The 2-3 Zone: 1st Edition

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

In an effort to provide you with basketball content to feast upon, I present to you a new ODB basketball feature: The 2-3 Zone.

Those of you who are used to reading about the football team here on ODB know that there is at least a basic structure to the posts each week in which deviation typically means something awesome in addition to the standard (and terrific) content produced week in and week out. So let me introduce you to a weekly post you can expect every Monday.

Each week we will take two looks back at the preceding week, and three looks forward into what the next week holds for the Men's basketball team.

LOOKING BACK

1) Kenny Chery had an absolutely complete game against Louisiana-Lafayette and then laid an egg against Charleston Southern. While a stat line like Chery's against the Ragin' Cajuns is probably near impossible for him to duplicate (20 points, 4 assists, 0 turnovers), based on his play so far this season it's also unlikely that he duplicates his line against the Buccaneers (4 points, 5 assists, 1 turnover). This is good news for us. Chery has been solid for us at a position that we clearly do not have an answer for when he is not on the floor. Ish Wainright does present some different possibilities, as noted in our Film Study, but has proven to be more raw than most thought heading into the season.

2) This team is ugly and that is probably not going to change. The tendency is to think this year is destined to be a disappointment with the way we are winning games but it is more accurate to say that this season remains a huge question mark. Many were upset (and rightfully so) that Baylor not only played sloppy against Charleston Southern, but that the team barely pulled out the victory. While I agree, it was not an ideal outing for our Bears, they did win and they did so against an incredibly experienced team, particularly in the back court where our apparent weakness lies. Last year, the Bears lost to the College of Charleston early in the season because they sleepwalked through the game. The result? An NIT championship team. This year we won a game in which we sleepwalked and against a better team.

Why has this team been ugly? Overall it has been poor to mediocre free-throw shooting, turnovers (particularly by Cory Jefferson and Isaiah Austin), and a lack of effort on the defensive boards.

LOOKING FORWARD

1) The Bears play Chaminade tonight in Maui - Chaminade is not good. I had to utilize the nether regions of Google to research this team for the preview later today since all I knew of them is that they beat Texas last year in this same game (who hasn't beaten Texas lately?). If Baylor struggles yet again tonight, in a tournament we are notoriously bad in (4-10 record), then there has to be more validity to the argument that the basketball team, under Drew, gets too caught up in enjoying moments off the court to be able to play at their best each day on it.

2) The Maui Invitational field is quite solid. Heading into the tournament the teams are an almost unbelievable 30-0 combined. Baylor is going to wind up with one of the most difficult non-conference schedules out there and this tournament really does offer a chance for us to see how we will fair moving forward. This team is prepared like a tournament team - with a nine player rotation and Brady Heslip shooting lights out - it could be lethal. The emphasis, though, is on "could." It could also prove disastrous.

3) If Baylor runs through Chaminade and the winner of Gonzaga/Drayton (most likely another good Gonzaga team under Mark Few ranked in the top 15), they will end up facing Syracuse barring a major upset. That, folks, is a legit top 10 team. If I were to extrapolate what I have seen from this team so far, I think that it is capable of being in every single game this year outside of Lawrence and Stillwater even when they are playing abysmally, simply because the playing style will make it hard for teams to really pull away. It's time to face the fact that we have a blue collar team on our hands which means you ought to take your heart medication before each game.

AND ONE

1) How do you project us finishing in the Maui Invitational? Let's discuss in the comments.

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