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ODB Mailbag - Basketball Top 10 Edition: Answered

Baylor Men’s basketball, Baylor Women’s Basketball questions answered.

If my information is correct, no Division 1 school men’s basketball team has a better win/loss record over the past five years than Baylor. Leading to this question: True or False: 20 years from now, Scott Drew will be considered a more successful basketball coach than Bill Self.

pocketchange: If Drew can continue winning at this level for the rest of his career and snag another couple of National Titles, then there could be an argument. But if you look at Self’s record (14 straight conference title shares, 2 National Titles), that’s pretty tough to beat.

Joe Goodman: Drew is an amazing coach and will be in HOF when all is said and done, but no, Self’s trophy cabinet is pretty much second to none for anyone in this era not named Krzyzewski. And that’s OK! I don’t think Drew would trade his career for anyone’s, and sans a Big 12 tourney win, he’s basically accomplished everything he possibly can.

BNT: As usual, I’m going to be a contrarian. No coach in the history of the game has resurrected a program off of its death bed and led it to the heights like Scott Drew. Aside from John Wooden winning 10 natty’s in 12 seasons, I don’t think CSD has an equal. To be clear, Drew went from winning a conference championship at Valpo to the abyss of hell...a rebuild project in the truest sense. Bill Self would have never taken a step down like that and if he had he would not have come close to the success that Drew has imo.


Already in the Texas HOF, coming will be the National HOF

This has historically been an easy question to answer but not as easy this year...who is the best player on the men’s and women’s team? Second question would be which player is the most valuable to the team? Is it the same player or someone different? Is the Achilles heal for both teams turnovers?

pocketchange: On the men’s side, Ja’Kobe Walter is the highest ceiling player, as we’ve seen already from his performances against Auburn and Florida. Most valuable? With how this team shares the ball, that’s hard to say. RayJ Dennis is the team leader in minutes so far, an implication that Drew considers his presence on the court to be important. With the uneven play from Miro Little (a freshman who missed a lot of summer practice due to international play), getting reliable play from Dennis is probably the most essential piece to keeping this thing humming.The Achilles heel for the men is probably pick and roll defense, at the moment. Teams have had a lot of success at getting into the paint so far, something that rarely happened in 2021 or 2022. Whether they simply need more practice to get down how to stop that penetration against the high pick and roll or if they need to change tactics and switch that more, we’ll see how the coaches address that need.

BNT: Since PC did MBB, I’ll do the WBB. I gotta say, I like the direction that HCNC has this team heading. They have depth, athleticism, play tough D and can score inside and out. This should take them deep into the tourney. My biggest concern is lack of height. A good big can feast against us inside as we saw Pili do when the Utes came to town. I think the best player on the WBB team is Dre’una Edwards. She’s averaging almost 13 pts and 7 rebounds a game, while playing tenacious defense. The MVP is Sarah Andrews. Sarah is second in scoring, leads the team in assist, and our best 3 pt shooter at 40%.

Why are your seats in the new coliseum better than mine?

BNT: Haters gonna hate.

Baylor MBB has looked phenomonal and all the part as a team that can make a deep run in Match, especially with our elite offense. I believe the key to Baylor making a deep post season will be our ability to have our defense play consistently at a high level through conference and especially March. What is the key to the bears making this jump defensively, and do you think they will make this jump?

pocketchange: I mentioned this in the last answer, but the defense against the middle pick and roll play is going to be so key, especially when the level of opponent jumps in Big 12 play. Right now, Baylor wants to drop the big to keep Yves Missi and Josh Ojianwuna in the paint, but they’ve both struggled at times to stay in front of the ball handler and stay connected to the rolling big. In recent years, Baylor has switched on that play to stop penetration. They’re trying something different this year, and the bigs need to continue learning how to play in that middle space for the defense to go up a level.

BNT: While I agree with PC, I think our bigs will get there. Missi has only been playing organized ball for 2.5 years. Yep, you read that right. This guy is growing up in front of us and he’s a natural rim protecter. I think he’ll be just fine in conference as his ability to learn and apply is off the charts. He and Josh going against one another every day in practice has definitely elevated Josh’s game. Our D will continue to improve. I had forgotten what it looked like to have a big(s) play above the rim the last few years.

I realize we have lots of new faces playing to gather for the first time. Even so, we look GOOD. What is MBB’s ceiling? Can this squad go all the way?

pocketchange: Baylor has a couple of things going for it as a team that projects well for a deep March run: 1) The offense is already humming, despite integrating so many players new to the system; 2) they’re starting two freshman who, it’s reasonable to expect, will continue to improve as the season goes on, particularly on the defensive end. Missi’s defensive growth will be at the heart of Baylor’s ceiling. If he can turn explosive plays into consistency as a defensive anchor, Baylor’s ceiling is a second National Title in four years for Scott Drew.

Joe Goodman: Ceiling is absolutely a Natty. The defense needs to improve to get there, but it doesn’t have to be the 21 defense. This offense is elite, like really really elite, insanely elite, oh my God it’s good elite. If the defense could just be top 25 to 30, they can go down as truly great.

BNT: Not only can we go all the way, I’m calling it right now

Post other questions and comments below. Sic ‘em!