Even in a profession with low moral expectations Baylor head coach Scott Drew manages to stand out. His program is constantly under at least one investigation, he’s tightest with the AAU coaches who give summer ball a bad name, he’s universally hated by every coach who recruits against him for the crap he pulls on the trail, his players have zero fear of discipline, and he does all of this under a holier-than-thou Born Again persona.
On the court, Drew managed to shake off his Big 12 reputation as the coach who can do less with more by making a run to the Elite 8 last year, and despite losing the #6 pick in the draft, this year’s team might be more talented. Unfortunately for Baylor fans this team is roughly in the same position as Florida State – they don’t have a bad loss on their resume, but they don’t have a marquee out-of-conference win either, and this is their last chance to get one. Despite this being a 3rd place game in a Holiday tournament, both teams realize that this game means more than any single conference game they’re going to play.
The Bears run a high octane offense that FSU fans dream of. They shoot in transition, pound the paint, and are relentless on the offensive boards. They are led by LaceDarious Dunn who averages 21.6 PPG to go along with 4 rebounds and 2.4 assists. He also might be the best shooter in college basketball, and is currently connecting on over 43% of his threes. Unfortunately for Dunn he’s the exact player as a senior that he was as a freshman. He hasn’t developed at all. Plus he’s already 23 years old. Had he come out after his sophomore year he would have been a lock 1st rounder, but now (or at least until October) he projects as a 2nd rounder at best. You might recall that in October he was arrested for punching his girlfriend and breaking her jaw in two places while their child reportedly was watching. After a bizarre few weeks she was whisked off to parts unknown and Dunn was suspended for 3 games for "violation of team rules."
The rest of Baylor’s 1-2-3 punch are 6’7" junior Quincy Acy, and next year’s #1 pick in the NBA draft in 6’11" Perry Jones. Acy’s game is simple – he dunks the ball or gets fouled trying. Jones’s game is more sophisticated, though his reputation as a player who can disappear or get bored has followed him into college. Baylor’s Achilles heel is their lack of discipline. They turn the ball over 23% of their possessions (264th in the country). If they can get better at valuing possessions, they’re a legit final-4 team. And credit coach Drew for getting these kids to buy into a defensive system that is very difficult to score against.
Pomeroy gives the Bears a 5 pt edge (70% win). The game tips at 7:30 EST on Christmas Day and can be seen on ESPN2.