Baylor Basketball: 5 Keys to the Bears Winning the Big 12

Ryan ReschContributor IIIJanuary 15, 2012

Baylor Basketball: 5 Keys to the Bears Winning the Big 12

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    By destroying Oklahoma State with a 41 point margin in Baylor’s latest basketball game the Bears are now 17-0 and number one in the Big 12 standings.

    On top of that, Baylor currently ranks at number four in the nation and remain one of only three undefeated teams left in the nation.

    It is clear that the Bears have their sights set on greatness.

    The only question left is just what will it take for Baylor to bring home a Big 12 championship?

Continue the Strong Bench Play

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    Baylor has one of the strongest and most balanced starting lineups in college basketball led by Player of the Year candidate Perry Jones III.

    That aside, Coach Drew has built one of the most talented benches in recent memory.

    Junior college star and off-the-bench player Pierre Jackson averages a whopping 11.9 points per game with 26.6 minutes on the court. In his last game he recorded eight steals and 18 points including five three-point baskets.

    In addition, with the sheer talent at the post position in Quincy Miller, Perry Jones III and Quincy Acy, Baylor can rest assured that they will always have talent both on and off the court at any given time. The same goes for the deep court threat with Brady Heslip and Pierre Jackson.

    In order for Baylor to continue its success it is essential that a quality rotation of players is always in effect for this very deep squad. 

Maximize Points in the Paint

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    As mentioned previously, Baylor has an extremely talented pool of paint players.

    Almost every player holds a consistent field goal success percentage with seven players placing in at 46% or better.

    That being said, multiple times some of Baylor’s reliable players have taken ill-advised shots, missed easy layups or simply run sloppy plays.

    If Baylor can rid itself of these mistakes then its chances of winning will increase greatly. It will also help Brady Heslip and Pierre Jackson get open on the arc and sink those frequent threes.

    When Baylor starts shooting at a fantastic rate in the paint not only will every Big 12 team start to worry even more, but every team in the nation will as well. 

Keep Rebounding the Ball

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    Ask any basketball coach what the keys to winning are and he will undoubtedly list offensive and defensive rebounds.

    During non-conference play the Bears struggled a bit as a team on this front and because of this bad early work Baylor places in at No. 52 with only 38.3 rebounds per game.

    Lately, however, Baylor has been on fire in this category.

    Perry Jones III himself has recorded 54 total rebounds in the last six games, essentially ensuring a double-double when coupled with his points.

    For a team like Baylor that still takes the occasional risky shot, offensive rebounds will continue to be key to ensuring that points are put up on the board.

    As for defense, Baylor needs to continue holding its opponent's field-goal percentage to below 40% and grabbing the ball off the rim, remembering that the opponent clearly cannot win when it does not have the ball. 

Sustain Current Success from the Arc

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    The Big 12 has not seen solid deep ball completions like Baylor in a very long time.

    Boston college transfer and resident Canadian Brady Heslip (nicknamed Downtown Canadian) currently sits at second in the Big 12 standings with a 48.2% three-point success and leads his conference in deep balls made.

    Junior college transfer Pierre Jackson is number three in the latter category with a 48% success rate.

    With quality play like this Baylor will be incredibly difficult to beat.

    Clearly, there is something going on down in Waco when it comes to putting up big points on the board. 

Continue to Win on the Road

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    Ask any player what the difference is between playing on his home court and playing in enemy territory and he will explain to you just how hard it is to sink a basket with 10,000 fans screaming for your failure.

    For Baylor, the road this year has not been the Achilles heel that it once was.

    The Bears walked into the infamous Marriot Center, home to the BYU Cougars, and left victorious.

    They then showed up to the Kansas State’s feared Octagon of Doom and proved why they are one of the best teams in the nation, leaving Manhattan with the win.

    With big challenges coming up against Kansas and Missouri on the road, the Bears are going to have to keep playing at a high level during away games in order to ensure a Big 12 championship.