Skip to content

Unless No. 12 Baylor’s defense improves, they’re not a Big 12 contender

Jan 16, 2014, 12:36 AM EDT

Baylor  v Texas Tech

Jaye Crockett led five players in double figures with 19 points for Texas Tech as the Red Raiders blew out No. 12 Baylor at home.

The final score was 82-72, but trust me when I tell you, that doesn’t do the beatdown justice. It took 30 minutes for the Bears to show up on Wednesday night, and by then they were already down 20 points. Tech was up 43-22 at the half, having held Baylor to 7-for-27 shooting. Baylor didn’t have an assist in the first 20 minutes.

Tubby Smith’s boys deserve all the credit in the world. They came out and simply out-worked the Bears. Baylor looked half-asleep in the first half, which is something that can happen on the road in league play, and the Red Raiders took advantage.

But the bigger concern for Baylor is that this may not have simply been a bad outing.

The Bears haven’t done much of anything since beating Kentucky on December 6th. Part of that was their schedule. Like any other coach in the country, Scott Drew went ahead and put together a December full of cupcakes. The Bears had beaten Colorado and Kentucky and finished in second place in the Maui Invitational in November, looking every bit the part of a top 15 team that could compete for the Big 12.

But during that month long sabbatical from quality competition, the Bears seem to have lost their rhythm. They were run off the floor at Iowa State last week, with nothing but a blowout home win over TCU in between the two losses.

Here’s the question I have: can their issues actually be corrected? The concerns for Baylor entering the season were in their back court, but Kenny Chery has been a revelation while Brady Heslip is back to being one of the nation’s most fearsome snipers. Throw in the recent performances from Taurean Prince, and the Bears have plenty of weapons on the perimeter.

The issue is that Baylor’s front line was supposed to be one of the best in the country, but it has disappointed all season long. Isaiah Austin is a better shot-blocker than he was as a freshman, but the rest of his numbers are significantly down from a year ago. Cory Jefferson is still doing what he does, but he’s at his best in a complimentary role. He’s not a focal point as a low-post scorer, he’s a rebounder that will throw down a couple of thunderous dunks a night.

What’s worse is that despite having those two — plus one of the nation’s best rebounders in Rico Gathers — the Bears are still getting waxed on the defensive glass. I get it, they play a lot of zone and rebounding is difficult to do out of a zone, but it’s still unacceptable for the nation’s second-best offensive-rebounding team to fail to corral more than 32% of the available defensive rebounds.

In fact, the Bears simply are not a good defensive team. Before giving up 82 points to Texas Tech, they ranked outside the top 100 in defensive efficiency, according to Kenpom. They don’t force turnovers, they can’t end possessions by getting defensive rebounds, and they’re struggling to defend the three this season.

Unless the Bears make some serious strides on the defensive end of the floor, this quite simply is not a team that can be put in the same sentence as Kansas, Oklahoma State and Iowa State.

Latest Posts
  1. Two will transfer out of BYU

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:45 PM EDT

    Saint Marys Cal BYU Basketball AP

    BYU is losing two reserve players to transfer.

  2. Iowa lands a strong-shooting junior college forward

    Apr 20, 2015, 9:45 PM EDT

    Fran McCaffery AP

    Iowa landed a junior college forward to close out a six-man class.

  3. Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg up and moving after heart surgery (VIDEO)

    Apr 20, 2015, 8:45 PM EDT

    (AP) AP

    Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg is up and on his feet after heart surgery.

  4. North Carolina’s Marcus Paige undergoes arthroscopic ankle surgery

    Apr 20, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    North Carolina star point guard Marcus Paige had successful surgery

  5. All-MAC guard Shannon Evans to transfer from Buffalo; is athletics director Danny White at fault?

    Apr 20, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Shannon Evans is leaving Buffalo. Is athletic director Danny White the reason why?

  6. Rhode Island lands perimeter help in graduate transfer from Towson

    Apr 20, 2015, 5:45 PM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Rhode Island added some immediate help shooting the ball.

  7. South Florida lands a graduate transfer from Gonzaga

    Apr 20, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    Angel Nunez AP

    South Florida continues to hit the transfer market hard.

  8. Reports: Long Beach State lands talented back court transfer

    Apr 20, 2015, 3:17 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Evan Payne averaged 18.0 points for LMU last season.

  9. Memphis lands a commitment from talented PG transfer

    Apr 20, 2015, 2:47 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Tarrant will step into the starting point guard role for Memphis.

  10. Kyle Wiltjer to return to Gonzaga for his senior season

    Apr 20, 2015, 2:38 PM EDT

    Kyle Wiltjer (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Wiltjer will likely be a preseason all-american.

  11. Greek Freak 2.0? A first look at Kostas Antetokounmpo (VIDEO)

    Apr 20, 2015, 1:58 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The younger Greek Freak is hitting the AAU circuit this summer.

  12. Illegal fishing, driving infraction lead to arrest for Mississippi State player

    Apr 20, 2015, 12:52 PM EDT

    Mississippi State athletics Mississippi State athletics

    This is the leader in the clubhouse for the weirdest offseason story.

  13. LSU lands top 50 Class of 2015 guard Brandon Sampson

    Apr 20, 2015, 11:49 AM EDT

    (Under Armour) (Under Armour)

    Sampson gives LSU one of the best recruiting classes in the country.

  14. 2015 College Basketball Updated Early Entry List

    Apr 20, 2015, 9:05 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Who’s going pro? Who’s returning to school? Who are we still waiting to hear from?

  15. Five-star forward sets date for college announcement

    Apr 19, 2015, 11:15 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Brandon Ingram’s down to six schools: North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and NC State.

  16. Central Michigan lands former Youngstown State guard

    Apr 19, 2015, 10:05 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Marcus Keene averaged 15.6 ppg last season, and with Chris Fowler entering his senior season this is a good pickup for the Chippewas.

  17. Four-star shooting guard’s upcoming decision an important one for St. John’s

    Apr 19, 2015, 9:20 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Brandon Sampson will pick LSU, Oklahoma State or St. John’s on Monday, and he’s an important recruit for the Red Storm.

  18. Bucknell announces hiring of former assistant Nathan Davis as head coach

    Apr 19, 2015, 8:42 PM EDT

    Randolph Macon Athletics Randolph Macon Athletics

    Nathan Davis, who won 78.3 percent of his games as head coach at Randolph Macon, was an assistant at Bucknell from 2003-08.