Updated Baylor vs. Norfolk State Odds, Spread, Pick & Predictions for 2022 NCAA Tournament

Mar 13, 2022 - 10:00 AM

Baylor Bears vs. Norfolk State Spartans 2022 NCAA Tournament Game Preview

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Baylor Bears vs. Norfolk State Spartans Match Up Overview

Baylor Norfolk State
Conference Big 12 MEAC
W-L 26-6 24-6
AdjEM 4th 168th
AdjO 9th 190th
AdjD 14th 159th
Tempo 170th 187th
eFG% 54th 106th
TO% 161st 293rd
OR% 7th 115th
FTR 236th 9th
DeFG% 79th 16th
DTO% 16th 157th
DR% 198th 135th
DFTR 89th 259th
Luck 137th 23rd

 
Stats via KenPom.

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Baylor Bears Preview

While there was a lot of turnover from last year’s championship team, head coach Scott Drew has done a phenomenal job at bringing the newbies up to speed and having another successful campaign.

The Bears are vigilant on the glass and can spread any defense thin with the number of offensive weapons they possess. James Akinjo, Adam Flagler, and Matthew Mayer lead the ninth-ranked offense in the nation, shooting 67.8% near the hoop. Baylor transitions well and forces a high percentage of turnovers.

The uncertainties with this team are mostly about their injuries. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchuoa is done for the season, and it looks as if LJ Cryer is unlikely to return unless Baylor makes a deep tournament run. In the first Big 12 Tournament game we saw Baylor struggle, as the Bears fell to Oklahoma 72-67.

The loss of Cryer limits Baylor’s offensive abilities, and “Everyday Jon” was a rebounding machine, which is much needed for this team. The rest of the team will have to soak up the lost minutes, and with a quick turnaround, fatigue may show, especially in a second-round game.

The ceiling is still high for Drew and Co. This team still has the ingredients needed to cut down the nets in April. It’s just not clear whether this crew has fully adjusted to the losses of two playmakers, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see an early exit from this Bears team.

Norfolk State Spartans Preview

Norfolk State led the MEAC essentially from the start, running the conference tournament with three easy wins. Their perimeter defense ranks 11th in the nation, and their ability to reach the charity stripe is nearly unmatched, as they rank ninth in the nation in free throw rate.

Joe Bryant and Kris Bankston were two of the best players in the MEAC. Bankston, a 6-8 senior center, shot at a 70% clip from down low, the 14th best among DI players. Jalen Hawkins is effective with the dribble drive, and his pairing with Bryant makes up a solid backcourt.

The Spartans are one of the more experienced teams in the tournament. While their three-point defense is solid, it is due for some regression, as that is where opposing teams prefer to shoot against them. The Spartans shouldn’t make too much noise against whoever they face, especially considering they had one of the easiest schedules of any tournament team.

Rapid Prediction for Baylor Bears vs. Norfolk State Spartans

While these teams appear to stack up with each other in points per game and points allowed per game, the level of competition was completely different. The Baylor Bears ranked 23rd in the nation in strength of schedule, while Norfolk State ranked 357th, or second WORST in all of Division I. Regardless, they won the games they needed to win and earned their way into the tournament. Baylor will be happy to be a No. 1 seed, but the Bears are certainly angry about the way they played in the Big 12 tournament against Oklahoma. Look for Baylor’s ninth-ranked offense to get it right and beat up on a Norfolk State team that crumbled against any real competition this season. Give me the Baylor first-half spread with the uncertainty, but if L.J. Cryer and Adam Flagler return to form, look for the Bears to take out their frustrations on the MEAC Champions.

Baylor Bears vs. Norfolk State Spartans Round 1 Game Pick

Baylor First Half Spread (-11.5)

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