Currently, the Baylor Bears are ranked third in the nation in defensive efficiency in KenPom at 85.2. It has helped them reach a 24-2 mark, a tie for first place in the Big 12, and a legit shot at a national championship.
Scott Drew has turned Baylor from a nothing program mired in scandal when he took it over in 2003 to two Elite Eights and four Sweet 16s since, and it seems that his current team is his best one yet.
What makes this Baylor team so special is its defense. That’s not to say this isn’t a good offensive team, but its defensive efforts are elite, and the Final Four is attainable because of how it plays on that side of the ball. What are the Bears doing that’s helping them be so dominant?
Jordan Sperber, a former assistant at Nevada and New Mexico State and owner of Hoop Vision LLC, posted a video on his YouTube channel explaining the Baylor defensive scheme and why it’s been so successful this year.
Sperber explains how Baylor’s defense is derived from Texas Tech’s, but he’s sure to point out where Baylor differs from its intra-conference competitor. He goes deep into how the Bears switch everything, how they defend ball screens, and the games of their top individual defenders: Davion Mitchell, Mark Vital and Freddie Gillespie.
The Big 12 has become a defense-first league with some of the best teams in the country on that side of the ball. At the moment, the top three defensive teams in the nation in KenPom are all in the conference – Kansas, West Virginia and Baylor, in that order – with Texas Tech sitting at seven. Unsurprisingly, these teams should all dance this March, and they can all be considered dangers for the Sweet 16 or more.
Like they say, defense wins championships.