ANAHEIM, Calif. —
Wisconsin is similarly impressed by Baylor’s athleticism and offensive balance. While knocking off Nebraska and third-seeded Creighton last weekend, Baylor also deployed a matchup zone that flummoxed both opponents and limited Creighton star Doug McDermott.
With most of a week to prepare, it’s likely Ryan has cooked up a way to penetrate the scheme.
“You have to probe,” Ryan said. “But I’ve seen the way they’re playing it. Attacking it and getting people to move a certain direction, and using your angles and misdirection and different things that good zone offensive teams use, we’re going to have to put all those together.”
Few teams in recent seasons have been better in March than Baylor, which has won 17 of its 20 postseason games over the last six years.
The Bears haven’t been content with Sweet 16 success, either: They reached the regional final before losing to the eventual national champion in 2010 and 2012. They missed the NCAA tournament last year, but went ahead and won the NIT anyway.
Although Drew sometimes struggles to get precision out of his gifted roster, he’s likely to have the players’ attention at this stage. Baylor has an added incentive for its weekend in Southern California — and it’s not just the Bears’ late-night trip to Hollywood’s famed Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles after they arrived Tuesday.
With two more wins, the Bears essentially would play the Final Four at home in Arlington, Texas, about 100 miles from their Waco campus. The idea seemed abstract last week, but it’s tantalizingly close now.
“Obviously that’s our goal, getting back to Arlington and playing in Texas again,” Bears forward Cory Jefferson said.
Wisconsin also is trying not to look beyond its Sweet 16 game, but the Badgers clearly would love to book Ryan’s trip to his first Final Four.