There are 16 “Round of 32” games on Saturday and Sunday as the most exciting weekend of the sports calendar continues. As we always do every March here at MSF, we try to cover you with previews, informed and reasoned predictions, and pertinent viewing info as soon as we can get it posted.
In this post, we preview the South Region’s second round matchup between #3 Baylor and the #11 seeded Colorado Buffaloes that at least salvaged some Pac-12 pride.
Baylor-Colorado Game Info
- Seeds & Region: #3 Baylor v #11 Colorado in South Region
- Baylor-Colorado Date: Saturday, 3/17
- Baylor-Colorado Tip Time: 8:40 ET
- Baylor-Colorado Location: Albuquerque
- Baylor-Colorado TV: TNT
- Baylor-Colorado Announcers: Spero Dedes and Bob Wenzel
- Baylor-Colorado Point Spread: Baylor -7.5
- Tickets: Baylor-Colorado Tickets
- Tickets: South Regional Tickets in Atlanta
Baylor-Colorado Analysis and Prediction
Former Big 12 foes will face off on Saturday when Baylor takes on Colorado. The Bears fell behind South Dakota State early but eventually won by eight points, led by the backcourt duo of Pierre Jackson and Brady Heslip, who combined for 35 points. The Buffaloes carried over their momentum from winning the Pac-12 Tournament to jump on UNLV before holding off a furious late rally. Four Colorado players scored in double figures, including Andre Roberson, who tallied 12 points and ripped down 16 boards.
Based on efficiency numbers, Baylor would appear to have the advantage on both ends.
The Bears rank 15 in adjusted offensive efficiency and rank in the Top 75 in offensive rebounding percentage, two-point shooting, and three-point shooting. For Colorado, they have a solid defensive rebounding percentage, so watch the battle on the glass. Despite being 6-foot-7 and weighing less than 200 pounds, Roberson is one of the nation’s top defensive rebounders.
Baylor does have a tendency to turn the ball over, but Colorado’s low turnover rate would suggest they won’t be able to take full advantage of that. Outside of that, they key will be getting Perry Jones III and Quincy Acy involved inside. They combined for just six points in the first round victory, but their size could be a huge factor against a Colorado squad that plays just three guys over 6-foot-5.
The other end of the floor is where the Bears seem to be in the best shape, as they rank 32nd in adjusted defensive efficiency while Colorado checks in at 134th on offense. Outside of a high free throw rate, the Buffs rank outside of the Top 100 in the other three factors. If Baylor can keep them off the stripe, the Bears should be in decent shape.
However, Baylor has a poor defensive rebounding percentage, and even though Colorado doesn’t do much on the offensive glass, someone has to grab errant shots, right? The Bears have a relatively tough two-point defense, which is important since Colorado doesn’t shoot a ton of threes. The Buffaloes also managed to beat UNLV despite turning the ball over 23 times, and they certainly can’t afford a repeat performance there.
Colorado definitely comes in with plenty of positive momentum, and there’s something to be said for that. However, I think Baylor just has too many weapons on offense, and I don’t think the Buffs can score enough to keep pace with them.
Predicted Winner: Baylor
Baylor Bears Team Capsule
- Conference: Big 12
- Record: 27-7 (12-6 conf)
- Last 10 Games: 6-4
- Record vs. Tournament Teams: 10-7
- Wins vs. Tournament Teams: BYU, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State (2), Saint Mary’s, San Diego State, Texas (2), West Virginia
- Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Kansas (2), Missouri (3), Kansas State, Iowa State
- Player to Watch: Pierre Jackson (5’10” G, Jr.) – 13.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 5.8 apg, 1.7 spg, 43.4 3P%
Baylor Bottoms Line:
Few teams in the country can match Baylor in terms of pure talent, particularly along the front line. However, the Bears went just 4-7 against other teams in the top half of the Big 12, which has some people questioning their toughness as well as Scott Drew’s coaching. Five Baylor players score at least 9.6 points per game, with sophomore Perry Jones III leading the team in both points and rebounds.
PJ3 has been wildly criticized for his lack of intensity and aggressiveness, but he was fantastic in the Big 12 Tournament, which should give him plenty of confidence. Quincy Acy and Quincy Miller join him up from, with Acy a do-it-all competitor whose toughness shines through on both ends of the floor and Miller an impressive freshman with loads of potential. In the backcourt, juco transfer Pierre Jackson is second on the team in scoring and leads the Bears in assists and steals. He’s made a number of clutch plays this season but can get out of control at times. Brady Heslip knocks down over 43 percent from beyond the arc, and opponents simply can’t allow him to get loose on the perimeter.
Baylor ranks in the Top 15 in offensive efficiency thanks to a strong presence on the offensive glass and impressive shooting both inside and outside of the arc. Defensively, they have solid block and steal percentages, but they have routinely been hurt on the offensive glass and have a tendency to give up points in bunches when things start to go awry.
Colorado Buffaloes Team Capsule
- Conference: Pac-12
- Record: 23-11 (11-7 conf)
- Last 10 Games: 7-3
- Record vs. Tournament Teams: 2-3
- Wins vs. Tournament Teams: California (2)
- Losses vs. Tournament Teams: California, Colorado State, Wichita State,
- Player to Watch:Andre Roberson (6’7” F, So.) – 11.6 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 1.2 spg, 1.9 bpg, 50.9 FG%
Colorado Bottoms Line:
The Pac-12 was the butt of countless jokes over the course of the season, and the Buffs didn’t seem to have much momentum heading into the conference tournament after having lost three of their last four games. But after winning four games in four days, the final three of which were over at-large hopefuls, the Buffs ended up with the automatic bid and arguably the best profile of any team in the league.
The strength of this team lies on the defensive end, where they are in the Top 50 in adjusted efficiency. They do a nice job of limiting offensive rebounds, and while they don’t force many turnovers, the Buffs do a number of other things well. On offense, Colorado is effective at getting to the free throw line, but they rank outside of the Top 100 in virtually every other category.
Utah transfer Carlon Brown leads the team in scoring with 12.6 points per game and hits nearly 53 percent from two-point range. Super soph Andre Roberson is Colorado’s best player, as the lanky, six-foot-seven forward is among the best in the country in terms of both offensive and defensive rebounding rates. He is also an impressive shotblocker and has done a solid job of drawing fouls as well. Senior point guard Nate Tomlinson leads the squad in assists with 3.1 per game, and three other Buffaloes score at least 8.7 points per game, including sharpshooter Spencer Dinwiddie who makes 43.6 percent from deep.
Related: Jump to our South Region Bracket Breakdown