We have been hard at work over here at CRFF the past two weeks covering basketball. We have been lucky enough to do question and answer sessions with each opponent's SB Nation site and that isn't changing today. Despite the quick turnaround we were able to catch Our Daily Bears for a quick second as they helped burn the tarp.
This game is going to be an interesting one between two teams that many would say have overachieved. PocketChange of ODB thought the same and was nice enough to answer a couple of our questions as we try to get to know our foe.
Let's get started!
CRFF: If there is three seconds on the clock, your team is down one and you need a basket, which coach do you want to draw up your play, Ford or Drew?
I’m probably not familiar enough with Travis Ford’s ATO abilities to make an informed decision. Knowing what I know about Scott Drew’s ability to draw up a play after a time out, though, it would be difficult to imagine that Ford could be appreciably better. Baylor scores the ball so effectively when Drew runs a baseline out of bounds play. This past Saturday against West Virginia, they even scored from the opposite baseline when the misdirection caused the ‘Eers to lost Medford totally. During the end of the Kansas game, too, Drew had the play that got Motley (I believe) open for the lob that would have given Baylor a 1 point lead with 9 seconds left, but Chery just didn’t pull the trigger. I have enormous confidence in Drew in those kinds of situations, though. Got to go with him.
CRFF: Is there anyone the Pokes have that can slow down Rico Gathers?
It’s tempting to say Michael Cobbins. He’s about the same height as Gathers, but even at 230 he’s giving up 50 lbs. Mitchell Solomon is a bit taller and a few pounds heavier than Cobbins, but not significantly so. In the last matchup Gathers put up 11 and 11, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he improved on that in Waco tonight. Oklahoma State is a very good defensive rebounding team, and if they can force Baylor into taking long jumpers, leading to longer rebounds, that will limit the touches Gathers can get from offensive rebounds.
Anthony Allen does have the height necessary to bother Gathers’ shot, but he doesn’t get many minutes, so unless Ford makes the tactical change to insert height to attempt to negate Gathers’ strength, I’m not too worried about Gathers ability to have an impact on the glass.
CRFF: What do you think the Bears will do to try and slow down the speed and quickness of OSU's guards?
I’m most worried about Oklahoma State’s quickness when Baylor turns the ball over. The Bears haven’t been the best in transition defense this season, and the Cowboys are effective at turning teams over even without fully committing to the press in the way that West Virginia does. I’m less worried about the Cowboys’ quickness in the half court, as the zone Drew has implemented is pretty effective at nullifying most pick and roll penetration thanks to the athletic, long wings that are pushed further up towards the key. I do worry that, on the occasions that the OSU guards get a enough penetration to lift the wings and free up the baseline, they will be able to find Le’Bryan Nash will be lurking in the open space with a chance to score over Gathers. Bless Rico’s heart, but he’s just not a good rim protector.
Easy. Keaton Pa — I mean, Phil Forte. I swear they’re the same person. Forte’s range from deep is absurd. I’m rarely comfortable when he has the ball in his hands. Not to mention he’s annoyingly tough and scrappy. If things start to go OSU’s way, I expect Forte to be at the crux of it.
OSU will certainly be coming down of a huge emotional high, but I’d be surprised if Forte let his teammates rest on their laurels. Baylor has been so good at home, though. In their last three home games, Baylor has won by 20 (TCU), 23 (UT), and 11(OU). Kansas is the only home loss this season, and they squeaked out by the smallest of 1 point margins. The Bears have been lighting it up from deep, and Gathers has begun to morph into a game-dominating presence. Defense travels, though, and OSU has a very good defense. I expect this to be close for a while, but Baylor should create some separation down the stretch. OSU 61 — Baylor 68.
George’s seems like the obvious choice, even if the recruit can’t indulge in a Big O just yet. The menu is versatile, so I wouldn’t worry too much about finding something the recruit likes. Plus, they have perhaps the best chicken fried steak out there. Just a half order of it is as big as your face. No way the recruit leaves George’s hungry. Alternatively, if I’m positive that he likes BBQ, I might go with Vitek’s. The Gutpak is a signature dish, and nothing says "Welcome to Waco" quite like a styrofoam box of brisket, sausage, beans, and Fritos.