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Mike Handzelek's Gonzaga-Baylor X's & O's Post-Game Analysis

By: Point Shaver Handzelek
Date: Apr 10, 2021
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It's nice to grab that last win in a phenomenal CBB handicapping season. I didn't expect it would be this easy. So why was the Bears (we bought to play them @ +9) such an easy cover & outright underdog win? It can be summed up in 2 words: Scott Drew. Baylor's HC used that same energy I use to compete in handicapping. For him it came down to a lack of respect. He was fed up with 2 decades (2003 to date) of the Texas masses who said he cannot coach after tournament losses to Georgia State & Yale (2015 & 2016). He proved it here after taking HC Mark Few & his Gonzaga Bulldogs to school. After this one, Few became 0-2 SU in title games after also losing to North Carolina in 2017. On the other side for prep & in execution, I give HC Scott Drew an A+++! He KNEW Gonzaga Forward Drew Timme couldn't guard any of his 3 speedy guards (Davion Mitchell, Jared Butler & MaCio Teague) so he exploited those matchups by creating offensive continuities which isolated one-on-one situations by stretching it out & then attacking from space up top. If Drew didn't see the proper matchup to take advantage, he would force ball screens to create one. Yes, the Bulldogs' Few tried to go zone. However, that also turned out to be a big mistake as Baylor's perimeter shooting adapted quickly & banged down 3's @ an excellent percentage. The Bears' Big 4 (Mitchell, Butler, Teague & Adam Flagler) made a staggering 50% of them (10-for-20) & accounted for 69 of their 86 points. Teague was especially tough in high-post situations. The Green & Gold's top 3 off the bench (Flagler, Matthew Mayer & Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua) could definitely start on most Power 5 conference teams. In contrast, that success @ depth really came to fruition as NO Baylor starter played over 31 of 40 minutes except Mitchell. All of the Bulldogs' starting 5 played @ least 31 minutes with sharp-shooter Corey Kispert played 38 minutes (12 points, 2-7 on 3PT FG's) & Andrew Nembhard played 39 minutes (9 points, 0-3 on 3PT FG's). Besides exploiting Timme, Scott Drew turned up the pressure knowing he can get more than a few buckets on turnovers from a taxed Gonzaga squad (see my earlier pre-game analysis article) who had to go OT to beat U.C.L.A. just 2 days prior. Even though Zags' PG Jalen Suggs got his points (22 points, 8-15 from the field), Baylor held in check Kispert & Timme who only combined for 24 points. Drew knew an up-tempo start was key (took an 11-1 lead from the get-go) since Gonzaga is not a team built to play from behind against a tough opponent. He learned from his past of losing early in the tournament playing passive zone defenses. This season, he had the horses to execute a new game plan that employed an aggressive man-to-man defense for 40 minutes. It was evident that playing an in-your-face pressure created a BIG positive turnover ratio that broke open an even-talent on offense matchup. It looks like Bobby Knight's 1976 Indiana Hoosiers undefeated 32-0 team still holds on to being the last undefeated NCAA Champion since Few & his Zags' storybook season ended @ 31-1. In conclusion, hats off to Scott Drew who recruited a majority of quality transfers & multiyear players who can drive it past you or score off the dribble consistently. This team might be back once again next season. Thanks to all my non-doubter clients & subscribers who knew I was good enough to turn a profit (over 60%) as I hit 73% NFL Regular Season & 72% in CBB All Plays for them in back-to-back seasons. Stay tuned for an excellent MLB season that begins after rotations start forming solid patterns for play.

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