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January 25, 2012
And One
Baylor's Secret Weapon?

by Corey Schmidt

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As I watched Baylor in games against Kansas and Missouri last week, it seemed that the Bears were drawing and-ones at an unusual rate. To test this idea, I went through the play-by-play sheets for those games and discovered that they generated seven and-one opportunities. From my own tracking of and-ones in the Summit League, where a single team is likely to produce only one or two such chances per game, the figure for Baylor was striking. Even though the team possesses one of the best frontcourts in the country, I had doubts that they were that good at drawing fouls and finishing through contact.

To see if my doubts were warranted, I tallied all of the and-one opportunities that have occurred in Big 12 play. Considering only conference games, we can get an early understanding of where Baylor fits among its league peers in drawing these calls. The following table shows the percentage of field goal attempts that have resulted in and-one chances. (Results through January 23).

The results show that the Baylor players are indeed quite proficient when it comes to finishing buckets after contact. In fact, the squad sits behind only Oklahoma State for the top spot in the Big 12. Of course, seven of the 13 and-ones the Bears have drawn in conference games came last week, and six of them came against Missouri. The fact that Scott Drew's team drew that many chances offers more evidence that Mizzou struggled with Baylor's significant size in the frontcourt -- though that mattered little in the Tigers' big win.

One reason why all of those and-ones didn't produce an impactful advantage was because the Bears managed just 11 free throw attempts to Missouri's 31. That disparity is reflective of a much larger problem for Waco's finest: they have the second-lowest free throw rate in the Big 12. Baylor may be able to get and-ones at a solid rate, but going forward the team could benefit from generating more trips to the free throw line, period.

Yet another thing Thomas Robinson does well
Though individual and-one rates are still taking shape this early in league play, the results can at least give us an idea of players to keep an eye on in the remaining months. Among those who have attempted 50 field goals in league play through Monday, the following six players have been the most prolific at drawing and-ones.

With the benefit of an extra game played over his league counterparts, Thomas Robinson of Kansas leads the league in raw counting terms, but he's also tied with Baylor's Quincy Miller and Texas Tech's Jaye Crockett in the percentage of field goal attempts resulting in and-ones. Clearly, T-Rob is a stud. It would surprise no one if he continues to take many trips to the free throw line after throwing down a dunk against his opponents. And if you needed more fuel for the T-Rob versus Perry Jones III debate, consider that PJIII has yet to log an and-one in league play.

Other notable players without a single and-one include J'Covan Brown, Rodney McGruder, and Keiton Page. Unlike Jones III, however, those guys are guards. Still, as they all have in-conference free throw rates of 34 percent or higher, it's surprising they've yet to finish through contact. Fortunately, all of these guys play alongside at least one and-one specialist. The following table presents these unique players who have been able to draw a number of these calls despite taking very few shots.

While these players are unlikely to grab headlines for large scoring outbursts, they are worth paying attention to when they're near the basket with the ball in their hands. The most interesting case here is Baylor's Cory Jefferson. While his playing time has diminished in Big 12 play, he's found a niche as a player who can draw a quick and-one. In fact, he has attempted just three free throws against league opponents, and they've all been after making a shot and drawing a foul. With Jefferson in the line-up, the Bears may not need Jones III to finish through contact after all.

Follow Corey on Twitter: @cjschmidt1. This free article is an example of the content available to Basketball Prospectus Premium subscribers. See our Premium page for more details and to subscribe.

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