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Men’s Basketball Preview: We’re Talkin’ Number 1 Baylor

Iowa State and Baylor clash Saturday afternoon at Hilton Coliseum

Syndication: The Des Moines Register Kelsey Kremer/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

Last Time Out

Iowa State took care of business against Chicago State by a score of 79-48. Izaiah Brockington led the way with 20 points, while Tristan Enaruna added 19 points of his own. The Cyclones held Chicago State to 27% shooting from the field and forced 21 turnovers in a game that was never really close.

About Baylor

The number 1 ranked Bears (12-0, 0-0) come into Saturday’s game against Iowa State with the nation’s longest winning streak (dating back to last year). The defending National Champions are a balanced team as they sport KenPom’s 5th best offense and 4th best defense. Baylor’s switchable defense has given opposing offenses fits this year. Fran breaks it down in the latter half of the below video.

Baylor has had multiple impressive wins this year, including a 57-36 defensive showcase against Villanova, where they held the Wildcats to only 12 made Field Goals on 22% shooting. The Bears also put the beatdown on Michigan State to the tune of 75-58 on the way to their Battle 4 Atlantis tournament title.

Baylor boasts several top 10 KenPom rankings, including (ISU Ranking in Bold):

Adj. Offense: 5 (139)

Adj. Defense: 4 (7)

Def. Turnover %: 8 (7)

Off. Offensive Reb. %: 8 (49)

Def. Steal %: 2 (15)

Player to Watch

Baylor presents problems across the board, but are led by Freshman sensation Kendall Brown. The 6’8” guard/forward averages 13 PPG on 71% shooting from the field. Brown mostly shoots from inside the arc, where he averages just under 7 shots per game on 74% shooting, good for 12th highest in the country. Brown also adds the 28th best offensive efficiency rating (via KenPom) to an already potent Bears offense.

Pick Three

1 - George Conditt gets into foul trouble

2 - Baylor scores more than 72 points

3 - Gabe Kalscheur hits 3 threes.

What Will Happen

KenPom predicts a 69-62 Baylor win, and my prediction is relatively similar. I think Baylor’s switching defense will confuse an already sluggish Iowa State offense, and the Clones will struggle to get close to scoring 70 points. However, Iowa State’s defense has the tools and discipline to give Baylor fits. Watch in the early part of this game if Baylor is able to generate corner 3 looks or get to the paint with ease. That will be your point of emphasis for how this game will go for Iowa State’s defense. Ultimately, a charged-up crowd (sans students) at Hilton should hopefully keep this game close, but I think Baylor’s outlandishly balanced and skilled approach on both sides of the floor proves to be too much for this Iowa State group.

Baylor - 71

Iowa State - 64