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ODB Mailbag - Let’s Talk Basketball (Football too) Edition: Answered

Baylor basketball, football, and US Men’s World Cup questions answered.

PioneerSkies: The current USMNT roster features three players from the DFW area, including Weston McKennie from Little Elm and Jesus Ferreira from McKinney. Certainly that has to be more than enough regional connection to Baylor for me to ask your thoughts on Team USA’s form during group play & how you think they will fare against the Dutch on Saturday, right??

Joe Goodman: USA wins 1-0. AMERICA

BNT: 1-0

PioneerSkies: What does CSD need to do to get the team to bounce back on Friday? Is there any way we can be optimistic going into that matchup?

pocketchange: If we want an optimistic angle, it’s that Gonzaga won’t play the same aggressive style of defense that unsettled our guards (particularly George, Bonner, and Cryer) in the first half. Baylor should be able to settle in more against the Zags on the offensive end. Still, Baylor’s defense will have plenty of problems to solve, particularly when Gonzaga uses Timme at the elbows. Baylor has struggled when Thamba or Ojianwuna have had to come up away from the rim. To me, the big question is whether Bridges will guard Timme, and can he do it without fouling?

Joe Goodman: The Bears got blitzed. The team is still finding an identity I think, and Drew is learning how they tick. It’s taking longer than many would want as conference play gets closer, but experiencing games like that in November help you in March. As for Friday, Gonzaga should play a little slower and I think it’ll be much closer than what we saw at Marquette.

BNT: That was the stinker of all stinkers on Tuesday. But, this is the same team that beat a very good UCLA team and made a valiant come back against an emotionally charged and fired up Virginia (who plays great D), yet falling short. Was the Marquette game an outlier? Yes and no. No as for exposing our weaknesses. Yes as to the 1st H performance being so bad. Marquette should have definitely had a lead, but it shouldn’t have been by 26 points. I’ve never seen our Bears so lost. The Zags will play a different style, more to our favor match up wise, but what I’ll be most interested in is to see how we handle Timme in the middle. That’s pretty much what it will come down to...and I predict

And big picture, how can the defense get fixed? In the 1st half against Marquette and the 2nd half against Virginia they gave up game-ending runs that seemed to last forever. What can be done to prevent something like that from ever happening again?

Joe Goodman: Honestly? It starts on the offensive end, as weird as that sounds. Marquette went what felt like an eternity without allowing us to even get up a field goal. That allows for easy transition offense and scattered defense. This is a score first team. Score and make the opponent come all the way up the court and beat you with a set defense, that’s how Baylor will win, for now at least.

BNT: What Joe said. To elaborate, we had 16 turnovers the 1st H against Marquette in which they converted into 22 points. You can’t blame that on the defense. That’s pretty much the difference in the 1st H. 2nd H we only had 4 turnovers and played Marquette evenly. Take care of the ball or you’ll lose games.

PioneerSkies: I know that we shouldn’t freak out about a non-conference loss on the road in November, but it seems like Virginia and Marquette exposed some deep seeded flaws in the squad. Is that a fair assessment or not? How do you think things will fare going forward?

Joe Goodman: Definitely found some major flaws, but both of those teams play styles that not everyone can imitate. I think a lot of it is mental. Understanding you don’t have to match the opponent’s pace, trusting your teammates, not pressing when you’re down early. That stuff comes with reps, and this team doesn’t have a ton of reps together. I expect them to look much different come March.

BNT: In all fairness, Virginia hit 8 of 10 3’s in the first few minutes of the 2nd H. We actually did a good job of adjusting and clawing back. Marquette, well, that’s another story. I still think protecting the ball is the most important thing we can focus on. When we turn it over like we did against Marquette, the game really speeds up and favors the team scoring. I think Drew and staff will make the adequate adjustments to have the team ready for conference play. But let me be clear, we have to take care of the ball.

325Bear: Solid start to the bball season so far, but Baylor’s defense is currently ranked 43rd on Kenpom, which would be a bit of an outlier compared to the past 3 seasons (4th, 22nd, and 13th). How much of an effect do you think Coach Tang’s departure has had on our defense so far this year? Follow up to that would be what specifically do you think we need to key in on to improve on defense as the season progresses?

pocketchange: Tang’s departure is probably impactful on the defensive end (which was more his responsibility), but the impact of his departure isn’t really quantifiable, especially given the lack of defensive talent amongst the guards. The defense gets fixed by steady improvement from George in denying middle and by Bridges and Lohner finding ways to play free safety off the weak-side to disrupt the paint when the guards get beat. The defense gets fixed by steady improvement from George in denying middle and by Bridges and Lohner finding ways to play free safety off the weak-side to disrupt the paint when the guards get beat. Easily said, not easily done. This was something Tchamqua-Tchachoua was really good at the last two seasons and has been dearly missed, as has his communication in calling out the defense, an underrated contribution he made to the team. Easily said, not easily done.

BNT: Agree with pocket change. I love Tang, but I think his impact by leaving is minimal. This is a talented team, but we are still finding our way and trying to gel. It’s obvious that Bridges and Lohner are a little lost on D, but they are still learning our system.

PioneerSkies: Between Wisconsin, Auburn, and Nebraska, which school do you think made the best HC hire? And which made the worst?

Joe Goodman: Wisconsin snagging Fickle was huge. He’s been a part of a football factory at Ohio State, and proved he could win with “lesser” talent at Cincy. Wisconsin is a mix of both of those with the conference they play in plus how tough it is to recruit there from an academic standpoint. Great hire. For worst, I’d go with Auburn. Freeze was above average at Ole Miss with a couple big wins, but he wasn’t a world beater. Add in his baggage, it seems like too big of a risk to me that in 4 years you’ll be better off than you were under even Malzahn.

BNT: Best, Fickle. The most important would be Rhule. He is tailor made to turn Nebraska around and make them competitive. Worst? Hahahaha Freeze. What a PR liability no matter how much he wins.


The game against Gonzaga is on Peacock? Really?? What, having every other game on ESPN+ wasn’t bad enough? And on the same week I had to switch to Sling Blue for the Marquette game on FS1? How is a fan supposed to keep all of this straight??

Who do you think would win in an intra-team 3pt shooting contest?

Which ranked teams are the most FRAUDULENT??


  • No one can keep it all straight
  • Cryer, hands down
  • North Carolina (And yes, I was physically present court side when they beat us last year) and Auburn stand out to me, though UNC’s latest ranking better reflects their quality.


  • Y’all know I have a short attention span, so it totally confuses me
  • Beg to differ with my buddy pocketchange, but Flagler is shooting 54% from 3
  • Baylor shouldn’t be a Top 10 team, but they can get back there

IrvingParkBear: Would Kendall Brown start on the 2022-23 Baylor basketball team?

pocketchange: Yes, and in place of Cryer. Cryer has huge value as an off-the-bench scorer, and upping the defense and athleticism in the starting unit would be incredibly valuable.

Joe Goodman: Yes

BNT: Yes, for Bridges.

IrvingParkBear: All that well said, will he get that benefit at the NBA level? Or will he tossed off as another loss?

pocketchange: I’m not sure whether Brown will make it in the NBA or not. He’s got all the talent in the world, but his confidence seems as much an impediment as his three-point shot. Perhaps he gets a chance with another team down the line, but it’s a long road for him starting on a two-way contract.

BNT: Remember he had just turned 18 during the season last year. He has a lot of room for growth and a high ceiling. I think he has a shot.

CactusBear: Obviously this being an off year at 6-6 isn’t as bas as some of the bas years of 2-4 wins but very disappointing nonetheless, but who is more to blame for this....Grimes, some very poor special teams play can’t be forgotten, or is it on the lack of execution at the QB position?

Joe Goodman: Disappointment is truly relative to expectations, and expectations are up to each person who holds them. That said, everyone hoped for better this year. Most will blame QB play, but I think it’s a whole bunch of things including bad luck, lack of returning leadership, special teams, QB play, WR play, defensive regression, and a ton of other stuff that led us here. Don’t worry about pointing a finger in one spot. There’s a lot to get better at going into 2023.

BNT: FB is a team sport and you win or lose as a team. Can’t really pin it on one person. The biggest problem I see with this team is there are no true alpha dogs on either side of the ball. You always need a few on both O and D to lead your team and keep everything focused and organized. It will be interesting to see who emerges next season.

kdavis01: Does the desire for TCU to lose every game they play get trumped by our desire to have the Big 12 represented in the CFP? Thus are we really cheering for TCU in the Big 12 Championship? Does the fact of Gary Patterson not being their coach affect this decision? :-)

Joe Goodman: I don’t care about the Big 12 in the playoff if it means TCU gets there. We are headed to a 12 team playoff anyway, I hope K State destroys them

pbpope: Joe has the right of it.


Chilimac: Which seniors will be most difficult to replace in terms of production/leadership for the 2023 team? Can you pick one on offense and one on defense?

Joe Goodman: I’m going with Connor Galvin on offense and Dillon Doyle on defense. Those dudes are rocks at their position with a ton of instinct and knowledge at key positions. Tough to replace.

BNT: I don’t disagree with Joe, but I’ll add Ika as I don’t see him come back.

aintathangbutachickenwing: Where do you think Shapen will transfer?

Joe Goodman: To Baylor

BNT: Our nemesis...University of Baylor

Framptoncomesalivebear: Defense wins championships; give us your insight on next year’s defense.

BNT: I actually think we’ll be better. We have some very athletic and talented LB’s coming back, our DB’s are growing up, and our D line should add a NT through the portal.

westjef: Will there be an open QB competition in the off-season?

Joe Goodman: Aranda has never started the same QB in back to back years, that answers that question


westjef: There are quite a few seniors on the football team. Who is going to be the most difficult to replace?

pbpope: Apu, IMO.

BNT: 100% Apu.

westjef: What are your way-too-early expectations for next year’s football team? 5 of the last 6 times Baylor won 10+ games happened in odd years. Will 2023 be another good odd year?

Joe Goodman: The scheduling will be shifting with the new teams coming in, so the soft road schedule may be skewed unlike in years past. So who knows if odd years mean anything anymore

BNT: I’ll need to see the schedule, but the growth and experience in our skill positions on offense this season and our DB’s on defense we could win 8-9 games. I reserve the right to change my opinion after the portal signings, Spring Ball, and schedule is released.

westjef: Obviously 6-6 is a disappointment by any fan’s pre-season expectations. What aspect of the team’s play are you most disappointed in? Despite falling short of expectations, what aspect of the team’s play were you most pleased with?

pbpope: I’m most disappointed in the team’s inability to find its identity and live up to its potential. You look at K-State, who operated and functioned as a complete team against Baylor... and they manhandled us. I’m disappointed that this team never found a way to function as a cohesive unit more than any individual failing.

Cody Orr: Most disappointed in the lack of pass rush. D Line was one of our most experienced units and they did not consistently generate enough pressure to help out the young secondary.Most pleased with the running backs. While there were time that Abram’s strength was missed, Sqwirl, Reese, and Jones really exceeded my expectations.

BNT: Most disappointed in the lack of leadership. Most pleased has to be Big 12 FOY Richard Reese.

PioneerSkies: Who do you want to see win the B12 CCG?

Joe Goodman: Kansas State by a million

Cody Orr: EMAW!!!


Bearsalwayswin: what bowl are we looking at and against who?

pbpope: Anywhere between the Texas Bowl and the First Responders Bowl. My guess is Liberty. We’ll find out Sunday.

BNT: What Peter said. But, I secretly hope it’s the Liberty as I love going to Graceland. Seriously, I geek out about it. lol

PioneerSkies: what bowl will A&M get?

bufb2007: Who sits out for the bowl on on our team?

Joe Goodman: I don’t know if we have any huge options there, maybe Ika or Galvin?

pbpope: Yeah... my thought is nobody.

BNT: Dunno

Leave other questions or comments below. Sic ‘em!