Baylor vs Lehigh Preview

Baylor vs Lehigh Preview

The Baylor Bears start their 2012-2013 campaign at home against Lehigh at 4pm. Let's take a look at the two teams and get ready for the new season!

Well folks, another basketball season is upon us. The Baylor Bears are coming off of one of the most successful seasons in their history, and look to build upon that success. Lehigh can also make the same claim after their monumental upset over a certain team from North Carolina that likes the darker shade of blue. Both of these teams have expectations of getting to the dance again and it all starts on Friday afternoon. So, let us get to know Lehigh just a tad bit better.

Preseason Rankings

2012-2013

Baylor

Lehigh

Sagarin

10

112

KenPom

20

80

Massey

15

95

AP Poll

19

N/A

Coaches Poll

18

N/A

We only have preseason rankings to use, so these can be somewhat deceiving. However, on paper, the Bears should be big favorites in this game. The Bears have an even bigger advantage when you take a look at the predicted offensive/defensive advanced measurements from MasseyRankings.com and KenPom.com, two of the better advanced sites out there.

Team

Massey Rat

Massey Off

Massey Def

KenPom Rating

KenPom Off

KenPom Def

Baylor

15

14

58

20

17

34

Lehigh

95

59

171

80

60

105

Baylor has a much better offense and defense compared to Lehigh, especially when the Bears have the ball. They are predicted to be a very efficient offense, led by Pierre Jackson and are facing off against a defense that is expected to struggle.

A look at Lehigh

You might remember Lehigh from a certain March Madness upset against some no-name team called Duke. The 15th-seeded Mountain Hawks upset the second ranked Blue Devils in one of the bigger shockers of the last few seasons (along with another #2 ranked team going down the same day in Missouri to Norfolk State).

The Mountain Hawks are an experienced team coming back, returning all four of their top minutes players and scorers. In fact, they return 82% of theirs coring from last year, 78% of their rebounding, and 87% of their assists. This is an experienced team led by three seniors, the most well-known being C.J. McCollum an All-American guard.

McCollum is one of the best offensive players in the country. He is an excellent shooter and one of the most high usage rate players in the country. In fact, McCollum took the 15th highest percentage of shots for his team in the country (34.3%) and had the 9th highest possession usage rate (32.9%). He led their team in assists, though Mackey McKnight, the starting point guard, had just three less on the year.

Player

MPG

FGM

FGA

FG%

3P%

FT%

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PTS

C.J. McCollum

33.1

7.3

16.4

0.44

0.34

0.811

6.5

3.5

2.6

0.5

2.3

22

Gabe Knutson

25.4

4.3

8.3

0.51

0.44

0.804

5.6

1.1

0.7

0.5

1.4

12

Holden Greiner

24.6

3.4

7.6

0.44

0.35

0.75

4.8

0.9

0.9

0.6

1.2

9.4

Mackey McKnight

28.6

2.8

6.4

0.44

0.36

0.752

2.9

3.6

1.1

0.1

1.7

8.8

B.J. Bailey

11.8

1

2.2

0.48

0.48

0.545

1.7

0.6

0.3

0.4

0.6

2.9

Corey Schaefer

14.1

0.8

2.3

0.34

0.3

0.882

1.1

1.2

0.4

0

0.6

2.8

Anthony D'Orazio

10.8

1

2.6

0.38

0.3

0.467

1

0.6

0.4

0.1

0.8

2.6

Stefan Cvrkalj

5.7

0.8

1.9

0.43

0.38

0.833

0.5

0.1

0.1

0

0.3

2.3

Conroy Baltimore

4.9

0.6

1.3

0.47

0.444

1.7

0.1

0.1

0.2

0.4

1.4

Cory Goodman

2.1

0.2

0.5

0.43

0.25

0.1

0.2

0.1

0

0.2

0.5

Tyrone Staggers

2.2

0.1

0.5

0.14

0

1

0.4

0

0

0

0

0.3

McCollum is their leading scorer, leading rebounder, and second on the team in assists. He also leads them in steals and is second in blocks. However, when you look at his advanced stats, he is an even bigger part of the team.

Name

ORtg

%Poss

%Shots

eFG%

OR%

DR%

ARate

TORate

C.J. McCollum

113.6

32.9

34.3

49.6

5

17.6

25.4

12.4

Gabe Knutson

117.3

23.6

22.7

52.5

10.5

14.8

9.6

13.4

Conroy Baltimore

94.2

21.1

18.6

47.4

20.5

19.3

2.7

23.4

Holden Greiner

106.4

19.1

21.5

52.1

4

18.3

7.1

15.3

Stefan Cvrkalj

105

18.9

23.7

55.2

4.1

6.7

2.4

16.4

Mackey McKnight

110.4

18

15.5

50.7

2.9

8.6

23

19.7

Anthony D'Orazio

85.7

17

16.9

46

3.6

7

10.7

25

B.J. Bailey

107.1

13.5

12.9

60.4

4.9

11.4

9.1

23.4

Corey Schaefer

102.5

12.6

11.5

40.3

1

7.8

14.7

18.9

McCollum has an extraordinary ability to not turn the ball over very much, despite having the ball in his hands the majority of the time. He is also by far their best player at getting assists, as he is very good at penetrating the lane and finding the open shooter. Knutson, Greiner and McKnight are solid spot up shooters that benefit from those passes.

News broke on Wednesday that Knutson might not be able to go, after sustaining an injury in practice this week. He is the starting center and best big man. He is a solid rebounder and someone that can stretch the floor and hit perimeter shots when asked. This is a big loss for Lehigh. Also injured and possible out for the game is B.J. Bailey, a transfer from Boston University that came off the bench last year to give them some good minutes, but is expected to fill a bigger role this year.

Keys to the Game

- Corral McCollum – He is an All-American for a reason, and this is the key matchup for both teams. Pierre versus C.J. Personally, I am very excited for this matchup as they are two of the better all-around guards in the country. It is one heck of a way to start your senior seasons for both of these guys. McCollum is the engine that makes the Lehigh car go. He might also be the wheels, windows and even the floor mats. The kid does everything. He led them in points, rebounds and steals with almost doing it in assists as well.

McCollum is a player very similar to Pierre Jackson on offense. Both can make shots from all over the court, and both are very good at breaking down a defender, getting into the paint and either finishing or finding the open shooter. He is a bigger player at 6-3 than Jackson, but he does not have the speed that Pierre possesses. This is one of the best one-on-one matchups of the year in my mind. I can't wait.

- Pound the glass – The Bears have a major size advantage in the post, especially if Knutson does not play. Baylor has to win the rebounding margin and keep the Mountain Hawks from getting extra possessions on offense. Baylor has been a very good offensive rebounding team the past few years, but has struggled with defensive rebounding.

This was mostly attributed to the Bears 2-3 hybrid zone defense, but the Bears were never that physically intimidating in the paint. Baylor has to do a good job of blocking out on defense and crashing hard on offense. Rebounding is mostly an effort thing. The Bears will have to focus and make sure their effort is consistent and high.

- Stay close on turnovers- I don't think the Bears will win the turnover battle in this game, as Lehigh had the 12th lowest-turnover percentage in all of college basketball last season, while the Bears struggled with turnovers even when playing at their best. Baylor has to do a good job of protecting the ball enough, as they don't want to give Lehigh 15 extra possessions.

Predictions –

Massey Rating – 78-66 Bears win (86% chance for win)

Pomeroy Rating – 78-73 Bears win (70% chance for win)

BearsIllustrated Prediction – 75-67 Bears Win

Baylor has the size advantage in the post, and with two of the Lehigh starters possibly out (or at least hampered by injuries) the Bears should be able to wear down Lehigh and use their superior athleticism to get out into the open court and make some plays. McCollum will get his, but the Bears need to make sure one of their secondary players don't take over the game alongside him. I think Pierre Jackson will relish the chance to take on the man that "took" his spot on the All-American lists, and the Bears will get good contributions from the freshman post players.

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