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Baylor Basketball: MaCio Teague and the Importance of Responding

His second half performance was spectacular

NCAA Basketball: Central Arkansas at Baylor Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

With about 35 seconds left in the first half of Baylor-Villanova, Scott Drew—a normally jovial man—was as angry as you’ll see him. Drew proved he’s a capable jumper in this clip:

Drew’s anger was justified. Baylor had the opportunity to hold for the last shot. Instead, Davion Mitchell threw the ball in and Teague grabbed it. If he waits four seconds to grab the ball, then Baylor gets the final shot. But Teague didn’t wait. And Villanova got the final shot. Teague fouled Villanova’s 3-point shooter, and the Wildcats led by three at halftime.

Responding is normally more important than the opening salvo in life. Villanova went to work in the second half. The Wildcats last four seasons, respectively: national champs, overall No. 1 seed, national champs and Big East champs. Jay Wright’s squad got there by pulling away from teams. Teague kept Villanova from pulling away by draining a necessary three:

Teague’s been an adept driver. He ranks fourth in the Big 12 in Bart Torvik’s PPRG!, which measures a player’s overall impact. By combining his size and athleticism, Teague is a real threat on the drive:

3-point shooting remains Teague’s best skill. The UNC-Asheville transfer shot 45% and 43% from three his two seasons there. He’s hit 44% of his 39 attempts on the young season. Good 3-point shooting requires being able to make shots in a variety of ways, and Teague is brilliant off dribble hand-offs:

Finally, Teague did a fantastic job setting a good and wide screen on Baylor’s awesome play. It’s a rip action set where a guard screens down low to free up the big man for a dunk or layup (here’s a full breakdown of that set here). Teague’s timing (Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is turned around) led to the foul:

It’s easy to have a great game when everything is rolling. But when things go poorly—and Teague made a mental blunder in the first half—it can be tough to recover. It wasn’t for Teague though. He finished with 12 points and made all four of his free throws to secure a big victory. With a player like Teague, and the Big 12’s best player in Jared Butler, the Bears can legitimately think this is their year.