The Oklahoma Sooners begin another slew of games against some of the tougher in-conference opponents. However, it begins with the Baylor Bears, possibly the most talented team in the Big XII. As we all know, with talent often comes an ego. And in the game of basketball the best offensive players get all the attention and praise. The Bears are currently on a two game slide and it is solely because of poor defense. Before their only two losses, Baylor had let only a single team shoot better than 50% from the field. Looking at their losses against the Kansas Jayhawks and the Missouri Tigers, the Bears allowed their opponent to shoot a lights out 57.4% from the field and 54.5% respectively.
Last season, Oklahoma was able to knock the Bears off in Norman and Baylor will certainly be looking to avenge that loss. But, if the Sooners are allowed to shoot high percentage shots, this one could end in an upset.
As stated before, the Baylor Bears are a very talented team. Most college fans have become aware of Perry Jones III who is only a sophomore and leads this squad in scoring with 13.7 points a game. His is a tough matchup for anyone and gets nearly any shot he wants at any time judging by his 54.7% shooting from anywhere on the court. Jones is a versatile player who can play forward or center and is not afraid to pull the ball on the floor if he needs to.
Not only is Jones a force in terms of scoring, he is great at following not only his shot but others as well as he pulls down 7.2 rebounds per game. As of late, this has been an area Baylor has struggled in. Against Kansas, they were out-rebounded 39-24 and again against Mizzou 32-26.
Pierre Jackson, the Baylor point guard, has come on as one of the guys to watch and could land the title of Best Newcomer of the Year in the Big XII. Currently Jackson is shooting 49.3% from the next area code and has attempted 113 3-point shots thus far. Oklahoma has struggled in close-out defense for the past several seasons. If Jackson is given an open look he will knock them down and this game could get out of hand a little quicker than Sooner fans would like. On top of being an outside scoring threat, Jackson is also dishing out 5.9 dimes a game to 3.7 turnovers. He is coming off a 15 assist performance along with 20 points. Oklahoma will need to pay attention to this kid and force him into picking up his dribble earlier than he would like to.
Quincy Acy is a shot changer in the lane. He has elevated his game this season and has doubled his blocks per game. Acy is the undoubted leader of this team as a senior and has come up with several big plays to secure wins. Look for him to challenge players like Steven Pledger and Cameron Clark when driving in the lane. But, his biggest concern is going to be stopping Andrew Fitzgerald and even more so Romero Osby who has found a sort of rhythm recently.
Oklahoma has little confidence to ride in this matchup and not many will give them a chance to win. However, if Oklahoma is capable of winning the rebounding battle and putting up high percentage shots, they can stay competitive.