ALBUQUERQUE, NM - MARCH 17: Deuce Bello #14 of the Baylor Bears shoots against the Colorado Buffaloes in the first half during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at The Pit on March 17, 2012 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Quite an eventful weekend for Baylor's athletic programs, who enjoyed a string of unqualified success over the last few days. The men's basketball team stormed into the Sweet 16 on the strength of Brady Heslip's shooting touch in a win over Colorado while the Lady Bears doubled-up UC Santa Barbara in what was little more than a tune-up for their second round game against Florida tomorrow night. Not to be outdone, Baylor Baseball swept Texas Tech at home to start Big XII play 3-0. The lone negative for Baylor this weekend was the weather; Baylor Softball's Saturday game was apparently rained out and won't be made up. The Baylor ladies are in the midst of a 7 game winning streak that has run their record to 22-5 on the season and their ranking all the way up to #15 in the country.
This week has the potential to be even better for Baylor's sports teams considering what's on the schedule.
Today (3/19)-- Men's Tennis is the only thing of note. They're in Lexington, Kentucky.
Tuesday (3/20)-- Baylor Lady Bears: vs. Florida Gators in the Round of 32. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:05 PM. Baylor Baseball: vs. Sam Houston State (away) also at 6:05. Softball: SFA at home at 5:00.
Wednesday (3/21)-- Baylor Football: Pro Day at Highers Athletic Complex. Robert Griffin III and Kendall Wright will be the stars of the day as teams look to see how RG3 throws and KW runs. KW needs to improve on his 40 time from the Combine to re-solidify himself as a First Round pick. Baylor is bringing in several high-profile recruits including J.T. Barrett, one of the top-ranked dual-threat QBs in the entire country for 2013. This could be a really good day for Baylor.
Thursday (3/22) -- Nothing? That seems weird.
Friday (3/23)-- Baylor Basketball: vs. Xavier in the Sweet 16 at 6:15 PM CST. Softball: vs. Oklahoma at home. Baseball: vs. Kansas at home (that's a weekend series).
Buckle up, Baylor fans. A win Friday night likely sets up a showdown vs. Kentucky on Sunday. I have no doubt that game would be broadcast in primetime. A trip to the Final Four for Baylor's MBB team and yours truly could be on the line in the biggest game in Baylor basketball history (to date).
Now that we know where we're going, let's look below the jump at where we've been...
Baylor Basketball to the Sweet 16
Thursday: Round of 64
S. DAKOTA ST.
(27-8) Rank: NR/NR
NCAA Championship • Second Round
(28-7) Rank: #9/10
The first game of the tournament was uncomfortably close for Baylor fans, who watched South Dakota State's Nate Wolters almost single-handedly will his team to victory in a game the 14th-seeded Jackrabbits had, just looking at the talent levels alone, no right to win. That's why they play the games, obviously, as Missouri and Duke found out on Friday afternoon and evening, and Baylor had to scrap together performances from Pierre Jackson, Brady Heslip, senior Anthony Jones (who we will see come up big again in the Bears' next game against Colorado), and true freshman Quincy Miller. Perry Jones III scored only two points on 1-6 shooting in this game. I'm sure he and Coach Drew were both disappointed in that performance after how well he played in the Big XII tournament. To his credit, though, he pulled down 11 rebounds to lead both teams. In the end, South Dakota State couldn't control Baylor's lightning bug Pierre Jackson and Baylor pulled out a win to earn themselves a matchup with former conference mate Colorado on Saturday night (though they wouldn't know that until later in the evening).
Saturday: Round of 32
(24-12) Rank: NR/NR
NCAA Championship • Third Round
(29-7) Rank: #9/10
A relatively close game at halftime and for most of the second half turned into a blowout for Baylor in the closing minutes as Brady Heslip turned in a shooting performance for the ages by hitting 9 3-pointers in the game, only 2 off the NCAA Tournament record for a single game. 6 of Heslip's 3s came in the first half when Baylor needed him most; for the second game in a row Perry Jones III got off to a bad start and seemed to shrink away, leaving Baylor desperate for offense. Pierre Jackson's shots weren't falling and Quincy Acy went to the bench early with 2 fouls, meaning Baylor had to rely on the not-so-usual suspects Deuce Bello and Anthony Jones (who stepped up big for Baylor AGAIN in this game) to help bridge the gap. Both sides of the ball, offense and defense, improved significantly late in the second half when Coach Drew switched back to the zone defense rather than stay in man-to-man. The move flummoxed Colorado, who has no true outside shooters to bust the zone, and their offense stagnated, creating opportunities in transition for the Bears, who were led by Heslip's 27 points in the game. Xavier topped Lehigh later in the evening to set up a Sweet 16 matchup between the two teams to take place this Friday night in Atlanta. Hopefully the crowd will be a little more pro-Baylor there than it was in Albuquerque, though the chants of "Big 12" and "Big 12 rejects" were easy to hear over the din as the exodus of Colorado fans progressed Saturday night.
Baylor Lady Bears Dominate UC-Santa Barbara
(17-16) Rank: NR/NR
NCAA Championship • First Round
(35-0) Rank: #1/1
The women's game in college doesn't have anywhere near the parity of the men's, so one thing you can always assume about the Women's NCAA Tournament is that the top seeds are probably going to win. Only once in history has a #1 seed lost in the first round, which is actually once more than on the men's side and actually goes against my point, and the early rounds are typically all chalk for the top four seeds from each region. Baylor, who is clearly the best team in the country at this point, had no problems with UCSB in this game and actually rested its starters for most of the second half. If you believe, as I do, that any rest you can get in the tournament is good for your players, who have already played upwards of 30+ games at this point, then there were absolutely no negatives to this game at all. Curiously, though, Baylor All-American PG Odyssey Sims didn't start the game for the Lady Bears, and how that situation works out could be interesting to follow. Brittney Griner led the way for Baylor with only 14 points in 22 minutes and watched most of the second half from the bench. Florida's victory over Ohio State put them on a collision course with the juggernaut Lady Bears tomorrow night. That game will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 6:15.
Baylor Baseball Sweeps Texas Tech in Waco
Miles will probably come along and give you more information about these games than I ever could, so I'll just link to the recaps and move on. If you want box scores from the three games, you can click on the individual links.
Baseball Knocks 16 Hits in 9-4 Win vs. Texas Tech - Baylor Bears Official Athletic Site - BaylorBears.com
Baylor pounded out 16 hits on its way to a 9-4 win over Texas Tech in each team's first game of the season in Big 12 Conference play on Friday night at Baylor Ballpark.
Baseball Wins Series with 4-3 Win vs. Tech - Baylor Bears Official Athletic Site - BaylorBears.com
Logan Vick's third hit of the game brought home Cal Towey with the game-winning run in the eighth inning, and Baylor clinched a series win with a 4-3 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark.
Baseball Sweeps Texas Tech with 8-1 Win - Baylor Bears Official Athletic Site - BaylorBears.com
Max Garner turned in the longest outing of his career and posted a career-high nine strikeouts as Baylor completed a three-game sweep of Texas Tech with an 8-1 win on Sunday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark.
#15-Ranked Baylor Softball Runs Winning Streak to 7
No. 15 Softball Continues Streak With Sweep - Baylor Bears Official Athletic Site - BaylorBears.com
The No. 15 Baylor softball team (21-5) extended its win streak to seven games, defeating Buffalo (6-11) 3-0 in game one and Liberty (6-12) 2-1 in game two on Friday afternoon at Getterman Stadium.
Ten Things I Know I Think From the Weekend:
(Shamelessly ripped off from Peter King's "Ten Things I Think I Think" but changed slightly because it's impossible to think you think something. If you think something, you know you think it.)
- Brady Heslip is who I imagine myself to be when I play basketball: a sweet-shooting 3-point maestro with great hair from a foreign land who doesn't really like to play defense all that much. The only differences between the two of us are that I can't shoot, I don't have any hair, and I'm not from a foreign land. He and I could be twins!
- Baylor will probably be the consensus favorite against Xavier, but Tu Holloway scares me. He might be the single best player we've faced so far in the Tournament. I need to look more deeply into their stats to know whether Xavier has the shooting talent to bust our zone.
- You can tell what kind of game you're getting from Perry Jones III in the first five minutes. If he's going to dominate, he's already hit a few shots and grabbed a contested rebound or three. If he misses his first few attempts, the only question is whether he disappears completely (scoring-wise) or has only a decent game with 8-10 points. Either way, you know right off the bat.
- If we make it to them, I don't know who on this team guards Anthony Davis.
- I like watching Deuce Bello play basketball, and I feel like having him more involved makes Quincy Miller more involved, too. I can't prove that, but I think it's true.
- It hasn't been reported this way, but the "Big 12 rejects" chant was a reaction to a pre-game "Pac 12 rejects" chant from Colorado fans. They deserved what happened. Every report I've read about their conduct toward Baylor fans has been negative.
- Really starting to feel like 2010 up in here, you guys.
- I think we get a big 2013 football commit this week from the Pro Day. Big. As in huge.
- I don't know a lot about Baylor basketball pre-2000s, but Brady Heslip's game against Colorado has to go in the Baylor basketball pantheon of individual performances, right?
- Rumor has it that we may be mounting a switch to Adidas university-wide. Stay tuned on that one.