Monday, September 10, 2007


I know other sites are doing this, but I decided to breakdown the top 50 college basketball teams for this coming season. Today:


(note: Baylor was rated #51, but snuck in when I had to drop UAB way down for their issues with the law.

Last Season: 15-16 (4-12 in conference), No Postseason
Key Losses: Tim Bush (6.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
Key Adds: G LaceDarius Dunn (#24 overall), F Delbert Simpson

Why would I rank a team that was under .500 last year and only one four conference games in the top 50? It's not because I'm drunk, although that's a solid guess. You have to look no further than the Baylor backcourt to see what makes them dangerous.

Team leader Aaron Bruce has seen his scoring drop from 18.2 ppg as a freshman to 11.3 ppg as a junior last season, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Bruce came on when the team was in an absolute shambles following a scandal resulting in a coach's resignation, the death of a player at the hands of a former teammate, and the cancellation of all non-conference games for the team for a season. Bruce lead the Bears out of those dark times to more promising times, and withdrew from the NBA draft this off-season with hopes of an NCAA berth (he likely wouldn't have been drafted anyway.)

The emergence of guard Curtis Jerrells (15.0 ppg) the past two seasons has let Bruce settle back into the role of director, running the show, while Jerrells along with fellow guards Henry Dugat (11.7 ppg) and Tweety Carter (8.7) have eased much of the scoring burden off of Bruce.

Add to this mix freshman shooting guard LaceDarius Dunn, ranked the #6 overall shooting guard in this class by, and you can see Baylor has a loaded backcourt. Dunn, at 6-4, is the tallest of the group, and will have to spend time at SF in order to maximize minutes amongst the talented guards.

As you would imagine, on a team with those kind of guards and low expectations, the frontcourt is a source of trouble for the Bears. It starts and ends with 6-9 Junior Kevin Rogers, who broke through last season to become a force, averaging 12.8 points and 7.6 rebounds, and is an absolutely electric athlete down low.

After that, it gets ugly. Baylor brings a couple of seven-footers in junior Mamadou Diene and sophomore Josh Lomers, but about all they bring is size. Diene has battled injuries as well as a complete inability to score, rebound, or play defense for a seven-footer. Lomers tallied more personal fouls than rebounds last season, and had a 12-1 turnover-to-assist ratio (I know he's a center, but COME ON. FYI - Minnesota's Jonathan Williams, not exactly king of the handles, had more assists than TOs). With any luck, 6-8 JC Transfer Delbert Simpson will be able to come in and help out immediately.

I like the Bears, really I do. And their guards give them the ability to knock off just about anybody at any time. I just don't think they have enough to grab that elusive ticket the dance. Baylor looks like an NIT team all the way, as their weakness inside will kill them. They do have an awesome logo though. Look at that thing.


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