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Monday Shootaround: EVERYTHING IS AWESOME

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The Bears look to continue their dominant rampage through the Big 12 against Oklahoma State and Kansas.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Week In Review

Baylor 77 TCU 57
57
TCU
(14-8, 1-8)
1ST 2ND F
29 28 57
37 40 77

Box ScoreQuotesNotesBaylor Photos
USATI Photos

Waco, Texas • Attendance: 5,405

77
BAYLOR
(17-5, 5-4)

You know what it's like to repeatedly destroy your little brother in Mortal Kombat but he feels like he's going to win the NEXT time so he keeps playing you and keeps failing miserably? That kind of describes the Baylor/TCU rivalry in men's basketball right now. The Bears put away the Horned Frogs with a 13-0 run early in the second half but really felt as if they were in control throughout. Rico Gathers led the Bears with 14 points and 17 rebounds but the Bears had four other players in double figures in scoring. The Baylor offense continued its stretch of solid play, shooting 49% from the field and having an assist to turnover ratio of better than 2:1 for the second consecutive game. Amric Fields had 14 points for TCU but Baylor slowed Kyan Anderson to just 9 points on 3-9 shooting. With the win, Baylor is now 7-0 against TCU since the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12 before the 2012-13 season, winning by an average of almost 19 points per game. This got the Bears to 5-4 at the halfway point of Big 12 play leading into what appeared to be a tough road game at West Virginia on Saturday afternoon.

Baylor 87 West Virginia 69
87
BAYLOR
(18-5, 6-4)
1ST 2ND F
46 41 87
30 39 69

Box ScoreQuotesNotes
USATSI Photos

Morgantown, W.Va. • Attendance: 12,783

69
W. VIRGINIA
(18-5, 6-4)

Well I mean we thought this game would be tough but nah. Sweet press I guess, West Virginia. Baylor took complete control of this game from the very beginning and never took the foot off the gas in route to an 87-69 win in Morgantown. This was West Virginia's worst home loss in over 7 years, since Cincinnati beat the Mountaineers 62-39 in 2008 back when WVU was a part of the Big East. The Bears ran out to a 23-3 start as they carved up West Virginia's press in route to several easy layups and wide open 3 pointers while holding the Mountaineers without a field goal for nearly 9 minutes after WVU scored on it's first possession. Rico Gathers was a manchild yet again with 17 points and 17 boards (more on him below). Royce O'Neale also contributed one of his best games of the season with 15 points to go along with 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. Baylor did turn the ball over 19 times against WVU's aggressive defense but when they beat the press in the backcourt, they usually converted into points. The Bears shot a season high 55% from the field, their best mark since shooting 64% in the NCAA Tournament win over Creighton last March. This was one of the most well prepared game plans that I've seen from Scott Drew and his staff. It was a truly impressive performance that caught the attention of the rest of the Big 12 as well as several national media members. Baylor is a force to be reckoned with right now and this game announced that loud and clear.

Gathers Named Big 12 Player of the Week

For the second time in three weeks, Rico Gathers was named the player of the week by the Big 12 Conference. Rico put up a mere 31 points and 34 rebounds in Baylor's two wins against TCU and West Virginia. He continues to be just an absolute menace on the glass, averaging 13.3 boards/game in conference play and has seven games of at least 15 rebounds this season. And if Rico gets a head of steam going towards the bucket, you just best get out the way.

Looking Ahead

Oklahoma State at Baylor
Ferrell Center (Waco, TX)
TONIGHT, 6:00 PM CT
ESPNU

Big Monday (ESPNU edition) hits Waco TONIGHT as the Oklahoma State Cowboys head into the friendly confines of the Ferrell Center. Baylor will try to continue its hot streak against an OSU team that is also on a pretty good roll right now, coming off of a big win at home on Saturday against Kansas. The Cowboys were also the last team to beat the Bears as OSU won 64-53 two weeks ago in Stillwater. Baylor simply did not play well on either end of the court that night, allowing Oklahoma State to shoot 50% from the 3 point line while running into some major issues on the offensive end. Kenny Chery and Royce O'Neale combined for more turnovers (9) than points (6). Safe to say, I wouldn't expect those numbers to repeat themselves tonight with the way those two have played since that game and the way the team has played at home this season. Oklahoma State is better than one might think on the defensive end as they are aggressive in taking away the basketball and have Michael Cobbins down low to protect the rim. The Bears need to do a much better job in attacking the Cowboys with good ball movement than they did in the first meeting. OSU is too athletic on the defensive end to consistently beat them off the dribble. This would appear to be a game that the Bears have the upper hand since Oklahoma State has not won in Waco since January 14, 2006. Also, contrary to the erroneous news reported earlier today on Twitter by yours truly, Baylor will NOT be wearing black uniforms tonight but they will make an appearance at either the Kansas State or West Virginia home game later this month.

Baylor at Kansas
Allen Fieldhouse (Lawrence, KS)
Feb. 14, 12:00 PM CT
CBS

And then there is this game. If the Bears can knock off Oklahoma State on Monday night, this game all of a sudden has potential Big 12 regular season championship implications for both teams. As is well known, Kansas is absolutely lethal at Allen Fieldhouse since Bill Self became the coach in 2003. The Jayhawks again sit atop the Big 12 standings in part because they are undefeated at home this season. Baylor played KU extremely tough in the first meeting in Waco back on January 7 in a game that Baylor really should have found a way to win. The Bears stymied the high powered Kansas offense, giving BU a chance at the end as the Baylor offense struggled mightily outside of a 23 point performance from Kenny Chery. Kansas has improved since the previous meeting, mainly through the play of guards Wayne Selden, Kelly Oubre and Brannen Greene while Frank Mason has been a catalyst all season for the Jayhawks. Baylor will need to limit KU's transition opportunities that will get the crowd involved and let the Jayhawks get on one of their patented runs at home that can absolutely bury an opponent before they know what hit them. This will certainly be an exciting game for Baylor fans to watch our team at one of college basketball's legendary venues with a national stage on CBS. And yes gentlemen, sources confirm that Saturday is Valentine's Day but you gotta let bae know that noon to 2 is all you homie.

Big 12 Update

Kansas is still in control of the Big 12 standings but after losing to Oklahoma State on Saturday, they're no longer the total slam dunk that they appeared to be. Iowa State is still right in the thick of things with Oklahoma, Baylor and West Virginia in the picture as well.

STANDINGS CONFERENCE OVERALL
Big 12 W-L GB PCT W-L PCT STRK
#8 Kansas 8-2 -- 0.8 19-4 0.826 L1
#14 Iowa State 7-3 1 0.7 17-5 0.773 W1
#17 Oklahoma 7-4 1.5 0.636 16-7 0.696 W4
#16 Baylor 6-4 2 0.6 18-5 0.783 W3
#21 West Virginia 6-4 2 0.6 18-5 0.783 L2
#21 Oklahoma St 6-5 2.5 0.545 16-7 0.696 W2
Kansas St 5-6 3.5 0.455 12-12 0.5 L4
Texas 4-6 4 0.4 15-8 0.652 W1
Texas Tech 2-9 6.5 0.182 12-12 0.5 L1
TCU 1-9 7 0.1 14-9 0.609 L6

KenPom

Well looky who is in the Top 10 now in both adjusted offensive rating AND overall ranking? In case you were wondering just how well your Baylor Bears are playing right now.

Strength of Schedule NCSOS
Rank Team Conf W-L Pyth AdjO AdjD AdjT Luck Pyth OppO OppD Pyth
9 Oklahoma B12 16-7 0.938 109.5 45 86.4 3 68.2 40 -0.063 300 0.7244 3 106.4 4 97.8 14 0.5594 107
10 Baylor B12 18-5 0.9283 115.5 10 92.4 26 62.8 289 -0.008 208 0.7058 8 104.3 40 96.7 4 0.5144 162
12 Kansas B12 19-4 0.9199 114 18 92.2 23 67.6 56 0.145 3 0.7895 1 106.6 3 95 1 0.7371 10
19 Iowa St. B12 17-5 0.8823 116.9 9 98.1 101 70.5 14 0.004 181 0.6303 47 103.6 72 98.9 35 0.4594 229
20 West Virginia B12 18-5 0.8679 108.1 58 91.8 20 70.7 11 0.048 82 0.6241 50 102.7 108 98.3 22 0.4384 261
21 Oklahoma St. B12 16-7 0.8672 106.8 75 90.7 15 64.4 212 0.006 177 0.6976 11 103.7 65 96.4 2 0.4682 215
22 Texas B12 15-8 0.8672 109.5 43 93 31 64.1 236 -0.031 255 0.683 15 104.1 48 97.4 7 0.4811 204
59 TCU B12 14-9 0.7716 102.6 152 92.3 24 64 237 -0.08 320 0.5009 150 101.9 154 101.9 174 0.1936 351
96 Kansas St. B12 12-12 0.6809 104.3 110 97.7 98 61.8 312 -0.016 226 0.6654 24 103.8 60 97.8 12 0.4758 210
169 Texas Tech B12 12-12 0.4851 97.1 262 97.6 93 63 282 0.031 116 0.5614 90 102.7 107 100.5 95 0.253 346

AP Top 25

Baylor is up 3 spots to #16, their highest ranking of the season and highest February ranking since the Elite Eight team of 2012. The Bears are one of six Big 12 teams in this week's Top 25.

AP Top 25
RK TEAM RECORD PTS
1 Kentucky (65) 23-0 1,625
2 Virginia 21-1 1,518
3 Gonzaga 24-1 1,486
4 Duke 20-3 1,450
5 Wisconsin 21-2 1,385
6 Villanova 21-2 1,294
7 Arizona 20-3 1,185
8 Kansas 19-4 1,171
9 Louisville 19-4 1,120
10 Notre Dame 21-4 948
11 Utah 18-4 946
12 North Carolina 18-6 871
13 Northern Iowa 22-2 846
14 Iowa State 17-5 842
15 Wichita St 21-3 743
16 Baylor 18-5 694
17 Oklahoma 16-7 565
18 Butler 18-6 462
19 Maryland 19-5 347
20 Virginia Commonwealth 18-5 296
21 West Virginia 18-5 273
21 Oklahoma St 16-7 273
23 Ohio State 18-6 271
24 Arkansas 18-5 221
25 SMU 19-5 81