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Daily Bears Report 12/21

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11-0 Men’s basketball plays final non-conference game today. Dave Campbell remembers Bill Menefee. How Volleyball righted the ship. Boise State excited to be playing Baylor in Cactus Bowl.

NCAA Basketball: John Brown at Baylor
Nuni Omot
Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s Events

Men's Basketball, vs Texas Southern, 6:30 PM, Watch, Listen

Basketball

Wednesday is the 10th series meeting. Baylor is 9-0 in the series with +17.8 average scoring margin.

Baylor’s No. 4 AP ranking ties the 2nd-best in program history – BU was No. 3 on Jan. 16, 2012. Wednesday is the 10th game in program history that the Bears entered with a top-5 ranking. Baylor is one of six remaining undefeated DI teams (Baylor, Creighton, Gonzaga, UCLA, USC, Villanova).

BU is 11-0 for the 4th time in program history and the first time since starting 17-0 in 2011-12. Baylor’s 11 straight wins are tied for 5th-longest in program history. It’s BU’s 8th streak of 11+ wins.

Baylor has the nation’s 2nd-longest non-conference home winning streak at 42 straight. Duke has the longest streak at 132 games, followed by Baylor at 42 and Arizona at 38 (thru 12/19). The Bears’ last non-conference home loss was vs. Northwestern on Dec. 4, 2012. BU averages a 22.3-point margin of victory and has nine wins over high-major teams during the streak.

  • There’s bubbly, and there’s Scott-Drew-just-before-Christmas-with-an-undefeated-team bubbly.

All the champagne bottles at all the New Year’s parties in all the world couldn’t match the bubbliness that Drew has going. And why not? Entering Wednesday’s home game with Texas Southern, Drew’s Bears are 11-0 and ranked fourth nationally, one of just six undefeated teams left in Division I basketball.

Even as much as the wins, Drew likes his team’s chemistry.

“Definitely it’s more enjoyable than the other way,” Drew said. “But I think what’s been most exciting is how everybody’s stayed (together). Some games some people play a little bit better than others, and it’s always been team-first. I think Ish (Wainright) has done a great job with that leadership, and the upperclassmen.”

Football

  • When Baylor played in the Fiesta Bowl three years ago, it was riding high with its first Big 12 championship and an 11-1 record. BearsExtra has this story.

The Bears had a great time practicing in the Phoenix area and were looking forward to capping off one of the best seasons in school history with a bowl win over Central Florida.

It didn’t happen that way, as the No. 15 Knights ruined No. 6 Baylor’s 2014 New Year’s Day with a 52-42 win.

The Bears hope this year’s trip to Phoenix has a better outcome when they face Boise State on Dec. 27 at Chase Field.

  • When Boise State senior offensive tackle Mario Yakoo heard that the Broncos would be playing Baylor in the Cactus Bowl, he immediately got excited. From the Idaho Press-Tribune.

“Let’s go,” Yakoo recalls thinking. “A Big 12 team? Let’s go.”

Playing Baylor in the Cactus Bowl is about as good of a matchup that Boise State could have hoped for after the Broncos failed to even reach the Mountain West title game.

The Mountain West’s bowl affiliations drop off rather significantly after the Las Vegas Bowl, and not many of them pit teams from the Mountain West against Power 5 opponents.

But thanks to the Pac-12 not having enough bowl eligible teams, the Broncos were able to slide into the Cactus Bowl and play the Bears out of the Big 12 Conference.

“We’re just that little Boise State team that’s going to get in there and bust our tails the rest of the time we have here and get ready for them,” Yakoo said. “It’s going to be a great matchup and it’s a great opportunity for us as a program to put our names out there.

“They are a Big 12 team and a power program. At the beginning of the year they were one of the most elite teams in the country and the last 4-5 years they’ve been great, so this is a big test for us as a program and a team. We’ll see what happens on Dec. 27.”

  • Rather than a thank-you note, Baylor gave Jim Grobe a collective hug. From BearsExtra.

When Baylor needed a head football coach just three months before the season opener, Jim Grobe answered the call. On Tuesday night, more than a hundred fans and Baylor administrators gathered at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame to offer their thanks.

Following the firing of Art Briles in May, several Baylor players found themselves questioning their future. Some of the incoming recruits opted to sign elsewhere, and a few returning players decided to transfer. But players who stayed, like senior receiver Lynx Hawthorne, found a new leader and advocate in Grobe.

“That was a hard time,” Hawthorne said. “Whenever that kind of stuff happens, obviously there’s (questions), ‘Who comes in? What are we going to do? Do we leave? Do we transfer?’ Obviously a lot of people did take that route.

“That was a thought among all of us, to be honest. But I knew early on, going into the summer workouts, whenever they did hire Coach Grobe and he was there every single morning at 5 a.m. or 5:30 a.m., just waiting on us to get there. You started seeing that he legitimately cared about us.”

Dave Campbell on Bill Menefee’s Memorial Service

  • Bill Menefee, who was an outstanding college basketball player, and an outstanding coach at Baylor, was put into his earthly grave this past Saturday after being rightfully praised and remembered at Austin Avenue Methodist Church for his many years of tremendous conquest. Story by Dave Campbell From Baylor Bears dot com.

I say tremendous conquest because he fought his way from the abject poverty he found in his childhood in the West Texas town of Breckenridge during the years of the Great Depression to All-America recognition as a basketball player at the University of North Texas and on to recognition as a fine men's basketball coach at Baylor and finally to even more recognition as a great human being.

All of us should pack so much living into 95 years as Bill did.

Bill lived a life that was far from ordinary. He could remember those years when his family would be thrown out of rent house after rent house for not having the money to pay the rent. He could remember always wanting to get a good education and knowing he was a good basketball player and thus walking on at North Texas, where he not only proved he was good, he proved he was extraordinary.

But he was a young man by then and Uncle Sam began calling. On Dec. 7, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and soon Bill found himself in the U.S. Marines, a 90-day "wonder" as he termed it, a Marine Lieutenant and on his way to the tiny but important island of Guadacanal in the South Pacific.

Volleyball

“We spent a long time sitting down and asking, ‘What were we really thinking?’ so we could own it,” the second-year head coach said. ‘’’We could win, we’re just hoping, we weren’t aggressive. This year isn’t going to be good because everyone’s hurt.’ We had to own all that and flush those things out. What part can we control and then release it?”

Now in his 18th year as a collegiate coach, McGuyre knows that one of the hardest things for a team to do is change course during the season.

“We were definitely on the wrong course,” he said. “And to be able to steer the ship in another direction, you can’t do that unless you have all hands on deck. No one abandoned ship. We just had to work harder, and we had some catch-up to do.”

Not only did the Bears change course, they put together one of the best seasons in program history. Baylor (22-12) strung together a 10-game winning streak, finished fourth in the Big 12 with its best conference record in seven years (9-7) and earned an NCAA Tournament berth for just the fifth time in school history and first since 2011.

After upsetting 14th-ranked San Diego in a thrilling five-set first-round match, the Bears’ season ended with a sweep at the hands of eighth-ranked and 10th-seeded UCLA.

“When you taste it, it tastes good, so you want more,” McGuyre said of the NCAA Tournament. “And it adds to the hunger for us. The UCLA loss was discouraging and disappointing and heart-wrenching. It wasn’t like, ‘Hey, we got there, let’s have fun, we met our end goal.’ The belief was there. We had opportunities to go deeper.”

That also means the expectations will be that much higher for a team that only loses two seniors – starting setter Morgan Reed and serving specialist Alex Bannister.

Fourth-year junior Katie Staiger, a first-team All-Big 12 pick and second-team All-American, returns at outside hitter after setting the school record and coming within two kills of the Big 12 record with 698 kills. Juniors Camryn Freiberg and Jana Brusek were All-Big 12 second-team selections, and the Bears will also get three players back that missed all or most of the 2016 season.