Scott Drew

No. 6 Baylor’s roller coaster season comes to an end in the Sweet 16


This is what we call regressing to the mean.

On Sunday, four days ago, No. 6 Baylor absolutely eviscerated No. 3 Creighton. They shot 63.8% from the floor. They hit 11 of their 18 threes. They scored 85 points. All that is before you consider that they completely shut down what had been the nation’s most dominant offensive attack.

On Thursday, in their loss to No. 2 Wisconsin, the Bears did none of that, losing 69-52 in a game that was never really competitive. Their shooting number? 31.0% from the field and just 2-for-15 from three.

It was good while it lasted, I guess.

The issue wasn’t just on the offensive end of the floor, however.

The biggest reason that Baylor was able to beat the breaks off of the Bluejays was that their zone rendered Creighton’s offense ineffective. They spread out on the shooters and dared the Jays to try to beat them in the paint. Creighton didn’t have an answer, but Wisconsin did, in the form of Frank Kaminsky. He finished with 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting, eventually forcing the Bears out of their zone and into a man-to-man.

It’s hard to judge Baylor off of these two games, and it’s not fair to judge Scott Drew on them, either.

Drew devised a heckuva game plan on Sunday, one that sprung them past the consensus National Player of the Year and into the second weekend of the tournament and was aided by the fact that Baylor absolutely shot the lights out. On Thursday, they couldn’t buy a bucket. It’s basketball. These things happen.

So instead of pinning a loss in the Sweet 16 on Drew, how about we credit him for turning the Baylor season around. Remember, this team was dead in the water two months ago. They lost eight of their first ten games in Big 12 play and entered February on the wrong side of the bubble. Yet here they are in late March, one of the last 16 teams left in the Big Dance as a No. 6 seed.

All things considered, the Bears had a really good year.

And so did Scott Drew.

He’s not the second coming of John Wooden, but he did a pretty good job with this group. Hopefully people will recognize that.

Knee injury temporarily sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
Leave a comment

With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.

Duke figuring out approach for this season

Duke University head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski speaks with the media about the Blue Devils' 2013-14 basketball season, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Durham, N.C. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Duke is coming off of a national championship but the roster will look almost completely different for the 2015-16 season. That means last season’s approach to things on the offensive and defensive end will have to change and head coach Mike Krzyzewski mentioned to reporters on Friday how the Blue Devils are still figuring some things out.

“We’re putting in a different offensive system, to personalize it for these guys,” Krzyzewski said to reporters. “And a different defensive system so that we can max out on the talents that they have.

“We’re really proud of our team. I think we’re going to be a really good team.”

Without Jahlil Okafor in the middle, Duke’s offense could shift to a mostly perimeter-oriented team, as the wing and guard depth is superior for this year’s group.  Coach K and his staff making adjustments to schemes to fit personnel is a nice move from the Hall of Famer, as he’s done a better job in recent years of making adjustments like this after his stint with USA Basketball.

As the program moves on from Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Quinn Cook, it’ll be intriguing to see who emerges as a potential go-to offensive player early in the season and how Duke’s offense potentially evolves as the season wears on.