Ryan Spangler, Isaiah Austin

No. 25 Oklahoma overcome sluggish start to win at No. 12 Baylor

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Buddy Hield finished with 19 points and Jordan Woodard added 10 points and eight assists as No. 25 Oklahoma went into Waco and knocked off No. 12 Baylor, 66-64.

The Sooners shook off a dreadful first half in which they shot 23% from the floor and just 1-for-13 from three, hitting three consecutive threes to cap a 16-0 run to start the second half. The Bears were never able to recover from that deficit.

The issue for Baylor this season is on the defensive end of the floor. They are a talented, well-balanced team on the offensive end of the floor. Kenny Chery has more than adequately filled in for Pierre Jackson at the point guard spot while Brady Heslip and Taurean Prince have turned into very nice complimentary scorers alongside the front line of Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson.

But the issue is that their zone simply is not stopping people. I wrote about it extensively here, so I won’t rehash the whole argument. But the bottom line is that while the box score may make it look like Baylor was better defensively, the fact of the matter is that in the first half, Oklahoma simply missed shots they want to take.

The Sooners are very-much a perimeter-oriented team, and when they go up against a zone, they are going to shoot a lot of three-pointers. That’s just how they play. In the first half, they got good looks from beyond the arc, they just didn’t go down. In the second half, they did. Oklahoma hit 6-for-13 from three in the second half, and that’s what ended up winning them the game.

For Oklahoma, this is a huge road win. They move to 3-2 in the Big 12, which will keep them within striking distance of the teams at the top of the conference. They’re very difficult to matchup with given the versatility of guys like Buddy Hield and Cameron Clark, but they aren’t much better on the defensive end of the floor than Baylor.

Baylor, on the other hand, is now just 1-3 in Big 12 play. They’ve lost two in a row — the other being a drubbing at Texas Tech — and, at this point, don’t look like a team that can make any noise in March.

Sun Belt approves new scheduling format

Sun Belt Conference
Sun Belt Conference
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With an 11-member setup the Sun Belt Conference has played a 20-game conference schedule the last couple of years, which may be seen as a positive when it comes to determining the regular season champion (home-and-home between every team). But for a conference that spans from North Carolina (Appalachian State) to Texas (UT-Arlington, Texas State) travel was far from easy in that setup.

And with Coastal Carolina joining next season, it was clear that the league needed to do something with its scheduling.

Thursday the Sun Belt members approved an 18-game conference schedule, which will begin with the 2016-17 season when the league consists of 12 members. Included in the agreement is the assignment of travel partners (similar to setups in the Pac-12 and Ivy League), and teams playing no more than three consecutive conference games on the road.

Schools will also be guaranteed at least five weekend home games during conference play, and there will be no more weekends in which teams play conference games both home and away (thus cutting down on travel). Obviously with the addition of Coastal Carolina the Sun Belt needed to make some changes in their scheduling, and this week the conference made the moves they needed to make.

Former Wichita State assistant returns as a consultant

Chris Jans, Gregg Marshall
Associated Press
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Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.

Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.

“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”

While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.

h/t ShockerHoops.net