After Colorado's nerve-racking win over UNLV last night, they will have to bring an even better performance to beat Baylor on Saturday. Baylor has a variety of strengths starting with Perry Jones III and Quincy Acy. Baylor gives different looks on defense, however, they mostly stick to zone. If Colorado doesn't get into foul trouble and gives a typical defensive performance, the Colorado Buffaloes could be advancing to the next round.
Baylor On Offense: Baylor is a very athletic, long team and Andre Roberson and Austin Dufault are going to be crucial for Colorado on defense. Andre Roberson will most likely start on Perry Jones III, and Dufault will be covering Quincy Acy. If Dufault can box out Acy and front the post, Baylor will be in trouble. The Bears tend to get into rhythms as well and can be lulled into taking bad shots. A key for Colorado that was similar to the UNLV game is that they cannot let the bigs get good post position. It's hard to get consistent points from down low if the players are catching it far away from the basket. Ultimately, if Colorado can stop the big men from getting easy baskets and second chances and stop Pierre Jackson from taking his go to shots, the Sweet Sixteen is a likely destination for the Buffaloes, but that is a big if.
Key Players: Perry Jones III - Jones is a 6'11", 235 pound athletic freak. He can run the floor, post you up, and finish with the best of them. One part of his game that has been criticized all year is that he hasn't played up to his full potential. He's a great player, but he isn't aggressive all the time. Typically, if a 6'11" player is settling for jump shots, he's not doing his best. Roberson has got to force Jones to take the jumpers. Jones does have a size advantage, but Roberson is one of the most determined hard-working defensive players in the country and he'll need to do his best to make Jones shoot from the outside.
Pierre Jackson - When he plays well, Baylor doesn't often lose. He is point guard and the go to guy when Baylor needs a shot. The only player on Colorado who can match his quickness is Askia Booker. If I were Boyle, I would start Tomlinson on him and then alternate with Booker guarding him. Additionally, the Buffaloes cannot let Jackson get into the lane. He gets into the lane at will and then complements it with his three point shooting. He makes a lot of threes, but also takes a lot. Help defense will be key in stopping Jackson. Ultimately, Colorado cannot let him get dribble penetration and force him to take off balance, low percentage threes.
Quincy Acy - Acy is arguably just as good as Jones at finishing at the rim and is a great rebounder. Someone always has to be on Acy. Dufault has improved his boxing out ability greatly and as long he stays out of foul trouble he has the ability to limit Acy's game. Force Quincy Acy to take some inefficient jump shots and don't let him get good post position. Ultimately, Colorado has to treat Quincy Acy like Perry Jones.
Bottom Line: Colorado needs to stop the bigs. They create offense for Baylor and pass out to the guards for three pointers. On defense, Colorado just needs to play how they usually play. Boyle is an amazing defensive coach and preaches defense first. Most importantly, if the Buffaloes stick to their defensive game, Baylor will have a hard time scoring.