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Monday Shootaround: Another 20 Win Season

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Baylor basketball took care of its business and now has a couple of quality win opportunities this week against Iowa State and West Virginia

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Week In Review

Baylor 54 Texas Tech 49
54
BAYLOR
(19-7, 7-6)
1ST 2ND F
34 20 54
26 23 49

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Lubbock, Texas • Attendance: 6,572

49
TEXAS TECH
(12-15, 2-12)

I have a theory that there is no such thing as an ugly Big 12 road win but boy did this game test that theory to the max. Baylor survived an abysmal 2nd half offensive performance with strong defense and some clutch free throws to squeak out a 54-49 win in Lubbock over last place Texas Tech. The Bears made just 5 field goals on 25% shooting in the 2nd half and had almost twice as many turnovers (9) as buckets (5) in that stretch. Despite all that, Baylor was able to stay in front throughout the 2nd half and made the plays they needed to in order to close out the win. The game did not start particularly well either as BU allowed Tech to jump out to an early 15-9 lead before Taurean Prince came off the bench and absolutely took over, scoring 18 of Baylor's 34 1st half points on 7-9 from the field. As expected, the Bears were able to shut down the anemic Red Raider offense as Tech was held below 50 points for the sixth time in 10 games. Devaugntah Williams led Tech with 15 points but the rest of the Red Raiders shot just 31.6% from the floor. Aside from Prince's 22 points, Lester Medford was the only other Bear to reach double figure scoring with 10. The bottom line was that Baylor found a way to get the job done and improved to 7-6 in Big 12 play leading up to a weekend matchup with Kansas State over the weekend. And also anytime Baylor plays at Tech, you gotta thank the Internet for all the BU-TT jokes. You the real MVP.

Baylor 69 Kansas State 42
42
KANSAS STATE
(13-15, 6-9)
1ST 2ND F
25 17 42
39 30 69

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Waco, Texas • Attendance: 8,046

69
BAYLOR
(20-7, 8-6)

The Bears returned home on Saturday and avenged an earlier loss in Manhattan with a thorough 69-42 stomping of K-State at the Ferrell Center. Baylor followed up arguably its worst offensive performance of the season against Texas Tech with perhaps its best in this game. The Bears assisted on 24 of their 27 baskets and only committed 10 turnovers. Tack on that Baylor shot 49% from the field and was 8-16 from the 3 point line and you have a ridiculously efficient offensive showing. Baylor didn't get out in transition much in this game and was a measly 7-17 from the free throw line, the only things keeping this from being a 30-35 point win. Taurean Prince again led the Bears with 14 points off the bench but Rico Gathers, Al Freeman and Royce O'Neale all pitched in with solid performances as well. Defensively, Scott Drew's crew came up with its second consecutive game holding the opponent below 50 points. The 42 points scored by K-State was the fewest that Baylor had allowed in a Big 12 game since holding TCU to 40 back in 2013. This win moved the Bears to 8-6 in the Big 12 and 20-7 overall, the 7th time in 8 seasons that Baylor has reached the 20 win plateau. For reference, Baylor had only three 20 win seasons prior to Scott Drew's arrival in Waco. All in all, the Bears took care of business this week by beating two teams that they are superior to and will be playing to improve their NCAA Tournament seed over the next three weeks.

Looking Ahead

Baylor at Iowa State
Hilton Coliseum (Ames, IA)
Feb. 25, 8:00 PM CT
ESPNU

Hilton Magic awaits as the Bears look for their first ever win in Ames on Wednesday night against Iowa State. This matchup has historically been decided by the home court as Scott Drew is 7-1 against ISU in Waco but is 0-7 at Hilton Coliseum. That trend continued earlier this season when Baylor won a 74-73 last-second thriller back on January 14th at the Ferrell Center. The Bears were able to control that game in the paint as Rico Gathers and Johnathan Motley each had 14 points and Baylor outrebounded Iowa State 44-32. The Cyclones got red hot from the 3 point line in the 2nd half but BU was able to make key buckets of their own in order to hold off the hard charge from ISU. The Bears will not be so fortunate if they let Iowa State shoot over 50% from 3 in this game as the Cyclones are 14-0 at home this season and 52-2 over their last 54 in Ames with the losses both coming to Kansas. Baylor will need to play at its absolute best in order to have a shot to win this one.

West Virginia at Baylor
Ferrell Center (Waco, TX)
Feb. 28, 3:00 PM CT
ESPNU

Baylor returns home on Saturday to face a suddenly red hot West Virginia club. The Mountaineers have won three of their last four since the Bears trounced them 87-69 on February 7th in Morgantown. WVU is coming off a big week in which they beat Kansas at the buzzer on Big Monday and then followed it up with a win over Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Saturday. West Virginia's pressing defense has reaked havoc for opponents all season long but they have generally struggled at scoring in their halfcourt offense. In the first meeting, Baylor was able to control the pace of the game by getting out ahead of the press and getting multitudes of wide open dunks and 3 pointers. The Mountaineers thrive off of turning live ball turnovers into easy transition baskets and while Baylor did turn the ball over 19 times in that game, the Bears were successful more often than not in playing the game at their comfort level. WVU's leading scorer Juwan Staten has taken on a lesser role in the offense this season but he has heated up of late, going for 20+ in each of the two wins last week. West Virginia's press has been better at home than on the road but Baylor will still need to be well prepared to attack the press just as they did in the first meeting. Baylor basketball also announced this morning that this will be the #EveryoneInBlack game so get to the game Saturday afternoon if you can, be loud and wear black.

Big 12 Update

Standings

Kansas continues to lead the pack but they have just a one game lead on Iowa State as the Jayhawks look for their 11th straight Big 12 regular season championship. Baylor currently sits in 5th but was able to put some space between themselves and Oklahoma State and Texas.

STANDINGS CONFERENCE OVERALL
Big 12 W-L GB PCT W-L PCT STRK
#8 Kansas 11-3 -- 0.786 22-5 0.815 W1
#12 Iowa State 10-4 1 0.714 20-6 0.769 W3
#16 Oklahoma 10-5 1.5 0.667 19-8 0.704 W2
#20 West Virginia 9-5 2 0.643 21-6 0.778 W2
#19 Baylor 8-6 3 0.571 20-7 0.741 W2
Oklahoma St 7-8 4.5 0.467 17-10 0.630 L3
Texas 6-8 5 0.429 17-10 0.630 L2
Kansas St 6-9 5.5 0.400 13-15 0.464 L2
TCU 3-11 8 0.214 16-11 0.593 L1
Texas Tech 2-13 9.5 0.133 12-16 0.429 L5

Big 12 Tournament

Hard to believe we're just two weeks away from the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City. Here's what the field would look like if the tournament started today.

Bracketology

ESPN: 5 seed v. Iona
CBS: 4 seed v. Murray State
NBC: 4 seed v. Iona
USA Today: 4 seed v. Valparaiso
SB Nation: 5 seed v. Iona

KenPom

Baylor sits at #12 in KenPom but their AdjD rating went way up this week by virtue of holding Texas Tech and Kansas State to 91 points on 114 possessions (credit to @TWKftw for that stat). That's insanely good. Baylor's resume and advanced numbers have the look of a 3 or 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Strength of Schedule NCSOS
Rank Team Conf W-L Pyth AdjO AdjD AdjT Luck Pyth OppO OppD Pyth
9 Kansas B12 22-5 0.9253 115.4 12 92.7 21 66.9 72 0.113 9 0.7911 1 107 4 95.3 1 0.7423 10
10 Oklahoma B12 19-8 0.9188 110.1 41 89.1 7 68.2 32 -0.043 273 0.7196 6 106.5 10 98.1 15 0.539 133
12 Baylor B12 20-7 0.9108 113.9 15 93.1 29 62.6 287 -0.019 227 0.713 9 104.9 39 96.9 4 0.5076 176
14 Iowa St. B12 20-6 0.9061 118.9 7 97.6 90 70.5 9 0.012 148 0.6941 16 105 34 97.8 11 0.472 217
21 Texas B12 17-10 0.8753 110.2 40 93 27 63.4 259 -0.059 299 0.6893 18 104.8 42 97.8 10 0.4757 214
24 West Virginia B12 21-6 0.8643 109.2 49 93 26 69.4 21 0.074 43 0.6649 28 104.5 51 98.5 19 0.4362 260
30 Oklahoma St. B12 17-10 0.8421 108.2 58 93.5 32 63.6 247 -0.012 213 0.7399 3 105.4 19 96.2 2 0.4828 200
52 TCU B12 16-11 0.7835 103.5 132 92.5 19 64.4 205 -0.067 310 0.5546 107 103 109 101.1 119 0.1858 351
171 Texas Tech B12 12-16 0.4874 97.3 263 97.8 91 62 303 -0.01 208 0.6271 61 104.2 64 99.6 57 0.2688 345

AP Top 25

Baylor jumped up one spot to 19 in this week's poll. Both of Baylor's opponents also can be found in the top 20.

AP Top 25
RK TEAM RECORD PTS
1 Kentucky (65) 27-0 1,625
2 Virginia 25-1 1,526
3 Gonzaga 28-1 1,471
4 Duke 24-3 1,448
5 Wisconsin 25-2 1,390
6 Villanova 25-2 1,306
7 Arizona 24-3 1,228
8 Kansas 22-5 1,111
9 Notre Dame 24-4 1,109
10 Northern Iowa 26-2 1,032
11 Wichita State 25-3 930
12 Iowa State 20-6 887
13 Utah 21-5 876
14 Maryland 22-5 695
15 North Carolina 19-8 655
16 Oklahoma 19-8 622
17 Louisville 21-6 613
18 Arkansas 22-5 564
19 Baylor 20-7 473
20 West Virginia 21-6 453
21 SMU 22-5 357
22 VCU 21-6 182
23 Butler 19-8 165
24 San Diego State 22-6 117
25 Providence 19-8 72