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Baylor Basketball

Coach Drew talks Sweet Sixteen and facing Frank Martin again

March 22, 2017
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On the South Carolina program:
A lot of respect for them and the job they did at Kansas State, the job they’ve done at South Carolina, but also the people there. They are good people.

On South Carolina’s strength:
By far and away defensively. The fourth best defense in the country. I think they’re fourth in forcing turnovers. They lead the SEC in every defensive category basically. It’s a very good defense that makes it very tough to score. When you have a good defense it leads to easy offense because that puts them in transition. They’re very athletic. That’s how they were able to score 60-something points against Duke in the second half. You have to be able to take care of the basketball which has been something that’s been a challenge for us at times. The second thing is if you take care of the basketball then they do a great job rebounding. We do a great job rebounding. So you have two elite teams on the glass.

How facing West Virginia twice will help prepare for South Carolina:
It helps from the standpoint that they’re very physical and aggressive defensively meaning you’ve got to play through contact. They have a very high fouling rate, so that means you have to be ball strong with the ball for when they’re not called. At the same time, I think West Virginia is a little different from the standpoint that they get more turnovers in the full court. South Carolina does more in the half court. Similarities, but not identical.

Pressure on defense or offense:
Defense all year long has been critical for us because when we’re good defensively we’re good offensively because that puts us in transition. And again, no defense is good when it’s one on [zero], two on [zero], or three on two breaks. That’s the goal for both of us is to get stops. They just get more of their stops with turnovers where we get more of our stops with rebounds.

USC’s size being a problem for Baylor:
It definitely makes it tougher in the half court when they try to deny every pass and make it very difficult to to run any offense. And now you’re playing one-on-one basketball. When you get in the paint and you’ve got a bunch of 6-5, 6-6 guys with length either guarding you or coming over to help and then two bigs that come over to help, it just makes it more difficult. Thornwell, SEC Player of the Year, but defensively 44 steals in conference.  Does such a great job anticipating. He’s like a safety back there.

Experience from the Sweet 16 translating to 2017:
Every experience you can learn from and have wisdom and knowledge from. At the same time, it doesn’t guarantee you anything. That’s the beauty of  March. I mean, we’re playing South Carolina and they beat Duke. Coach K has won what? Five National Championships? And they’ve lost several games early. That’s the tournament.

Looking back at their games against Frank Martin teams:
Oh, definitely, we look at all of that. Just having played him and knowing what in our offense, what in our defense works, where they try to exploit us. Every coach can adjust what they do based on their talent level and personnel.

The play of the bench:
Our bench is why we’re good. It’s the leadership-chemistry that allows the depth to take over because some games guys play more, some games they play less. Some games they get the opportunity to meet with you afterwards and everyone is praising them. Other games, no one is talking to them. They’ve got to support each other.

On the play of Terry Maston:
Everyday our guys practice with one another. We know what they’re capable of. TJ has had big games and we know when he gets going he’s tough to stop. What I’ve been really proud of is he’s done a great job rebounding, his defense has been really good, he’s been a good teammate.

Answering the critics about playing double-digit seeds:
The first thing I say is that since the field expanded to 68, 12 vs. 5 going into this year was even. So you can throw seeding and numbers out the window. Second thing is, anytime you win in March it’s a great win and every coach that plays in March will tell you that. We’ve been blessed to advance. We’ve played some great teams that had some great players.

What was learned about the team in Tulsa:
That we’re getting healthy and that we haven’t gotten selfish. Why we’ve been successful all year is when we’ve been all in. We’ve listened to the upperclassmen. They’ve had good chemistry and supported one another. Sometimes, you hear that phrase “pressure burst pipes.” Sometimes the bigger the moment, the more that that can leave you. But the great teams stay true to who you are and how they got there. That’s what we’ve done all year and that’s why we’ve been able to have so many comeback wins.
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Coach Drew talks Sweet Sixteen and facing Frank Martin again

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