1.) Matthew Mayer is an essential part of this team - The debate about Mayer should be done. Baylor fans saw first hand how much he was missed after he went out in the first half against West Virginia. The depth became severely limited and Mayer’s value became more apparent. He has always been a player that fans hoped could provide a spark every few games, but in the last month he has shown he is more than that. Truthfully, ever since that highlight Sports Center “Top 10” dunk, Mayer has been a different player. He put up a career high 19 points on the road, and averaged double digits in scoring. And it hasn’t just been the offense that has improved. I’m not saying that he is as elite as some of his teammates on defense, but he undoubtedly has been more active on that end of the floor. Before last Saturday’s game Mayer accounted for 7 steals in his last 4 games.
2.) Jared Butler has the capability to be the most talented player on the floor on any given night - What a luxury to have during tournament time in March. In his last 10 games he is averaging close to 18 points a game and has shown all season that he can store in a variety of ways. NBA 3s are no problem, contested drives to the basket are no problem, and set shots coming off screens are also no problem. At his best when he is locked in and focused, Baylor fans know what Butler is capable of. Not every player can go into Allen Fieldhouse and make some of the plays he made in that game. There have been times when he has tried to do too much; splitting the defense and attempting to make the highlight plays. But make no mistake the team knows who the offense needs to run through when it becomes crunch time.
3.) We have the defense to win a championship - For sure in the Big 12 tournament, but also possibly in the NCAA as well. The stats have been on display the whole season. Baylor was able to hold multiple teams to their season low point totals and has beat every Big 12 team at least once this season, many times because of the defense. Whether this carries over into the NCAA tournament is to be determined, but it’t hard to imagine that it will not. By the “eye test” alone even causal fans can see that Davion Mitchell, Freddie Gillespie, and Mark Vital are elite defenders.