonight involving Big 12 teams. None are great; not a single one includes two top-100 teams in Kenpom. But the best matchup is TCU facing a good mid-major in Belmont at home. Before we look at tonight, let’s review yesterday real quick.
Here were my picks from yesterday (click image to open in new tab).
Baylor/Xavier was close at halftime, with Xavier leading 39-34 at the half. The 2nd half was a different story, as Xavier pulled away and won by a final score of 76-63. What went wrong for Baylor? Well first, they had a rough offensive game. They recorded a PPP of 0.97. They struggled shooting from deep, going 5-16 from 3-point range. They only grabbed 25% of their own misses as they recorded 8 offensive rebounds. There are two things that concern me about Baylor’s offense right now, offensive rebounding and perimeter shooting. I’m going to look at both of those in greater detail in this week’s Power Rankings, due out tomorrow.
The other thing that killed Baylor on Tuesday against Xavier was their defensive rebounding and foul rate. Baylor allowed Xavier to rebound 41.2% of their own misses. That’s the highest opponent OffReb% Baylor has allowed this season and would have been their 3rd highest last season. They won’t win many games allowing that many offensive rebounds. And then they couldn’t stop fouling. Xavier’s FT Rate (free throws attempted per field goals attempted) was 41.1% for the game. That’s the most they’ve fouled an opponent so far this season. Xavier ended up at 1.17 PPP for the game. Those two factors were the difference.
Kansas recorded another huge victory on Tuesday, beating Toledo 96-58. I’m going to dive into Kansas’ offense (and the play of Svi Mykhailiuk) more in this week’s Power Rankings, but this may turn out to be the best offense yet under Bill Self at Kansas. Their PPP was 1.32 last night; in the first half, it was 1.69. That’s absolutely insane. They went 12-20 from 3 and shot 59% on 2-pointers. They are pure FUEGO right now.
Here are my picks for tonight’s games. Lines are from VegasInsider and are as up to date as 9:00 AM CST on Wednesday (click image to open in new tab).
Belmont (+12) at TCU:
• Kudos to TCU for scheduling Belmont. They are a tricky mid-major to play, and they can easily beat you. Ask Vanderbilt, who Belmont beat earlier this season 69-60. Kenpom projects TCU to win by 14 points, 81-67. Seems a touch high to me. TCU will win, but Belmont will hang around for a long time. That’s why they typically do.
• Belmont will spread the floor on offense and get a lot of open looks. They’re currently 3rd in the nation in 3PA/FGA (3-pointers attempted per field goals attempted), as 3-pointers represent 54% of their field goal attempts. They’re making threes at 35%, which isn’t tremendous but is slightly above average. They will challenge TCU’s perimeter defense. Their floor spacing also allows a lot of quality looks from the interior, as they are 30th in the nation in 2-point FG%, at 58%. This will be a good test for TCU’s defense, which is currently 31st in the nation allowing 94.9 points per 100 possessions, per Kenpom’s Adjusted Defense measure.