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Monday Shootaround: Let the Good Times Roll

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A second straight home win over a ranked opponent has catapulted Baylor basketball into the top 20. Here's a look at the week ahead.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Week In Review

Baylor 81 Huston-Tillotson 61
61
HT
(3-13)
1ST 2ND F
36 25 61
37 44 81

Box ScoreQuotesNotesPhoto Gallery USATSI Gallery

Waco, Texas • Attendance: 4,760

81
BAYLOR
(14-4, 2-3)

2 things to take away from this game:
1) Yes, there was an actual reason for playing NAIA Huston-Tillotson in the middle of the conference schedule. In case you missed it last week, here is a link to the article from Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! explaining the unique circumstance.
2) Even if this were against a team of ants, Rico Gathers’ stat line would still be ridiculously impressive. 28 rebounds is a new Baylor single-game record, breaking the mark of 27 set by Jerry Mallett in 1955. It was the oldest standing record in the Baylor men’s basketball record book.

Total 3-point Rebounds
## Player p fgm-fga fgm-fga ftm-fta off-def tot pf tp a to blk stl min
02 Gathers, Rico f 9-17 0-0 7-10 11-17 28 3 25 1 2 1 0 28
Baylor 69 Oklahoma 58
58
OKLAHOMA
(12-7, 3-4)
1ST 2ND F
24 34 58
30 39 69

Box ScoreQuotesNotesBaylor Photos
USATI Photos

Waco, Texas • Attendance: 8,753

69
BAYLOR
(15-4, 3-3)

Baylor picked a really good time to play its best five minute stretch of the season, closing the game with a 23-9 run to put away #19 Oklahoma and get payback for the loss in Norman back on January 3rd. The Bears never trailed in the first half but looked as if they were going to let another lead slip away as Oklahoma made a big run in the opening minutes of the second half. On this day, Baylor seemed to come up with big shots when they needed them, led by 17 points from Lester Medford in what was his best performance in a Baylor uniform. The Bears also got key second half performances from Royce O’Neale, Kenny Chery and Taurean Prince as BU shot 50% or better for the first time this season against a Big 12 opponent. Baylor’s zone defense limited Oklahoma to 38% shooting from the field and forced TaShawn Thomas and Buddy Hield into subpar offensive performances. Hield was 0-7 from 3 point range, his first game this season without at least one make from beyond the arc. It should be pointed out that it was a GREAT atmosphere in the Ferrell Center on Saturday. It really seemed to give the team that extra push late in the second half. It’s also easy to get jacked up about plays like this:

Heard and Mills Awarded Scholarships

The two home wins this week were nice, but this is the highlight of the week for Baylor basketball. John Heard and Austin Mills have poured their hearts out as walk-ons this season, and for Heard, the past three seasons. So Scott Drew gave them the ultimate compliment for a walk-on player. Do you have the feels? You should have all of them after watching this.

Looking Ahead

Baylor at Oklahoma State
Gallagher-Iba Arena (Stillwater, OK)
Jan. 27, 8:00 PM CT
ESPNEWS

The Bears open the week with a tough road test in Stillwater against an Oklahoma State team that has won each of its three conference home games by double digits. The Cowboys are led by eleventh year senior LeBryan Nash and sixth year junior Phil Forte…okay maybe not but it sure feels that way. Forte and Nash are responsible for nearly half of Oklahoma State’s offensive output for the season. Point guard Anthony Hickey is the only other Cowboy averaging over 7 points per game. The OSU guards are extremely active on the defensive end, with Forte and Hickey ranking 1st and 3rd in the Big 12 in steals, so it will be critical for Baylor to avoid the sloppy unforced turnovers that could lead to big runs by Oklahoma State, especially with the game being at Gallagher-Iba. Travis Ford’s bunch ranks 23rd in KenPom Adjusted Defensive rate which means it will be another tall task for the Bears. I like this matchup for Baylor defensively if they can keep Hickey out of the paint on dribble penetration. Oklahoma State is not a team that thrives on a lot of ball movement, which have been the types of teams that have given the Baylor zone the most trouble. The Bears should also have an edge on the boards as Oklahoma State is next to last in the Big 12 in rebounding. If Baylor can bring the same effort and intensity on the road that they showed at home on Saturday, they could steal one in Stillwater.

Texas at Baylor
Ferrell Center (Waco, TX)
Jan. 31, 5:00 PM CT
ESPN2

Baylor and Texas renew their rivalry for the first time in 2015 on Saturday in the Ferrell Center. The Longhorns have spent several weeks ranked in the top 10 this season but have tailed off a bit of late. Much like Baylor, Texas relies on an extremely balanced offensive attack, with six players averaging over 7.5 points per game, led by point guard Isaiah Taylor and highly touted freshman Myles Turner. Texas features arguably the Big 12’s toughest defense, with Turner, Cameron Ridley and Prince Ibeh creating three tall trees to shoot over in the paint. I think it will be important for Baylor to be able to hit outside shots in this game, something the Bears do more effectively in the Ferrell Center (38%) than on road/neutral courts (34%). The Longhorns have also had trouble with consistency on offense and the Bears need to be able to take advantage of opportunities in transition as they did in the second half against Oklahoma. If the Baylor frontcourt can hold its own on both ends of the court, I like Baylor’s chances. Baylor has won two consecutive home games against ranked opponents. I would be okay with that becoming a trend.

Big 12 Update

KenPom

Strength of Schedule NCSOS
Rank Team Conf W-L Pyth AdjO AdjD AdjT Luck Pyth OppO OppD Pyth
11 Kansas B12 16-3 0.9202 115.5 12 93.4 41 67.1 79 0.165 2 0.7851 2 106.1 4 94.8 1 0.7476 8
12 Oklahoma B12 12-7 0.9183 108.2 55 87.7 5 69.7 21 -0.093 325 0.7245 3 106.9 2 98.3 27 0.5752 102
15 Baylor B12 15-4 0.9068 112.9 27 92.7 36 61.7 322 0.002 186 0.6723 10 104 39 97.7 8 0.5258 165
16 West Virginia B12 16-3 0.8995 111.4 32 92.1 27 70 17 0.032 118 0.5963 66 101.9 150 98.5 32 0.4663 227
17 Texas B12 14-5 0.8889 107.6 63 89.8 12 64.5 217 -0.005 198 0.6263 43 102.2 130 97.7 7 0.4918 197
25 Iowa St. B12 14-4 0.8697 113.9 22 96.6 84 70.7 13 -0.001 193 0.5932 70 103.6 58 100.2 104 0.4396 265
29 Oklahoma St. B12 13-6 0.8614 107.1 71 91.3 23 65.1 181 -0.019 225 0.6648 14 102.5 109 96.6 3 0.5106 174
43 TCU B12 14-5 0.8203 104.1 115 91.2 22 63.7 263 -0.057 290 0.3719 331 99.5 283 104.1 326 0.1825 351
69 Kansas St. B12 12-8 0.7532 105.8 90 96 74 62 311 0.011 174 0.6365 35 103.1 83 98.2 22 0.5041 182
179 Texas Tech B12 11-9 0.4705 96.1 272 97.1 94 64.4 219 0.011 172 0.4744 215 100.8 218 101.7 205 0.2472 347

AP Top 25

AP Top 25
RK TEAM RECORD PTS
1 Kentucky (64) 19-0 1,624
2 Virginia (1) 19-0 1,561
3 Gonzaga 20-1 1,476
4 Duke 17-2 1,402
5 Wisconsin 18-2 1,351
6 Arizona 18-2 1,300
7 Villanova 18-2 1,187
8 Notre Dame 19-2 1,139
9 Kansas 16-3 1,120
10 Louisville 16-3 1,027
11 Utah 16-3 996
12 Wichita St 18-2 893
13 North Carolina 16-4 878
14 Virginia Commonwealth 16-3 734
15 Iowa State 14-4 719
16 Maryland 18-3 715
17 West Virginia 16-3 558
18 Northern Iowa 18-2 440
19 Texas 14-5 431
20 Baylor 15-4 407
21 Georgetown 14-5 334
22 Indiana 15-5 165
23 Miami (FL) 14-5 164
24 Oklahoma 12-7 90
25 Butler 15-6 70