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What If Wednesday: Another Undefeated Basketball Non-conference?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Baylor vs USC Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball season is quickly approaching, so this week’s “What If Wednesday” is focusing on what it would take for Baylor’s Men’s Basketball team to make it out of their non-conference schedule undefeated for the second year in a row. This will also act as a primer for the basketball schedule for those who haven’t looked ahead to it much yet. For the sake of space, a lot of the “easy win” opponents will be listed with little analysis.

vs. Central Arkansas

Should be a win.

vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

Should be a win.

vs. Alcorn State

Should be a win.

vs. Wisconsin

“This is where the fun begins.” Baylor enters a stretch that will rival any team in the country’s non-conference schedule. Wisconsin will be a tough out. But, it might not be quite as tough of an out as in years past. The Badgers lost four of their starters from last year. The key player for the Badgers this year will be Ethan Happ. Beyond him, however, there is practically no experienced talent on the team. Definitely the type of team an experienced Baylor Bears squad can take advantage of.

vs. UCLA or Creighton

This is tough to predict since this matchup depends on if Baylor wins and which of these teams win. Creighton only returns one front court player from last year. On the other hand, UCLA will have to find its identity with the loss of Lonzo Ball from last year. However, UCLA still has the outstanding Aaron Holiday from last year and strong newcomers. I’d guess Baylor would be playing UCLA (assuming Baylor wins the first game) which will be a tough out, but the Bears are definitely capable of competing and winning.

@ Xavier

Xavier will be a very difficult road game for the Bears. They return standout Trevon Bluiett, who declared for the draft but then returned, as is allowed in college basketball. The Musketeers will be looking for revenge against the Bears who scored a top 10 win against them last year. Baylor’s defense will need to play a strong game to keep Bluiett’s scoring in check, which Scott Drew coached teams typically are able to do.

vs. Wichita State

Wichita State rounds of an extremely difficult stretch of non-conference games, and is likely the most difficult of the bunch. They are the #4 KenPom team in the preseason. This system predicts Wichita State to beat Baylor 72-71. So needless to say, this could be a very close, very competitive game. Wichita State returns a lot of talent, headlined by Landry Shamet, who shot 44% from the 3 point line last year. Solid guard play from Manu Lecomte and Jake Lindsey will be absolutely critical. If the Bears make it past this point in the non-conference undefeated, I expect them to glide the rest of the way to conference play.

vs. Sam Houston State

Should be a win, barring a let down after that stretch of tough games.

vs. Randall

Should be a win.

vs. Texas Southern

Should be a win.

vs. Savannah State

Should be a win.

vs. Southern

Should be a win.

If the Bears could somehow whether that brutal non-conference schedule, they should have themselves setup as a top 5 team entering conference play. While it doesn’t seem likely, many thought the same about last season. Only time will tell. Sic ‘em!