If the Big 12 were Dunder Mifflin, Scott Drew would be Dwight Schrute.
Every coach who's any coach in the Big 12 can't stand the guy for a variety of reasons, including Texas' esteemed head man who happens to be leading the anti-Scott Drew charge. Hell, basketball fans for both squads tune in to the bitter end of Baylor/Texas games to watch the side show that this pair's post game handshake has become.
But you know what. I'm over it. Scott Drew is a heckuva coach. Don't get me wrong, I don't type that because Drew continues to pants the Longhorns with a collection of basketball players largely ignored by the Texas program during the recruiting process. I'm over it because I really like watching Drew's teams play.
The fact of the matter is that Scott Drew has built a really good basketball team from the ground up in a relatively short amount of time.
The impressive part about rebuilding on top of Dave Bliss' smoldering ashes is that this Baylor team was constructed with a larger plan in mind.
The brick and mortar of Baylor's team is a talented and complementary backcourt. Tweetie Carter makes everyone better because he can create with the dribble and stretch the defense as a credible jump shooter. LaceDarius Dunn is a shooter/scorer supreme who needs to be guarded as soon as he leaves the locker room. Mark Price and Bruce Dalrymple. Chris Corchiani and Rodney Monroe. Tweetie and LaceDarius. Sounds like a fit.
The backcourt is the focal point of the Baylor attack and their offense is designed to free these two players. When you over play Dunn in the off the ball screening game or over-hedge Carter's ballscreens, Baylor is able to attack the rim with a ferocious collection of athletic finishers that can play with anyone in the Big 12 in Jones, Acy, and Udoh.
It's basketball in its purest form. Run offense for the players that are hard to guard, and then counter off of the help that's sure to come. Drew has done a terrific job of constructing a team with this premise in mind and the result is a team that complements each other well and plays a brand of basketball that's fun to watch.
Even more impressive than Baylor's ability to score (Baylor could always score) is the defensive adjustment Drew made for this club before the season began. Going into the season, Drew realized that his personnel probably wasn't the most adept at playing traditional man to man defense, plus he knew he had depth issues in the backcourt.
So, you have some guys that have a hard time staying in front of dribblers, you have zero depth, and you have frontcourt guys that can rebound out of their area and block shots. What would YOU do? I'd zone, something Ursa Major touches on over at Bear Crawl.
The zone has allowed Baylor to stay in games defensively and stay out of foul trouble which gives that explosive offense more time to find its rhythm. The result is a Baylor club that you don't want any part of in the Big Dance.
As for the Longhorns, there really isn't anything else to say that hasn't already been said. We have a collection of mismatched personnel that has responded poorly to the way they've been coached. It's simple, really.
And the game? Well the game on offense, other than the turnovers, played out about as I expected. An active zone that doesn't try to limit the paint area agrees with the Texas offense and especially its frontcourt personnel. Sweet spot. Wheelhouse. Feel free to mix and match your sports metaphors.
Had we just valued the basketball we could have made the game a shootout because we were getting good shots on offense everytime down to the extent we avoided a turnover.
The reason our frontcourt personnel is a perfect counter to an active, extended perimeter zone is that it dares you to attack the paint area from 15 feet in. The zone allows most passes right into the high post so it's a virtual certainty that you'll get the ball in the paint every possession. It's the same thing Syracuse does with their zone. They simply dare you to make a 15 footer or attack their behemoths. And Texas has plenty of athletic scorers that are really good 15 feet and in.
So when you're playing against this defense, you're basically getting built in dribble penetration. Except your guards don't have to dribble or penetrate. Cool, huh? I can hear Longhorn fan now, "I like this idea and wish to subscribe to your recruiting newsletter."
The extended zone is the reason we shot over 50 percent from the floor, and the main reason Johnson, Hamilton, and James had good shooting days. We just need guards that have the ability to take care of the basketball and deliver it to these players in these spots on the floor everytime down. If we had any one of eight random starting Big 12 point guards for this game, the game likely goes down to the wire.
I'm not going to talk about the Texas defense because it's tough to comment on what you can't see.
As for players, there really is no need to hash things out. Here's the boxscore if you're into leather gimp masks, and want to draw your own conclusions.
Also, Nickel Rover has some good thoughts on what he saw. He's right, our offense looked really crisp at times and the zone had a lot to do with that. I actually think Drew made a minor mistake by extending his defense so much.
So with that, it's on to the Big 12 tournament where we'll face Iowa State in the first round this Wednesday. A win means another shot at taking down Big 12 big dog Baylor. I'll be tuning in to watch a fun brand of basketball and a team coached by the laughingstock of Dunder Mifflin. I'll let the reader draw his own conclusions there.