While serving a two-game suspension, Baylor coach Scott Drew learned more than one lesson.
The time away gave Drew a chance to analyze his team without being consumed with substitutions and dealing with heat-of-the-moment player emotions.
He also learned to stay away from a treadmill during a game.
For the second half of Baylor's Big 12 opener against Texas, the first game Drew missed, he tried to work off some nervous anxiety with a treadmill workout. Trouble is, the Bears' Big 12 opener against Texas went to overtime, and Drew's swift workout turned into a marathon.
"The next day I couldn't walk I was so sore," said Drew, whose Bears won that game.
He credited his coaching staff for getting the Bears off to a good start in the Big 12 during his suspension for minor NCAA recruiting violations.
Baylor (11-5, 3-1 Big 12), which lost 61-44 at No. 4 Kansas on Monday, has relied on its defense early in conference play. The Bears are allowing only 57 points a game in Big 12 games.
"I think it starts with Pierre Jackson," Drew said of his senior point guard. "He does a good job of applying ball pressure, and our younger guys on the front line are getting better and better so that's obviously helped with things. Defensively we're playing much better as a team and more solid than we were earlier in the year."
Tough start for Tech
Texas Tech interim coach Chris Walker has seven new players on his roster, and telling them what's coming against the top teams in the league and having them actually experience it are two different things.
The Red Raiders (8-6, 1-2 Big 12) already have faced two of the league's top teams in Baylor and Kansas and play at Oklahoma (11-3, 2-0) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Walker remains encouraged, however, with his team's effort in a 60-46 loss at home to Kansas. Tech trailed by only two at the half and was within striking distance with eight minutes remaining before the Jayhawks pulled away. That was an improvement after Baylor blew out Tech last week in Lubbock.
The tough early schedule is good for his team, he said.
"It's a good measuring stick for us where we can see what we're made of and give us some things to work on and have some teachable moments," he said. "I'm pretty encouraged right now."
Baylor's Pierre Jackson and Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart were selected two of 20 finalists for the Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award. The honor recognizes the nation's top point guard.