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Daily Bears Report 11/30

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Lady Bears back in AP Top 4. Softball ditches Puerto Rico tournament due to Zika virus alert.

Baylor v Yale Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Baylor Athletics Update

Today’s Events

Men's Basketball, vs Sam Houston State, 8:00 PM CT, Listen, Watch

Men’s Basketball

Baylor Basketball (M): Highlights vs. Louisville

After what has been an exceptionally good first weeks of the season, Baylor Bears men’s basketball find themselves ranked ninth in the recently released AP Poll. Full Story at FanSided.

The Bears have quality wins over Oregon, VCU, Michigan State and Louisville, which has helped them earn a top-10 ranking and one vote to be the number one team in the nation.

While Baylor has an experienced roster with numerous different weapons that they can throw at opponents, the best player on their team is 6’10” junior forward Johnathan Motley.

Motley is currently averaging 17.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, while blocking 0.8 shots, shooting 52 percent from the field and hitting 85 percent of his free throws. All those numbers (with the exception of the blocks) have increased from last year, showing that Motley is ready to take the jump that was expected to occur in 2015-16.

Motley’s ability to run the floor, finish around the rim, rebound with the best of them and hit occasional outside shots is key for Baylor. Why? Because he’s one of the leaders of this roster. The Bears aren’t going to remain a top-10 team and a Big 12 contender without Motley playing like a man on a mission.

While his consistency has been shown in just a small sample size, this truly seems like the year that Motley has an opportunity to break through, help his team win more games than expected and leap up NBA draft boards. If that is the case, Baylor has a chance to be in Phoenix in late March.

Despite starting the season outside the Top 25, Baylor men’s hoops teams on meteoric rise, into top 10. From BearsExtra.

The Baylor men’s basketball team jumped from No. 20 to 9 in the Associated Press poll after sweeping three games last weekend in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. The Bears improved to 6-0 with wins over VCU, No. 14 Louisville and Michigan State. Baylor received one first-place vote.

Baylor junior forward Johnathan Motley was named Big 12 player of the week after averaging 20 points, 7.3 rebounds and two assists in the three games last week.

Baylor men’s basketball will host Sam Houston State at 8 p.m. CT tonight at the Ferrell Center.

No. 9 Baylor can't look past Sam Houston State. Fox Sports has the full story.

The Baylor Bears grabbed the attention of the college basketball nation last week by winning the Battle 4 Atlantis and now the Sam Houston State Bearkats will be the first team to take a shot at the No. 9 Bears.

Baylor (6-0) definitely felt slighted when they didn't receive votes in the AP rankings to start the season. Although the Bears have now defeated three ranked opponents -- then-No. 4 Oregon, then-No. 24 Michigan State and then-No. 10 Louisville -- they intend to keep playing with an edge.

Softball

The Baylor softball team will not compete in the Puerto Rico Sport Tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico, scheduled to run Feb. 11-13, announced Tuesday morning by head coach Glenn Moore. From Baylor Bears dot com.

While monitoring the spread of the Zika virus and researching the risk to the student-athletes, it was determined that the risk to the team and staff was not worth any potential value from the games played.

Working with Baylor’s Center for Global Engagement, Baylor Athletics administration and health representatives, the conclusion was made that, although conditions could improve or the threat could be lessened, the time sensitivity with travel and rescheduling games caused the immediate decision.

With Georgia Tech, Illinois, and North Carolina all originally scheduled for the PR tournament, BU will look at all options to replace the quality tournament games with equally valuable contests in a more stable environment.

Statement from Baylor head coach Glenn Moore

“Over the past few weeks, we have been closely observing and researching the Zika virus as it pertains to our travel to Puerto Rico in February. There is concern for the safety of our student athletes in this environment. After meeting with Baylor’s Center for Global Engagement, as well as our administration, we have come to the conclusion that we should not attend this tournament. Conditions could improve, but the time to make the decision is now. With the current state, it would be a risk I’m not willing to take.”

Soccer

Baylor soccer sophomore midfielder Julie James was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-Central Region third team. From Baylor Bears dot com.

James, an All-Big 12 first team choice this season and Big 12 All-Freshman honoree last season, is the first NSCAA all-region selection since 2012 for Baylor and the 13th overall in program history. In 20 games this season, the Fairview, Texas native had three goals and a career-high five assists (eighth in Big 12) for a career-high 11 points.

Football

Baylor interim coach Jim Grobe will take the field for the last time when the Bears play in a postseason bowl. From Sporting News.

After being ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press poll, the Bears have lost five consecutive games, losing by an average of 20.4 points. Likely headed for a sixth straight loss Saturday at West Virginia, Baylor could have easily called it quits on the season and begun its coaching search early but several seniors told school officials they wanted to play in a bowl game this season.

"Our intent, at this time, is to accept a bowl bid for our student-athletes who have worked so hard to earn it over the course of this season," Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades said Monday in a statement provided to ESPN. "Our focus, as it has been throughout the season, is on our student-athletes and trying to finish strong against a great West Virginia team this weekend in Morgantown."

Kaijū Sighting

Baylor has identified Cal’s Sonny Dykes as a top target in its coaching search, according to an ESPN.com report Tuesday. Read the full story at The Mercury News, by JON WILNER | jwilner@bayareanewsgroup.com.

The report, which comes courtesy of respected college football writer Mark Schlabach, says Baylor has turned its attention to Dykes after being rebuffed by SMU’s Chad Morris.

Baylor’s pursuit of Dykes makes sense on several levels: He is from Texas, played and coached in Texas, has deep recruiting ties in the state and, crucially, is well regarded by Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades.

Rhoades reportedly interviewed Dykes for the Missouri vacancy last year when Rhoades was in Columbia.