The Frogs wrap up their regular season series with the Baylor Bears tonight, looking to pick up their first win over a ranked opponent this season. That looks to be a tall task tonight in light of Baylor's 28-point decimation of TCU from back in mid-January. PocketChange of Our Daily Bears was gracious enough to join us for a second time this season to chat about the matchup, the Bears, and the Big 12 as a whole. Check out my half of our Q&A over on ODB. Enjoy!
1. The Bears are 7-5 since their thrashing of TCU in Waco in mid-January. Give us a quick rundown of the highs and lows for Baylor since the first meeting between these schools.
The high has certainly been consecutive wins against ranked teams in a week. Completing a second consecutive season sweep over Iowa State was phenomenal, and it's always good to get revenge for a loss to Texas. Over the last few weeks, the offense has really started to find its rhythm. Johnathan Motley killed it last week, and Ish Wainright has really found his role as a glue guy. Now that he can hit threes consistently, he's discovering creases in the defense and dishing great passes. Baylor's defense, however, has been rather lackluster at times. The wings coming up high on the zone has helped add some steals and makes the transition offense a little better, but all it takes is one ball rotation and a man on the baseline to break it down. Disciplined teams have found plenty of success scoring against the Bears, although they did manage to play fairly stout defense against the Jayhawks for most of that game.
2. Baylor is the best road team in the Big 12 with a 5-2 record against league opponents away from home. However, the Bears are just 4-4 inside the friendly confines of the Ferrell Center. What's up with that?
Taurean Prince said after the overtime home win against Iowa State that he's always liked playing on the road. That statement was in the context of a question about the home attendance level, which in week games has been quite poor despite the team's high play. Only some of that is on the students, who did manage to fill out the student section in Tuesday's game. So the home struggles might be related to a lack of home court advantage. It also might just be because the Big XII is a slaughterhouse. The loses have come against Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and Texas Tech. Those last two you'd rather win than lose, but Baylor also managed to win at those teams' home courts, and late season pushes from both those teams have somewhat eased the pain of those loses. And really, if Baylor had managed to pull out the game against Kansas, they'd be 5-3 at home and the difference in home and away records wouldn't look so odd. It's a thin margin.
3. I'm totally stealing this question from our friends at Wide Right & Natty Light, but who would you put on your All-Big 12 team? Or, to phrase it better, which four players join Buddy Hield on your all-Big 12 team?
All-Big XII is tough this season. There are plenty of deserving players, and especially seniors. Here's my best go at making a decent list:
PG: Frank Mason
SG: Monte Morris
SF: Buddy Hield
PF: Georges Niang
C: Perry Ellis
I think those are the five most deserving players this season. I thinkhas a case to be included, though, and maybe , who has had some outstanding games this season. Prince is 5th in the conference in points, 6th in offensive rebounds, 5th in field goal percentage, and he is leading the 4th place team in the best conference in scoring. I think Frank Mason has had a greater impact for Kansas, though, and I don't mind sliding those other players up a position to make room for him.
4. Moving to the game tonight, the Frogs have struggled mightily against Baylor since TCU joined the Big 12 in 2012. Realistically, what perfect storm of events would need to take place for the Frogs to pick up their first win over the Bears since joining the league?
TCU needs to hits more that 45% of its threes, have a forward lurking around the baseline (maybe Karviar Shepherd), and swing the ball side-to-side until the right opening appears. If they try to do too much off the dribble, the Frogs will have a mighty tough time getting the offense going. On defense, Trent Johnson needs to double to post with all haste. Baylor has had difficulty scoring when its post scorers can't get going. If Motley, Rico Gathers, and Terry Maston can get going, though, it will likely be over rather swiftly.
5. Finally, you knew it was coming, how do you see things shaking out in Fort Worth this weekend?
I don't think it will end exactly the same way as the last matchup, but I also don't expect TCU to come too much closer to earning a win. I expect a double digit Baylor win, but if TCU can ugly it up, it might be closer to 5 or 6 points. I'll say a final score around BU 78 - 64 TCU.
Once again, I would like to extend a big thank you to PocketChange for his time and insight. He is one of the best sources around for info about Baylor basketball. Frogs O' War and Our Daily Bears have all angles covered for tonight's TCU-Baylor showdown, so stay tuned!