For the first time in school history the Bulldogs will be playing in the Elite Eight. A big accomplishment for 5th year head coach Vic Schaefer and the Bulldogs aren’t settling for the Elite Eight. This team wants the Final Four. But that is going to be very tough. As Mississippi State will be facing the toughest opponent since UConn in last years Sweet Sixteen.
The Curse of the Elite Eight
Baylor is 2-4 all time in the Elite Eight losing 4 out of the last 6 years in the game. Including the current 3 game losing streak.
A 2 seed Vic Schaefer coached Maroon squad vs a Heavy favorite #1 seed in the Elite Eight. Too Familiar.
Indeed it is. En route to the 2011 National Title, assistant coach Vic Schaefer and Head Coach Gary Blair guided the Texas A&M Aggies to a 58-46 Victory in Dallas. Baylor at the time touted a player by the name Britney Griner. You probably remember that.
Losing in Oklahoma City a trend for Baylor
The Bears lost to Round of 32 Team West Virginia 77-66 in the Big 12 Tournament Final. The Bears are 2-2 all time in OKC during NCAA Tourney games after defeating Louisville Friday Night.
Is Baylor “like South Carolina”?
Baylor has the #2 scoring offense in the country compared to South Carolina who has the #20. Troy is #7, Depaul is #10, and Washington is #6 to put a perspective of the opponents MSU has faced in the NCAA Tournament.
South Carolina is #25 in scoring defense. Baylor is #13. Only Little Rock at #12 is an opponent that has a better scoring defense that MSU has faced this season.
Baylor is #1 in the country in scoring margin. MSU is #6, SC is #7, Depaul is #22 and Washington is #5.
Baylor is #1 in 3 Point FG%, #1 in FG% defense, #3 in FG% and #11 in 3pt fg% defense.
Conclusion: This team is way better than South Carolina. But the teams MSU have defeated in the Tournament are better than South Carolina. Washington would defeat South Carolina.
Baylor is statistically better than UConn
As far as common opponents go
Baylor played Texas Twice splitting the two meetings with Baylor’s win in Austin being only a 3 point win. If you remember MSU defeated Texas pretty easily back in November. They also won very easily twice against an Iowa State squad that took MSU to overtime. They defeated Tennessee in Knoxville by 22 and defeated Depaul by 32. Whereas MSU split the Tennessee game winning in Knoxville.
And although MSU did not play them, Baylor lost to UConn in Storrs 72-61.
Player stats you ask?
Kalani Brown their 6’7 Center averages 15.1 PPG and is shooting 67%. She is one of four Baylor players to average Double Digits and one of 10 Baylor Players to get significant minutes. But do not be fooled by just Brown. Beatrice Mompremier and Khadijiah Cave are really talented in the post as well. MSU is going to need play from both Chinwe Okorie and Tearia McCowan in this game because this is going to be a tough matchup. McCowan said in the press conference on Saturday that the last time she played against a 6’7 center was in the AAU against Brown.
Now to Guard play. Alexis Jones and Alexis Prince are leading the way here. They average 13.1 and 12.2 PPG respectively and both shoot 42% from 3 pt range. Prince is shooting 47% from the field while Jones is consistent at 42%. Other players to watch for are Kristy Wallace and Natalie Chou. Wallace has started every game while Chou has played significant minutes in every game. Both shoot very well from 3 point range.
Other Players to look for are Nina Davis. She shoots 56% and is a 5’11 Forward for the Bears. She also averages 12.8 PPG. Lauren Cox intrigues me in this game. SHe gives the Bears additional size at 6’4 and could get down in the post. I expect Breanna Richardson and Ketara Chapel to give these ladies a game.
By far the deepest team I have ever previewed
Though I have never done a preview for UConn. Every other team I have looked at I could point to 2 or 3 players. This team is built very similar to Mississippi State. Lots of depth but with more size in the post. I do like the guard play at MSU a lot better than the guard play at Baylor when I looked at both teams in person. I think MSU can rely on more shooters and they are quicker than what Baylor has.
The game will be played at 6:36 pm at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The game will be on ESPN. It is available by radio on 100.9 FM in the Golden Triangle and 95.9 FM in Tupelo. The game will also have live streaming audio on Tunein and Hailstateplus.
Here is the deal about MSU’s losses. Two of them were tough road losses to South Carolina and Kentucky. Both wins if they were on a neutral site. One was to Tennessee on a Senior Night that was way too emotional. And lots of the team chemisty had evaporated. ANd the other was to South Carolina in a true road game in Greenville SC for the SEC Title. Yeah... Guess what? It’s Tournament season and MSU is playing better Right Now then they have at any point this season. They are averaging 92.3 PPG and holding opponents to 68 in the NCAA Tournament against great competition as you saw above. Do note that Oregon, a team that MSU defeated 75-63 in Hawaii, is in the Elite Eight as well. I gave you every reason above to make you pick Baylor. But there is one thing Baylor does not have. Vic Schaefer. And here is my hot take. Schaefer is just a better coach than Mulkey and he will win this game just like he did 5 years ago in the same situation. Final Score: Mississippi State 67 Baylor 62