West – No. 6 Baylor vs. No. 11 Nebraska

Posted Mar 16, 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview, Breakdown & Pick: West Region – No. 6 Baylor vs. No. 11 Nebraska

- 60-Second Video Analysis On Each Team

Line: Baylor -3.5
Why To Pick Baylor: This is a long, lean, active team that's fantastic on the boards and great at generating second chance points. Nebraska doesn't rebound, and it doesn't move the ball around well enough to get by the Bears' aggressive D. The Huskers are plucky, but they don't have the scoring punch.
Why To Pick Nebraska: Is there any team in the tournament more excited to be in it? Nebraska defies logic – it's not very good at playing college basketball. However, it fights and battles for everything, the defense can be nasty, and there's a chance to force several mistakes against an occasionally sloppy Baylor backcourt.
The Pick: Baylor 70-65. Who doesn't wanto to see Nebraska-Creighton in the next round? It's not going to happen. Nebraska will want to keep the game slow, and it should, but Baylor is way too good on the boards. The Huskers will get outrebounded, and badly.

Baylor Bears
Head coach: Scott Drew Record: 24-11 Conference: Big 12

What You Need To Know: The Bears suffered through a shaky stretch in the middle of the season, but now they've gotten back on track to become one of the most fun teams in the country. Baylor's length allows them to protect the rim, and they're disruptive enough on defense even to overcome a slew of mistakes. Cory Jefferson is tough inside, but he also can stretch the floor a bit from three-point range and opens the lane for his teammates. He's also a quality shot blocker and rebounder. Kenny Chery is a wicked passer with a knack of sensing the big moment and delivering. Brady Heslip and Isaiah Austin turn in solid minutes and take some pressure off Chery and Jefferson, and Rico Gathers does a good job of scoring on putbacks inside.
Strengths: Rebounding, Blocked Shots, Three Point Shooting
Weaknesses: Free Throws, Turnover Margin, Steals
How Far Will They Go?: Can Baylor bring the fire? If so, it can make a good run with the right make-up to get by Creighton in the next round. If the Bears get to the Sweet 16 and have to match up against Wisconsin to move on, they'll advance, but they won't get there.

Nebraska Cornhuskers
Head coach: Tim Miles Record: 19-12 Conference: Big Ten

What You Need To Know: The Cornhuskers were the surprise of the Big Ten this year - the development of the program under head coach Tim Miles has been impressive. Nebraska isn't going to run anyone out of the gym, but it plays tough defense and can wear teams down in a number of ways. Terran Petteway is the leader on the floor, able to score from anywhere and take over games. He's relentless going to the bucket and has the strength to power through contact, doing a good job of getting to the free-throw line. Shavon Shields has a knack for performing well under the brightest of spotlights, providing a solid rebounder who brings balance to the floor. Forward Walter Pritchford has sneaky quickness and is a good, fundamental defender, and Ray Gallegos is experienced and won't shy away from a big moment.
Strengths: Interior Defense, Scoring Defense, Turnover Margin
Weaknesses: Assists, Shooting, Scoring
How Far Will They Go?: The fire and enthusiasm will be there, but it won't be enough to get out of the first round. Even if they do get past Baylor, they'll get tagged by Creighton.