Blog Entry

Baylor's win over K-State puts it among elite

Posted on: January 10, 2012 11:06 pm

By Jeff Borzello

Is it time to take Baylor seriously?

Like that seriously? Like Final Four, national champion seriously? As seriously as we take Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State and Syracuse?

Those four teams have separated themselves as something of an elite quartet this season, the four best teams in the country. After Baylor’s 75-73 win at Kansas State on Tuesday night, though, it might be time to add another team to that group.

The Bears went into Bramlage Coliseum and knocked off a Wildcats team that was coming off a 16-point throttling of previously unbeaten Missouri. They shot 53.7 percent from the field, forced 19 turnovers and grabbed 12 offensive rebounds. Heading into the game, Kansas State was allowing 0.87 points per possession; Baylor scored 1.10 per trip.

Even more impressive, the Bears did it with basically everyone in foul trouble. Perry Jones, Quincy Acy, Quincy Miller, A.J. Walton and Pierre Jackson all had four fouls, forcing head coach Scott Drew to go with some makeshift lineups down the stretch.

From a pure talent standpoint, not many teams can compete with Baylor. Miller and Jones are future lottery picks, and Acy is an athletic forward who makes plays at both ends. In the backcourt, Walton is an aggressive defender, while Jackson is an explosive guard who is a tremendous playmaker when under control. Brady Heslip has provided a consistent perimeter option from 3-point range.

There’s plenty of depth, too. Anthony Jones is one of the more versatile players in the Big 12, and Cory Jefferson has had his moments inside. Deuce Bello is a freak athlete, while California transfer Gary Franklin provides a scoring boost.

The personnel is all there.

With its length and athleticism, Baylor is a nightmare to face on the defensive end. As they showed against Kansas State, the Bears can force turnovers in the man-to-man. It’s difficult to score inside against Baylor because of the size it has down low, and they don’t foul very often (despite the troubles against the Wildcats).

So why don’t people believe in Baylor?

For one, it’s hard to trust Jackson or Walton on a consistent basis at the point guard position. Both players have trouble taking care of the ball, and have a tendency to play out of control at times.

Offensive efficiency in the halfcourt has crept up as a potential weakness as well. While Jones is one of the most talented players in the country, he doesn’t always assert himself on the offensive end. Heslip and Jackson have been the only guys knocking down 3-point shots so far this season.

And the issue of coaching also hovers over the team; can Drew win a big game? He led Baylor to the Elite Eight in 2010, but many people still look at him as a guy who just stockpiles talent and isn’t the X’s and O’s coach that some of the other elite head men in the country.

This season, though, every team has problems. Even Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State and Syracuse.

It shouldn’t stop Baylor from joining that group. The Bears are elite.

Photo: US Presswire


Since: Aug 1, 2008
Posted on: January 11, 2012 9:47 am

Baylor's win over K-State puts it among elite

For the record, don't lump Baylor in with Ohio St...they lost to Illinois...Baylor beat K-State in their place. Baylor has beaten 7 teams with an RPI of 60 or higher. Of the 16 wins, 7 have been on the road or at a neutral site. Baylor's depth and athleticism will win them games down the stretch as other teams get tired (see BYU, Miss St, WVU and now KSU).

The argument of sloppy play by the guards is a rehash of what the media said BEFORE the season. Big difference in last year and this year: yes, Baylor can turn the ball over in spurts, but they are forcing a lot of turnovers and their assists are at a much higher rate. In fact, half of the turnovers are from the front court, not the guards. But once again, I would hate for the media to research anything instead of copy-paste.

The Scott Drew X's and O's argument is skewed in the sense that he hasn't had the talent/depth to execute consistently. Think about it, Baylor came from the 2nd worst punishment ever handed down by the NCAA (SMU's Death Penalty being 1st). That was 9 years ago. He had to rely on a bunch of 1, 2 and 3 star recruits for the first 5-6 years. Then he has built momentum from that and now recruit top players in the country. Who is going to look better as an X's and O's coach? Someone with 2 and 3 star recruits, or someone with 4 and 5 star recruits? Baylor can now sub 5 guys at a time. Baylor is 10 deep when they run a zone and about 7 or 8 deep when they switch to man defense.

As far as where the Baylor fans are boasting...we have a fan site: b a y l o r f a n s .com that most flock to. Not too many out in CBSSports or other sports websites.

Since: Aug 1, 2007
Posted on: January 11, 2012 9:19 am

Baylor's win over K-State puts it among elite

I am not all that familiar with Baylor (but am learning fast!) but here's what strikes me, notice the blog comments for all these other "elite" teams (not my term mind you) games and you see page after page of comments from rabid fans, rabid haters, plenty of opinions, etc. Here we have a Baylor team doing VERY well and what, 4 comments? FOUR? Where are all the fans boasting? where are all the haters complaining about this or that? Kind of telling why so little is known about this team so far, my "ignorance" is not isolated it would seem?

Since: Mar 10, 2008
Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:36 am

Baylor's win over K-State puts it among elite

Baylor "escaped" tonight.....No other way to put it 71-67 with 3 to play, only thing keeping you from losing is Kstate turnovers...4 fouls on 4 starters, I mean comeon!...Hardest working player was definitely Mcgruder, too bad the rest of the Cats arent smart enough to not turn the ball over when the game was on the line..A more "mature" team wouldve won the game....I would even say Baylor was "handed" the game with bad turnovers by guess who Angel Rodriguez, a freshman who's basketball IQ obviously is not high enough to win big games against top 10, undefeated opponents..

Since: May 8, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:01 am

Baylor's win over K-State puts it among elite

Definitely the BEST point guard coming off the bench haha. 

Since: May 8, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:00 am

Baylor's win over K-State puts it among elite

I love your posts BUBig12Sports. I share the same enthusiasm and thoughts with this team except the best point guard statement.  Pierre's been off the chain so far.  I would say he's right there as the QUICKEST point guard in the country, but I'll hold off with the best.  No harm, just my opinion like yours.

Since: Dec 20, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 11:34 pm

Baylor's win over K-State puts it among elite

Welcome to the bandwagon - we've been pleading w/ the country to look at Baylor all year.  Unfortunately the media 'elite' loves N. Caorlina, Syracuse, Ohio state and Kentucky - as they should.  But it's time to take this team seriously.   They have more quality wins than any team in the country - and they've all been on the road or neutral courts.  

Baylor is strong at every position. Plays incredible defense and has the most unknown and BEST point guard in the country.  Add that to a front line which has 3 NBA picks - you have a recipe for a deep run in March.  And they are only getting better..... 

Welcome - tell all your friends - the more fans the better. 

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