As a few of you know, when Mark and I first discussed me joining the blog as a contributor it was to take over basketball related coverage not just posting GIFs and hype videos and the like. Although I think that area of the blog is fun, I am incredibly glad it's basketball season and you've probably seen me blowing up your Baylor Football consumption with basketball posts. I'm not all that sorry - so get over it. I grew up playing basketball and love the game - and definitely have more than a standard fan's knowledge, but am by no means an expert. I like to think that my posts this year will hopefully, more than anything, bring about good discussion topics for us as Bears' fans who just can't get enough Baylor athletics.
So if you ever disagree, let's talk about it. Anyway, on to the film study.
One of the more bold statements I said in the wrap-up to yesterday's game was that this poor outing (despite the win) was not entirely on Scott Drew. After a second run through of the game, I'm even more confident in that statement. There are a few things that suggest I was a little bit off in some of my instant-analysis, but I'm proud to say that for the most part I was right. Not tooting my own horn here because a few of the observations came directly from those of you in the game-thread/twitter/etc. So let's discuss a few things.
Off of a turnover:
Why are both Brady Heslip and Prince converging on the guy with the ball? Why are our other three players trying to set a record for slowest 40 time ever clocked? Our transition defense right now is just lazy coming off almost every scenario, such as:
Off of a made basket:
Again, slow to get back and find our man which leads not only to easy access to the rim, but an offensive rebound for South Carolina. But what about ...
Off of the free throw line:
Neither Royce O'Neale or Isaiah Austin seem to know who they are guarding because they are too busy being concerned with the ball.
Clearly, this is an issue. I pulled three clips, but there were numerous others. I'd be willing to wager that at least 20-25 points for South Carolina were a result of the Bears terrible transition in one way or another. Of all of the issues in this game, this one rests most solely with Scott Drew. These guys have a nose for the ball, and that's great in the half-court sets but in transition it's deadly.
Kansas Andrew Wiggins will shoot 100 free throws and score 150 points if this keeps up. Now, luckily - Drew knows it is a problem as he has addressed it in his post-game pressers. We'll probably see them figure this out later in the season, but for now it is incredibly frustrating.
Leaving your feet
In this case, we're looking at Taurean Prince, but this isn't just his problem. I saw us do this four or five times yesterday and it has to stop. Better shooting teams are going to drain open shots following the pump fake and smart teams are going to be shooting free throws after finding contact.
So I am honestly a huge fan of Scott Drew's inbounds plays. For some reason he gets his best spacing and looks coming from underneath the basket. This is an example of a play that just worked because A) Prince is aggressive and recognized an opportunity that came about because of B) spacing the court. The spacing here makes it practically impossible for South Carolina to defend because they simply do not have the athletes that we have and playing man-to-man against a team like ours is difficult when you can't get help.
Players not executing
Here we have a standard Scott Drew set, where we get an off-ball double screen to get an open look for our point guard. This play should have worked, they were concerned with Heslip's shot falling from everywhere at this point in the game and you'll notice that the guy guarding Kenny Chery gets somewhat caught up in the paint when he breaks to the near corner. The problem, is that Rico Gathers sets a screen much like the way your grandmother sets a screen. If he comes down hard to meet Royce, Chery is either draining an open three or driving baseline for an open reverse layup. After the play breaks down, Heslip dribbles us into a terrible offensive possession that could have been great. A lot of people are critical of Drew because they think he lacks some X's and O's ability - when in reality, he's not THAT bad. We just don't always have guys executing at once.
South Carolina threw a little zone at us, but plays like this kept forcing them back into man. Chery knew where he was throwing the ball before he even had it and Taurean Prince is one of our most efficient scores from 15 ft and in. Two points for your Baylor Bears.
When Ish Plays the Point
So this is something I was half-right half-wrong about from the post game discussion. While we did turn the ball over at a high rate when Ishmail Wainright, who has admittedly been off to a slow start, played the point, we also have a fascinating set of advantages that I missed at first glance. The most notable advantage? His size. There are not many (if any) point guards in college basketball right now who can match up with him in the paint so Scott Drew beautifully takes advantage of that with this set. This is important for those of you buying the myth that Drew just can't coach in game - no, he is not the best - but even with world class talent, you cannot get to two Elite Eights in three years without at least a little bit of help from your coach. I'm saying this as much to myself as I am to everyone else.
When a play breaks down, Chery is the best bet
Chery is establishing himself already as a guy we can count on to make a big play when we need it. We were struggling against this South Carolina team and while Heslip was making big shots, Chery was keeping us in the game as well. I love this runner because he broke down a guy one-on-one and kept the Gamecocks from making a run. This is the kind of stuff Pierre Jackson used to do.
Isaiah is incomplete
Look, I know he is coming off of shoulder surgery and that his skillset isn't exactly ground and pound. However, there is no excuse for not attacking the rim in this situation. I know the GIF isn't the greatest quality, but if you look closely he looks at the two guys like "Oh, crap." right before he goes up. This is where Cory Jefferson just straight up dunks without caring about what others are doing around him. Austin actually had a decent game offensively but the problem is that he only seems to realize what he can do in stretches.
The end of the game and conclusion
Man if there was ever a more appropriate ending to a game, I wouldn't believe you. After watching us again, a few things are clear about why we struggled.
1) We are not used to the new rules and it makes us timid at times and then we overcompensate the next time resulting in a foul.
2) Free throw shooting was the only reason it was close. We shot 53% and took 43 free throws. Just make 70% and we're looking at a 10 point win, albeit one that would remain ugly.
3) Team chemistry exists, court chemistry doesn't. These guys seem to like each other and I don't see personalities clashing or anything like that but tf I had to pick one play that was indicative of why it was so frustrating to watch it would be the clip above of Austin/O'Neale leaving the guy open underneath the basket. We just were always waiting for someone else to make a play and that is not on Scott Drew, that's on these guys playing for us.
The good news is that for as brutal as it was, most everything is correctable and ugly wins in November are wins in March. The bad news is that Kansas is amazingly good.
Sic 'Em Bears!