Recap & Recovery: 5 Things We Learned in Baylor's Win over South Dakota State
The Baylor Bears came into this season with exceptional expectations. Thus far, they've failed to live up to them, but there is still time.
Baylor was viewed as a popular pick to get upset early, but they haven't lost to a single team outside of the RPI top 50 all season.
Tonight they started their NCAA Tournament journey against South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits are outside of the top 50.
1. Perry Jones Is Satisfied in the Background
Perry Jones is one of the most talented players in college basketball, probably right there with Anthony Davis of Kentucky. The thing is, it doesn't seem like that talent is applied in games.
It took 29 minutes for Jones to put a single point on the board in what was a pretty competitive game for the most part. He seemed perfectly happy to catch the ball on the block, stand completely still for a few seconds, then give the ball up.
He was 1-of-6 from the field and missed all three free-throws on his way to two points.
Jones did grab 11 rebounds, but he just doesn't leave his footprints on the game.
2. Pierre Jackson Is the Man for Baylor
All the things said about Perry Jones in the first slide, the opposite goes for Pierre Jackson.
He isn't perfect, but he has guts and heart and he wants the ball in his hands. Jackson scored 18 points, shooting 6-of-11 from the field and hitting 2-of-6 threes.
It is clear that Jackson is Baylor's biggest offensive weapon along with Brady Heslip. He was also disruptive on defense with two steals.
3. Nate Wolters Is Really Good
This is a recap of Baylor's victory, but Nate Wolters was very impressive in defeat and deserved to be mentioned.
He battled it out against bigger and more athletic opposition than he has seen all year and he continued doing what he has done all year.
He finished the game with 19 points, four assists and four rebounds with three steals. He made seven of his 13 field-goal attempts.
Wolters showed great court awareness, opportunistic and a crafty offensive game. He is for real.
4. Size Does Matter Sometimes
More than the three-point shooting of Jackson and Heslip, it was Baylor's overall size and length that did South Dakota State in.
South Dakota State came into the game as the fourth-best team in college basketball at protecting the ball and in the top 40 in defensive rebounding. Baylor changed all of that.
The Jackrabbits turned the ball over 13 times and allowed 12 offensive rebounds. It just could not compete with the larger athletes of Baylor.
The Bears scored 21 points off turnovers, outscored South Dakota State 13-2 on second-chance points and won the rebounding battle, 31-17. Baylor was just too big to compete with.
5. Baylor Is Not a Final Four Threat
The size, athleticism and bright jerseys make Baylor stand out. The actual play on the court doesn't.
Give all the credit in the world to South Dakota State, but Baylor shouldn't have been in a competitive game tonight.
Against a vastly inferior group of athletes, Baylor was able to do just enough to get by. Against teams that can match their ability, it just won't be good enough.
Baylor allowed South Dakota State to creep right back in the game every time a significant lead was opened up. A better team with more athletic players will take advantage of Baylor's lack of a killer instinct.
Baylor may look great getting off the bus, but they don't look as good when it's time to play.