Houston Vs Baylor in the NCAA Tournament Final Four
The battle for the national title is about to get underway in Indianapolis on Saturday when the Baylor Bears (27-2) and Houston Cougars (26-4) face off in the Final Four. The winner advances to Monday’s national championship game and will likely meet the Gonzaga Bulldogs in a rematch of their regular season contest. Houston vs Baylor
Baylor is a big, athletic team that will make it difficult for Houston to keep the ball in their half-court. They lead the nation in field goal defense at 43.3% and are stifling opponents in the 3-point range too.
This is not an easy matchup for Houston, a team that has struggled to score in the NCAA Tournament all year. It will be a good test for the defending AAC champions to see how they can keep pace against the elite guard play of the Bears.
Defensively, Houston’s length and athleticism are a real plus for the team. They are also stifling opponents in the three-point range, holding them to 29.2% from downtown.
Their stifling defensive performance against Kansas and Oklahoma State will be crucial for them to get back on track in the next round against the tough Baylor offense. They’ve shown that they can shut down top-notch teams with their in-the-shirt defense, and will be eager to do it again against the Bears on Saturday.
The Bears have a high three-point shooting percentage, averaging 10-24 per game. They also have a great make rate, which is about 40 percent of their three-point attempts.
They’ve also beaten the Cougars in three of the past four meetings, so it should be a good matchup for the Bears on Saturday. They’re also a great defensive rebounding team, ranking 3rd in offensive rebounds per game and 6th in defensive efficiency via/KenPom.
Baylor will be relying on their three-point shooting to pull out the victory against Houston on Saturday. They rank #1 in the NCAA in three-point percentage, hitting 10-24 per game.
But their defense has been just as key to their success this year, as they’ve held their opponents to 57 points or fewer in each of the first four games. They’ve done this by stifling the opposition in the three-point range and using their size and strength in the paint to remove open looks for opposing guards.
Despite their impressive defensive performance, the Cougars are still a 4.5-point underdog on the odds board for this March Madness semifinal matchup. That means they will have to be especially careful not to overreact to the Bears’ 3-point attack or lose focus on their defense and rebounding.
The defenders in the Baylor lineup have made it a chore for the Cougars to shoot, switching and trapping ball screens and collapsing in the paint whenever they break free. This type of defensive intensity is not something Houston has been accustomed to during this NCAA Tournament and will give the Bears an edge in Saturday’s battle for the title.