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January 12, 2013Scott Drew is back.
He returns Saturday after serving a two-game suspension with the Bears sitting pretty in the Big 12 with a 2-0 record. They should win at at home against a TCU team that is 0-2 in conference and is more likely to battle for a bottom spot in the Big 12 than the conference title.
Drew was able to watch the team from afar, take a step back and analyze his basketball team and the Big 12. He saw a Baylor team that is getting better -- we'd all agree on that.
But he was most appreciative of the other part of the team he's built -- his coaching staff. Assistant Jerome Tang, Paul Mills and Grant McCasland guided the Bears to an overtime win at home against Texas and a road win at Texas Tech.
"I know how good our staff is," Drew said, "But it was an opportunity for everyone to see just how good Coach Tang, Coach Mills and Coach McCasland are with everyone working together.
"That first game was a little tougher than the second one, I can tell you that. I know I trust the players and coaches. The only bad thing was that I made the mistake of getting on the treadmill during the second half of the Texas game and it went into overtime so I couldn't walk the next day. I was a little sore."
Yes, the win at Tech came easily -- Baylor played a magnificent floor game -- and Pierre Jackson and Cory Jefferson dominated on the perimeter and in the paint. But don't take any road win for granted, Drew said. They don't always come easily.
"Any road win in conference is a good one but to be that dominant there were a lot of positives," he said. "Hopefully that momentum and confidence will continue to carry over. Every game in the Big 12 is a different challenge."
Drew not only watched his own team closely, but also had the chance to watch other Big 12 games. He was not allowed at the facility for practice, anything during the suspension.
"I definitely think you analyze things a little different than when you're in the midst of something," he said. "I was able to share some of those ideas with the staff.
"In the last five years, the Big 12 has had the most NBA players and lottery picks," Drew said. "Because we've lost so many people you're more inexperienced. If we went back and did the non-conference schedule now for our league, we'd be one of the top conferences in the country. Unfortunately, we all had to go through some growing pains to get where we are right now. We're a much better league than maybe our RPI ranking would show right now. If you're a fan you're going to love conference right now because there are a lot of great games and a lot of nail biters."
Emptying the notebook
-- Drew on TCU: "TCU is one of the better defensive teams in the country. They're similar to College of Charleston and Northwestern in that they milk the clock and really work the ball. Hopefully those games will help us prepare for a game like that. Garlon Green has really been on a roll. One of those guys we have to make it hard for. He can make tough shots even when you're guarding him."
-- On Baylor's team rebounding. Baylor has a plus-2.6 rebounding margin this season: "It's taken a little time for our new players to adjust to the physicality and getting rebounding position. Our guards have taken some time to adjust because last year they were used to Quincy Acy, Perry Jones and Quincy Miller getting rebounds and out-letting for fast breaks. Now, we have to all gang rebound. We're doing a better job of everybody helping out."
-- The Bears and Horned Frogs haven't met since Dec. 7, 2002, a 72-64 TCU win in Waco.