Only two teams at the end of every basketball season end the year with a win - the National Champion and the NIT champion. Baylor kept their NIT winning streak alive against a team that many expect to make it to this year's NCAA tournament and they did so comfortably.
The first half started off exactly as expected: a little rust, a little physicality and a few new faces making plays. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the half was that Gary Franklin started in place of Brady Heslip - other than that, it was business as usual. Taurean Prince continued his ridiculous output in limited playing time from last season and the new guys - Kenny Chery, Ish Wainright and Royce O'Neale - seemed to be figuring out their place on the team. Isaiah Austin seemed skittish coming off a shoulder injury and Cory Jefferson was an animal.
Austin opened the second half with a blocked shot and the Bears didn't look back. They opened up a ten point lead and maintained it give or take a few until late in the game. Colorado was able to cut the lead to six with about a minute to go, but Baylor responded to win the game 72-60.
The team dealt with foul trouble all night, but it allowed coach Scott Drew to showcase the extent of his depth this year. Heslip hit several big 3's while Chery displayed a smooth stroke and a calm demeanor that should comfort Bears fans worried about replacing Pierre Jackson. Despite an off season that saw multiple transfers, by the time the second half hit its stride Baylor seemed to find a comfortable identity: this team is going to be physical, scrappy and most unlike any Scott Drew team in his tenure at Baylor.
There are many things the team could improve upon, but I'm not going to make a big ruckus about that right now. We came out on top against a quality opponent and easily gained the most impressive win of any Big 12 team on the opening night of basketball in the conference. We'll have more later, but for now - Sic 'Em Bears! We're 1-0.