CougCenter is your place to be for everything related to the Diamond Head Classic. This is the fourth of eight capsule previews of the participating teams.
Head Coach: Scott Drew
Record: 7-1 (#8 KenPom ranking)
Best victory: 68-54 over #84 Arizona State
Worst Loss: 68-64 to #56 Gonzaga
Offense: 109.6 adjusted efficiency (43rd); 53.3 eFG% (48th); 23.9 TO% (295th); 37.3 OR% (52nd); 41.5 FTR (54th)
Baylor has a very good offense, but one major weakness that stands out. The Bears turn the ball over ... a lot. It's not just turnovers, but steals that hamper the Bears, as they rank near dead-last in both TO% and steal%. With a steal% of 11.7, ranked 311th in the nation, the Bears will give the ball up when pressure into it.
When they aren't turning it over, the Bears can be dominant inside the arc at times. They bring a long, athletic lineup to the table, and will tend to put on a dunk contest during games. The shot 34.7 percent from beyond the arc, but 53.8 percent inside.
The Bears are led by LaceDarius Dunn, who is somehow only a senior despite living in my nightmares for what seems like an eternity. Dunn uses 27.9 percent of the Bears possessions and takes 30 percent of the team's shots while on the floor while posting a ORtg of 119.9. Following an arrest prior to the season, Dunn sat out three games, which explains him only using 49.1 percent of the team's minutes.
Baylor also brings a trio of 6-foot-10 players that could present ridiculous match-up problems. Perry Jones (80.6 percent), Quincy Acy (79.4 percent) and Anthony Jones (70.6 percent) all use a good amount of minutes. Perry Jones and Acy are the scorers, posting ORtgs of 105.8 and 121.9 respectively with a shot percentage over 20. Anthony Jones, on the other hand, uses less possessions but is just as efficient, posting an ORtg of 106.9.
Defense: 83.4 adjusted efficiency (1st); 41.5 eFG% (10th); 25.2 TO% (28th); 23.8 OR% (4th); 26.8 FTR (26th)
Baylor has one heck of a defense. In fact, Baylor has the best defense in the nation, according to KenPom as it stands right now. The Bears keep opponents off the offensive glass, force tough shots, and defend the living heck out of shots inside the arc. For the year, the Bears are holding opponents to 38.5 percent shooting from inside the arc.
The Bears are long, can block plenty of shots and will force teams to shoot over the top over their defense. Even then, the Bears are a tough nut to crack. This is an experienced team that defends well and doesn't foul a lot. Good luck.
Baylor has a great shot at winning this tournament. The Bears open with a gimme win over San Diego before a date with the winner of MSU/WSU in the second round. This would be the match-up we're all hoping for and a great test for the Cougs. The WSU defense, good at forcing turnovers, against the Baylor offense, good at giving the ball up and prone to steals, would be an interesting one to watch. The Bears defense, and length on the defensive end, should carry them far, giving them a great chance to bring home a Diamond Head Classic championship.
Check out CougCenter's full coverage of the Diamond Head Classic here.