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#2 Baylor Bears Game Preview & How to Watch

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At last we get the debut of Husky men’s basketball for the 2020-21 season

Armed Forces Classic - Washington v Baylor Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

The Essentials

Date: Sunday, 11/29/20

Tip-Off Time: 3:00pm PT

TV: NONE

Radio: KJR 950 AM/96.5 FM

Streaming: Flohoops.com ($$$)

Okay, here’s the deal. Flohoops is the same site that streamed the Italy games last August. It’s $29.99 to sign up for a one-month package which you can cancel at any time. There is no free trial option. This basically makes it a PPV event unless you have a service which already has Flohoops included. I’m not sure how FloHoops handles multiple people trying to use the same account at once but if it lets you then going in and splitting the cost with a friend may be the way to go. But the alternative was no basketball at all so I guess I’ll take it since I’m not paying for season tickets this year...

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Betting line: Washington +10

Baylor Bears 2019-20 (last season) Statistics:

Record: 26-4 (15-3)

Points For per Game: 71.1 ppg (147th)

Points Against per Game: 60.1 ppg (5th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 113.5 (17th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 88.1 (4th)

Strength of Schedule: 27th

2020-21 Game Results: 1-0 with a 112-82 neutral court win over Louisiana

Baylor Key Players (stats from last played season):

G- Jared Butler, Jr. 6’3, 195: 16.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.1 apg, 42.1% FG, 38.1% 3pt, 77.5% FT

It all starts with Butler who is a preseason All-American and could easily be the best player the Huskies face all season. In conference play last year he was 1st in the Big 12 in usage rate and his shooting fell a little bit as the season went on. But he’s an incredibly well-rounded player that can shoot the ball, make plays for others, and guard 1’s and 2’s on defense. Last year he had 18 points on 4/6 3-pt shooting against Washington so you can be sure he’s absolutely the #1 player on the scouting report for the Huskies.

Debut stat line from Saturday: 17 pts, 4 ast, 3 stl, 7/13 FG

G- MaCio Teague, Sr. 6’4, 195: 13.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 40.0% FG, 35.5% 3pt, 84.8% FT

Teague was the other double digit scorer for Butler a year ago after transferring in from UNC-Asheville. He was a 45% 3-pt shooter at Asheville so his numbers fell a little bit once transitioning to the Big 12. However, he could still light the Dawgs up if they’re not able to stay on his hip. Teague was just 1/6 from deep a year ago against Washington but still chipped in with 5 rebounds and 5 assists in that game.

Debut stat line from Saturday: 21 pts, 7 reb, 4 ast, 3 stl, 9/18 FG

G- Davion Mitchell, Jr. 6’2, 205: 9.9 ppg, 2,7 rpg, 3.8 apg, 40.9% FG, 32.4% 3pt, 66.3% FT

Mitchell is the final piece of Baylor’s amazing 3-guard set. He handled the ball quite a bit after transferring in from Auburn and is much more of a threat as a driver than a shooter. On the defensive end though is where Mitchell really makes his mark and he will generally guard the other team’s best ball handler. He was at least partly responsible for Quade Green’s struggles against Baylor a year ago and you can be sure he’ll start with that matchup today.

Debut stat line from Saturday: 18 pts, 6 ast, 3 stl, 7/9 FG

G- Adam Flagler, So. 6’3, 180: 15.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.9 apg, 43.4% FG, 38.2% 3pt, 83.5% FT

The Bears have had a lot of recent success with transfers and they have high hopes that Flagler will be the next one. He sat out for transfer rules last year after coming in from Presbyterian but was the Big South Freshman of the Year after making over 100 3-pointers on the season. We’ll so how much variety he’s able to provide but at the very least he should be a competent option as a zone buster for Baylor.

Debut stat line from Saturday: 12 pts, 7 ast, 3 reb, 5/9 FG

G- L.J Cryer, Fr. 6’1, 185: 15.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.9 apg, 43.4% FG, 38.2% 3pt, 83.5% FT

Cryer was the highest ranked member of Baylor’s 2020 recruiting class but there was thought that playing time might be hard to come by given all of Baylor’s absurd guard talent. Well that might not be the case. He knocked down 5 three-pointers and tied for the 7th most minutes so he’ll undoubtedly see the court against the Huskies.

Debut stat line from Saturday: 17 pts, 2 reb, 2 stl, 6/9 FG

F- Flo Thamba, Jr. 6’10, 245: 2.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.7 bpg, 48.1% FG, 56.7 % FT

Thamba didn’t see much of the court last year as the backup center but with the graduation of Freddie Gillespie it appears he’ll step into the starting lineup. There’s not a lot of offensive sophistication here and Thamba is more of your traditional defensive shot blocker who you hope can catch lob dunks near the rim. He was a good shot blocker but incredibly foul prone last year so hopefully the Dawgs can limit his playing time by getting him to bite on shot fakes at the basket.

Debut stat line from Saturday: 6 pts, 7 reb, 2/4 FG

F- Mark Vital, Jr. 6’5, 230: 6.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.8 apg, 45.9% FG, 11.8% 3pt, 41.8% FT

Vital’s name also describes his importance to this Baylor team. He’s a poor man’s Draymond Green as an undersized versatile defender who doesn’t have much in the way of an offensive game. And just like with Draymond Green, when Baylor wants to be at their most dangerous they’ll play Vital at center. Last year he was top-60 nationally in both offensive rebounding rate and steal rate so he’s an incredibly versatile glue guy. Last year he struggled against Washington’s length with 8 points on 3/10 shooting and 3 rebounds in 23 minutes.

Debut stat line from Saturday: 5 pts, 2 reb, 3 stl, 2/2 FG

F- Matthew Mayer, Jr. 6’9, 225: 4.8 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 0.8 apg, 42.2% FG, 37.8% 3pt, 69.0% FT

Baylor is hoping that Mayer breaks out this year as a guy who has the prototypical tools to be an NBA small forward at 6’8 with the ability to knock down perimeter shots. He scored in double figures 5 times last year despite never playing more than 20 minutes per game so Mayer has the ability to get hot. Last year he played just 2 minutes against Washington and committed 2 personal fouls.

Debut stat line from Saturday: 8 pts, 3 reb, 4/10 FG

F- Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, So. 6’8, 245: 3.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.7 bpg, 47.5% FG, 68.2% FT

Husky football recruiting fans are obsessed with a local JTT but Baylor has one of their own. Their version transferred in from UNLV and sat out last year on a redshirt. He didn’t play a ton as a freshman there but put up solid offensive rebound and blocked shot numbers in limited time which is what Baylor wants most from the uber-athletic power forward.

Debut stat line from Saturday: 6 pts, 7 reb, 2/5 FG

The Outlook

There’s no sugarcoating it. Last year the Huskies managed to pull the upset against Baylor in what unfortunately was a steady downward spiral from there. This year it would require an even more monumental effort.

Baylor returns their 3 leading scorers from a team that at worst would’ve received a 2-seed in the NCAA tournament had the event happened. The Huskies will be without their 3 leading scorers following the draft departures of Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels plus the suspension of Nahziah Carter. And it certainly looks like it on Baylor’s end as they put up an astounding 112 points on 15/27 3-point shooting yesterday against Louisiana.

If you’re looking for good news it’s that Baylor doesn’t seem poised to take advantage of Washington’s lack of interior depth. They aren’t expected to have anyone taller than 6’10 in the rotation and most of their bigs have a body type closer to that of Hameir Wright. It’s unlikely we see Nate Roberts and Hameir Wright worn down by a parade of behemoths down low getting them into foul trouble.

Even without a lot of height you can still expect Baylor to do well on the offensive glass. First of all, it’s a natural weakness of the zone defense independent of personnel. And on top of that Baylor is year after year continually one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country independent of personnel. Coach Scott Drew (who will not be the in-game coaching after testing positive for COVID-19 last week) really emphasizes crashing the glass at all times searching for easy putbacks. If the Huskies are to win they have to be able to take advantage of the aggressiveness and attack in transition to keep Baylor off balance.

This will be our first chance to see a Mike Hopkins Washington offense that doesn’t revolve around feeding a transcendent post-up player. The Huskies tried to inject this team with more shooting with the additions of J’Raan Brooks, Erik Stevenson, and Cole Bajema. It’s not crazy to say that everyone except for centers Nate Roberts and Riley Sorn have the potential to shoot 35% from deep over the course of a season. But regardless of how Hop decides to arrange the rotations in this game the Huskies will absolutely need to catch fire and likely shoot 45-50% from 3-point range to have a shot to pull the upset.

If Washington is able to even keep this game competitive it can be considered a moral victory. This will almost certainly be the most difficult opponent the Huskies play all season unless Oregon greatly exceeds or Baylor comes nowhere close to preseason expectations. And to top it all off they had less than a week to prepare and no chance to have a tune-up game whether exhibition or regular season. Nonetheless, there was a chance that we’d have to wait another 5 days to see the Dawgs play so let’s be grateful for what we’re getting. And it’s not as if Washington under Mike Hopkins hasn’t pulled an upset over a #2 ranked team before...

Prediction

Washington Huskies- 62, Baylor Bears- 77

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