Bearing Down In The Paint

How Baylor has gone against the modern offensive trends and is winning the games from the inside-out.


As the use of modern analytics and strategy have become more popular across competitive basketball, we have seen a huge increase in three point shooting and the employment of “pace and space” has reached all levels of play. Baylor’s approach to the game has not shifted despite these growing trends.

Baylor vs UConn (9 Jan 2020)


Baylor wins(and wins big) by pounding the paint, cleaning the boards, and defending the rim. Although opponents have a whopping 20% advantage in three point attempt rate, Baylor averages 1.08 points per shot and allows only 0.69. This is because Baylor defends the rim at an elite level, making it easier on their guards and wings to defend opponents three point attempts. Baylor’s profile is quite unconventional but, unless they face an elite three point shooting team, they have the talent and scheme to make life very difficult for their opponent.

Baylor’s Offensive and Defensive Shot Profiles


Baylor also maintains a huge rebounding advantage. On the season, this has given Baylor, on average, almost eight more field goal attempts than their opponent. Even if Baylor was less efficient than they are, having 8 more shots is an easy path to victory. Baylor’s approach is embodied by their starting lineup, which, to go with its +64 per 100 possessions net rating(!), also carries a 20% advantage in EFG and ORR and a 10% margin in TOV%.

Offensive and Defensive Four Factors for Baylor’s Starting 5


Looking forward to the tournament, Baylor is now fully healthy and clicking on all cylinders. Their approach to the game(rebounding + forcing opponents to take tough shots + points in the paint) is a highly repeatable one with a very floor. However, if matched up against a team with the three point shooting abilities of an Oregon or NC State, Baylor may be in trouble. By allowing such a high proportion of threes, Oregon and NC State may have an easier path to knocking off the defending champs than some of the other top NCAA teams.



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