Baylor Bear Dominance

Credit ; Sean Pokorny-USA Today Sports

Credit ; Sean Pokorny-USA Today Sports

By Geoff Heppes,

The Baylor Bear men’s basketball team has started off the season better than imagined notching wins over (at the time) fourth ranked Oregon in Waco, 24th ranked Michigan State and 10th ranked Louisville in the Bahamas en route to winning the Battle for Atlantis tournament and today notched a 76-61 win in Waco over a strong seventh ranked Xavier team. How are they doing when they didn’t even receive a single vote of consideration for being ranked, and thought of as an afterthought in the Big XII?

One reason for this tremendous start is simply their confidence. Led by star forward Johnathon Motley and his new sharpshooting teammate Manu Lecomte, Baylor is playing very loose and with great confidence. The Bears continue to attack the basket in the paint relentlessly with strong takes.

Particularly, Motley has developed a great deal as a complete player. Motley can confidently operate in the post, knows when to pass and knows when he needs to take a game over with his scoring; he’s honestly looking like a late lottery pick at worst.

Today I actually had the privilege of getting to watch Baylor play against Xavier today, and boy did they look sharp. The Bears were very active and solid in executing their zone defense while switching on time to defenders and contested practically every single shot the Musketeers took.

Baylor’s dominance is not only because of their confident playing, but also their solid execution on both offense and defense. Particularly against Xavier, like I said before, the Bears were very sharp on both ends of the floor. Baylor runs a 2-3 zone defense, which is a strong defense if executed properly.

Why does this interior heavy, but perimeter friendly defense work for Baylor? Answer: their execution and personnel. The Bears have tremendous length on their front line with every player being at least 6’9” or taller, which aids their defense in the paint. In addition to their strong interior, while not towering players, their guards such as Lecomte, Al Freeman, Jake Lindsey and King McClure are very quick and also good at reading their opposing guards’ passing lanes and creating turnovers.

Finally, the Bears are resilient. In most of their games this year, Baylor has trailed going into halftime, even by as much as 20 points in the case against Louisville, and they have proceeded to turn it around in a big way in the second half in each of their games; this is part of the reason why Baylor is shocking everyone at number nine in the country and with a 7-0 record.

Despite their great start, there could be challenges for the Bears. Despite having tremendous depth and an already very impressive resume despite a difficult schedule is that the season is long, and they play in the Big XII. Unfortunately, Baylor has to play the currently fourth ranked conference rival, Kansas Jayhawks at least twice this season and possibly more if they meet in the Big XII or March Madness tournaments.

Along with Kansas, Baylor will face other formidable opponents such as Iowa State, Oklahoma State among others. The Bears are for real, and they could go far come March based off of what we have seen from them during their amazing start to the season. We will just have to wait and see how they do once they are more under the spotlight and continue to play “the big boys.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *