The Baylor Bears play in the first round of the NIT tonight at 8:00 PM in the Ferrell Center, looking to advance in a bracket that no longer contains Kentucky. Tonight's game against Long Beach State will be televised on ESPN2, and will be one more chance to support this senior class on their home court. A win tonight would be Scott Drew's 174th in his 10 year tenure, 27 shy of Bill Henderson's program record, and Baylor would advance to face the winner of No. 3 Arizona State/No. 6 Detroit.
The Lady Bears start their NCAA campaign this Sunday in the Ferrell Center against Prairie View A&M at around 6:30-7:00 PM, depending on the finish time of the Florida State/Princeton game, which tips off at 4:00 PM. The Lady Bears finished the regular season at the top of the AP Poll for the 11th straight week, ranked first for the second year in a row. This "farewell tour" begins against a familiar foe, as the Lady Bears started the tournament against the Panthers two years ago. One of this year's seniors, Jordan Madden, has worked her game from being simply an elite defensive stopper to being an offensive force, and opponents are struggling to defend her in addition to Baylor's other offensive weapons. Also a defensive force, Brittney Griner has only allowed opponents to shoot 22% from the field (Video: Numbers Never Lie) in 33 games against her this season. In case you missed it, ESPN's Kate Fagan wrote an excellent piece that everyone should read about Brittney Griner and critics of the women's game.
Baylor Baseball fell to Sam Houston State yesterday, 4-2, though senior Crayton Bare threw 5 scoreless innings while striking out a career high 8 batters. Two dropped pickoff throws caused the most problems for the Bears, allowing SHSU runners to move into scoring position. Steve DalPorto and Lawton Langford brought across Baylor's two runs on a RBI groundout and a sac fly, respectively. The series moves to Huntsville today, and the Bears will attempt to avoid a sweep at 6:30 PM.
Baylor Softball heads to UT Arlington today to take on the Mavericks at 5:00 PM after their trip to Hawaii. Junior Whitney Canion has a chance to tie the program record for wins tonight if she can win her 82nd decision. Senior Kathy Shelton is hitting well right now, winning the Chevron Spring Fling MVP with a .588 average despite not playing in the title game.
2012 Baylor Football signees Brian Nance and Kiante Griffin are making up for lost time this spring, after not being able to make it to Baylor in the fall. Both players are showing well in spring football, with Nance moving from his accustomed position of linebacker to defensive end and Griffin finding a home in the nickleback position.
Author's Note: Hey, Waco area Baylor fans. Go to the game tonight. I don't care that it's the NIT, go to the game. Home court advantage is a real, tangible thing, so go and cheer on your Bears.