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ODB MAILBAG - Men’s and Women’s Basketball Stretch Run Edition: Answered

Men’s and Women’s basketball, Super Bowl, Olympics and other questions answered.

Hey BNT, regarding MBB chances of a deep tourney run,

Posted by aintathangbutachickenwing

BNT: Drew has shown historically that he gets our guys to peak at the right time. I think we have a good chance (if healthy) to not only make a deep run, but get back to the Final 4.

what is the holdup on CDA”s contract???

Posted by aintathangbutachickenwing

Andrew Miner: Mack Rhoades said that the deal has been completed and inked via SicEm365.

BNT: See Andrew’s answer above, and hey Wing my friend

Will you be rooting for the Bengals in the Super Bowl?

Because of Clay Johnston?

Posted by PioneerSkies

Andrew Miner: Have to pull for the Bengals! And if not for Clay’s two-point conversion tackle on Derrick Henry, who knows if they are even in this position.

Joe Goodman: Bengals all the way

BNT: There is something about seeing a guy like Stafford get the crap beat out of him year in and year out suddenly have the opportunity for achieving the pinnacle of his profession. So, there’s that. But yes I’m pulling for the Bengals because of Clay, who is one of my favorite all time BU players. He plays his “nuts” off.

What is on the menu for your Opening Ceremonies watch party on Friday?

And are there any Baylor connections to this year’s Winter Olympics, other than McGregor TX native Katie Uhlaender (skeleton) who might attend Baylor in the future?

Posted by PioneerSkies

BNT: None that I know of, but I do think Katie Uhlaender is a great story. However, a couple of my classmates made the Summer Olympics and one had me training him...bless his heart. Also, I was skiing at Vail a few years ago and American olympic snowboarding legend Shaun White and I shared a gondola lift together. I tried to give him some tips, but he acted like he knew what he was doing. TBH, I’m not big on watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Give me the competition baby!

Transfer impact to Baylor Basketball

While Baylor has certainly benefited this year from Akinjo’s immediate transfer, I thought that Coach Drew had mastered the prior transfer system of waiting a year. He hit repeatedly with transfers (particularly upgrades in division i.e. Teague/Gillespie) and the ability to integrate a player into a system. Now that every player can transfer willy nilly all over the place, has Baylor lost an advantage?

Posted by IrvingParkBear

Andrew Miner: This is a great question; however, I do not think that Baylor has lost an advantage. Rather, it should be strengthen with the ability to play right away. Dale Bonner for example is upgrading divisions and he has performed admirably. Coach Drew and company have a rap sheet of references and examples that they can show new players what happens if they redshirt a year and wait to develop. And that’s not just about winning NCAA titles, but increasing their NBA draft stock.

Joe Goodman: Big advantage. Drew is a master of identifying transfer talent, the waiting I think used to hurt us, now guys can get in game experience, like Bonner has.

BNT: Baylor has not lost the advantage, but actually gained an advantage. If I’m a player who is raw with a high ceiling or player who just needs some tweaks and my goal is to get to the NBA, I would trust Drew’s process to develop me. Drew and his staff are elite in player development.

How can the Lady Bears contain Ayoka Lee in the rematch next week?

Andrew Miner: First and foremost, the Bears must stay out of foul trouble. Queen nearly sat their first matchup on the bench the entire time and once Lee got rolling there was nothing Baylor could do to stop her. And Caitlin Bickle was simply not big enough, but she was also working to not put herself in foul trouble either. Egbo has improved massively since then and averages 1.8 blocks per game this year; Smith averages 1 block. They will need to play with that tenacity on Lee and potentially have Bickle draw a few charges. Baylor will need to a good job at disrupting interior passes; if Lee catches the ball deep in the paint then forget about it. Further if they can be in the shorts of the freshmen guards on the perimeter, then that should disrupt the offensive flow. If you take Coach Nicki Collen’s word, then Baylor could even let Lee get 30 and still have an opportunity to win.

BNT: Depends on which Queen shows up. If it’s the ISU game Queen, she will neutralize Lee for the most part. If it’s last nights Queen vs OU then, uh oh!

Also, how worried should we be about having only 8 scholarship player after McDaniel walked away? Will a short bench be an obstacle to winning the Big 12 considering our 6 starters are so strong?

Posted by Your_Bailey_Bear

Andrew Miner: Funny how my answer can change over the course of a single night. I am shook; in disarray and just plain sick. McDaniel never got healthy to be fully integrated quickly enough and therefore I really do not feel her absence. The short bench is a problem more so to worry about for tournament play where players can get heavy legs or get in foul touble or have an off night. It is really hard to string a bunch of wins together against a variety of opponents in a short time span (which may happen for this three game in five day stretch). With that said, I am not able to describe how confident I was that this team would be able to continue to string regular season wins together to be in a position to win the regular season title (and they still very well could). Losing to Oklahoma again, when their bus arrived 30 minutes before tip, when they led by 12 in the first half and by 6 with three minutes to play is wholly unacceptable. Egbo not making a basket and only getting four boards in 16 minutes and Lewis only taking four shots for the game are also unacceptable. For the second time against the Sooners the Bears have blown small but manageable fourth quarter leads with minutes to play by not simply doing the little things right. On the road was a bit more understandable—four point lead with four and a half minutes to play, dealing with returning from Covid and trying to defend a red hot shooting team. But tonight, Baylor was rushing long jump shots even after getting offensive rebounds late, missed layups and free throws, did not stop the ball in transition and letting OU score with the clock stopped at the line. But maybe OU is the championship team finding ways to win when it matters the most and BU is not this year. So to answer your question, no I do not believe a short bench is an obstacle to winning the Big 12–in fact Bickle provides more than enough bench. I think the challenge is playing smart and efficient basketball in late, key moments. I feel confident that the 6/7 we have are able to do it because we have seen them do it where they look to be unquestionably the best team in the league—in fact I would expect them to beat anyone in the nation with the exception of South Carolina. But for whatever reason, Baylor has struggled to maintain leads down the stretch. To me, I would argue that is just not a bench issue. Remember, Coach Mulkey very rarely used a bench (sometimes just going with five starters) in the biggest of games such as the 2019 final four and title game or last year’s Elite 8 game.

BNT: A short bench isn’t the issue of winning the Big 12, the mental lapses we have for stretches on the defensive side during games is the issue. If we can lock down like we did against ISU, we have a shot. If not, well, the streak is broken. A short bench will impact us in the tourney.

What is your prediction for Baylor-Kansas on Saturday?

Posted by PioneerSkies

Branden MacKinnon: We’ve got plenty of articles for that @ Branden and @ Cody. Kidding, but seriously I think this game could be a coin flip. At the risk of stating the obvious I would feel more confident if I knew Cryer and Flagler were healthy. But even still, I don’t think it will be a blow out like many analysts are predicting. This is the biggest game of the year and I expect Drew to get the guys ready.

Andrew Miner: It nearly feels that this outcome is predetermined, and not in a good way right? It’s nearly impossible to win in Kansas: Baylor has only done it once; Coach Bill Self has more Big 12 titles then he has home losses; and just the other week Texas Tech used a 10-2 run to end regulation and were up 3 in overtime only to still lose in 2OT at the Phog. In the pre-season review I think we all lean Kansas and with the injuries that Baylor has had of late that has hampered them to put together a full 60-minutes of perfect defense and how we performed in the Alabama gym has me liking the Jayhawks in this one. The good news is that the Bears battle every step of the way and Kansas is not perfect; if BU can get and stay hot and play great defense they certainly have a chance. My guess is that Kansas salts this one away with free throws by the end. To me this doesn’t feel Iike the biggest game of the year. This is because a) Baylor has had some really big games and the top 6 showdown with Villanova and Dicke V probably clouds my judgement, b) recent injuries and losses by both teams and c) I think I am already forecasting the second Kansas-Baylor game in primetime in Waco to be bigger than this one.

Joe Goodman: The Phog is weird, I think we take them in Waco when we are full strength. Even if we have Flagler and Cryer back I’d expect rust. Close game, Kansas pulls away at the end, but a good fight and effort on our end.

BNT: If we’re at full strength I like our chances. Our inside game will give KU fits and we’ll be ready. I predict that

Let’s talk NIL on recruiting impact.

Everyone just accused A&M of everything that has happened at A&M since Jackie Sherrill was there in the 80’s. Only now, it’s legal. Even Kiffin and Saban are saying WTF. Now What?

Posted by IrvingParkBear

Joe Goodman: Now kids are getting money, which is awesome! There seems to be this fear around NIL with a lot of people, but really it’s only the power players that should be worried. If I’m Saban I’m absolutely scared I might lose out on a kid cause a booster at a school I’ve never completed with in recruiting is willing to outbid me. And my biggest thought, there’s still the same number of recruits, they will play somewhere, and they can’t all go to the 5 biggest paying schools, smaller schools will be fine and stay in the same recruiting ranks we’ve seen historically. NIL is new and different. It will evolve. Enjoy the ride and the laughs we will get when the Aggies get pissed they spent all that money to still not make their conference title game.

BNT: I agree with Joe that it will only impact the power players. There are only so many 5 stars out there, and it’s a small pool that’s competing for them. They way kids are being developed during their HS years, there’s plenty of of great players with high ceilings that will get passed over. This is pretty much our pool anyway. I did find it amusing that Jimbo didn’t want to admit they had to buy players. He’s definitely and Aggie lol.

Post any other questions or comments below.