Baylor-BYU NIT Preview

THE FIRST FINAL FOUR IS IN THE NIT! BAYLOR TAKES ON BYU IN NEW YORK

While the NCAA Tournament takes a break for a few days, we have the first meaningful FINAL FOUR of the college basketball postseason tipping off Tuesday Night in Madison Square Garden in New York. And, ready to put on a show are the entertaining teams from Baylor and BYU.

Given the quality of offenses involved...and the poor quality of defenses involved...this may be the most entertaining matchup left on the 2012-2013 basketball schedule! Let's run the matchup through our gauntlet of indicators to see who's going to have the edge in what's expected to be a high scoring shodown...

WON-LOST RECORDS
Baylor: 21-14 (9-9 in the Big 12)
BYU: 24-11 (10-6 in the West Coast)

Both teams came from disappointing conferences, which probably justifies their lack of an invitation to the Big Dance. Baylor could only play .500 ball in the Big 12. That's the league where Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma all fell in the first round...and where champion Kansas had one of the worst tournament choke jobs ever in a Sweet 16 loss to Michigan. Of course, BYU came from the West Coast Conference...where Gonzaga failed to even reach the Sweet 16 as a #1 seed, and St. Mary's lost to the Memphis team that was mauled by Michigan State. Reaching 20 wins in a season is still a milestone worth celebrating. But, these weren't Dance caliber teams.

COMPUTER RANKINGS
Baylor: #34 with Sagarin, #35 with Pomeroy
BYU: #55 with Sagarin, #55 with Pomeroy

Both Jeff Sagarin of USA Today and college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy believe Baylor WAS a Dance caliber team. Of course, he thought the seedings made sense for the three first round losers too! We don't have Baylor that high in our proprietary numbers that have to stay under wraps. But, we don't have BYU that high either.

COMPUTER STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RANKINGS
Baylor: #47 with Sagarin, #56 with Pomeroy
BYU: #112 with Sagarin, #104 with Pomeroy

Baylor gets the nod for playing the tougher schedule, which makes a lot of sense given their superior base conference. BYU didn't challenge itself as much as it should have back in November and December, which hurt their resume come selection time. That hasn't been a problem yet in the NIT for them though.

WON-LOST RECORDS VS. SAGARIN'S TOP 50
Baylor: 3-10
BYU: 0-7

Boy, is THAT ugly! These teams were a combined 3-17 against quality! That's why we think the computers are nuts to have Baylor around #35. Sorry, you can't be around #35 if you go 3-10 against the top 50! You're probably not even in the top 50 if that's your record. BYU was even worse. And, that 0-7 mark means they haven't played a top 50 team yet in the NIT.

POMEROY'S ADJUSTED OFFENSE RANKINGS
Baylor: #20
BYU: #43

Moving to the chess match, Baylor has the better offense once you adjust for tempo and strength of schedule according to Pomeroy's methodology. They do have athletes who know how to attack the basket.

POMEROY'S ADJUSTED DEFENSE RANKINGS
Baylor: #78
BYU: #80

Both teams are about equally lousy defensively. When you're talking about more than 340 teams in the database, those look like good gradings. But, when you reduce the subset to tournament caliber teams...then those are both very bad numbers.

POMEROY'S ADJUSTED TEMPO RANKINGS
Baylor: #83
BYU: #7

Wow...this game is going to FLY! BYU is one of the 10 fastest teams in the nation...and Baylor would have ranked higher if they didn't face so many opponents to tried to slow them down. You should definitely be thinking about the Over here even though the number is high.

BEST EXPECTATION
BYU is taking the worst of this matchup based on the data we just looked at...bringing a crappy defense to the court against a quality offense in a game that's going to have a lot of possessions. They're a small underdog. They're going to need to hit a lot of treys or hope Baylor gets into foul trouble if they're going to spring an upset.

Is this going to be a Baylor bash? Or, is their conference so overrated this year that they're a false favorite (like so many of their Big 12 brethren?).

You can purchase JIM HURLEY'S final word in Tuesday basketball right here at the website with your credit card. That's the very best from the Final Four in the NIT, the NBA's evening action, and some diamond delights from MLB. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.

Back with you tomorrow for more sports coverage from a handicapping perspective. Make sure you're getting the money EVERY DAY with JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!

19
Nov

Today’s Hot Plays