Week In Review
#17 Baylor 69 Oklahoma State 65
Stillwater, Oklahoma • Attendance: 7,148
Baylor was able to do what Kansas was not the week prior, and that was winning in Stillwater as the Bears played a strong 2nd half to sneak out of town with a 69-65 win. Oklahoma State is a team that has struggled for much of the 2015-16 season but they are always incredibly tough at home so this was another great win for Scott Drew's squad. Baylor got off to another sluggish start on the road and fell behind by as many as 12 behind OSU's hot shooting start. But the Bears became more active in their zone defense, limiting the number of open looks for the Cowboys and getting hands in passing lanes to force turnovers. Baylor came out in the 2nd half determined to get the ball inside to Rico Gathers and Rico turned on beast mode, scoring on the first 3 possessions of the half and ended up the night with 16 points and 9 rebounds. Taurean Prince also stepped his game up late, hitting some big shots in iso situations to help maintain Baylor's late lead. But the biggest basket of the night came from Ish Wainright, who hit a short hook in the lane with just over 30 seconds to go to extend Baylor's lead to 3. OSU would bring it to within 1 but Prince and Gathers hit key free throws to put the game on ice. Baylor has now won 3 straight conference road games, which is a gargantuan achievement in this year's Big 12.
#17 Baylor 83 Georgia 73
Waco, Texas • Attendance: 9,675
The Bears did their part in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, riding a fantastic start to the 2nd half to cruise to a 10 point win over Georgia in front of another AWESOME home crowd at the Ferrell Center. The Bulldogs got off to the better start as they were able to find their outside shooting touch in the early going, hitting four 3's and allowing the UGA starting guards to combine for 24 1st half points. But the Bears came out guns blazing in the 2nd half, scoring 14 points on the first 5 possessions of the half. This quickly turned a 5 point deficit into a 12 point Baylor lead and one that the Bears would never relinquish. Rico Gathers led the team with 17 points but Al Freeman was the real catalyst, scoring all 14 of his points in the 2nd half. Taurean Prince, Johnathan Motley and King McClure also were in double figure scoring as the Bears had an extremely efficient and balanced offensive performance in the 2nd half. Baylor's depth really showed through in this game as well, outscoring Georgia 26-7 in bench points. And I must point out that the new Nike Volt jerseys were dead sexy and they looked great with the t-shirt giveaway that was done in the arena on Saturday night. The Baylor win was part of a 7-3 win for the Big 12 over the SEC this weekend, the third straight year that the Big 12 has run away with the competition.
Texas @ #15 Baylor
Ferrell Center (Waco, TX)
TONIGHT, 8:00 PM CT
BLACKOUT BACK. Baylor hosts Texas TONIGHT in the first meeting between the two teams this year, which means it will be our first chance to look at new UT coach Shaka Smart's "havoc" approach. The Longhorns are quietly playing some of the best basketball in the Big 12 right now, having won 5 of 6 with the only loss being at Allen Fieldhouse. Prince Ibeh has stepped up huge for Texas in the wake of a foot injury to Cameron Ridley. And Baylor fans are more than familiar with guards Isaiah Taylor and Javon Felix, both of whom have commanded the UT backcourt for several years now. This game will mark the halfway point in the conference schedule and Baylor has a chance to not only get to 7-2 in league play, but also to maintain their piece of 1st place in the Big 12 heading into back to back road games. We gotta have the Ferrell Center rocking tonight and make sure you wear black or at the very least your darkest variety of gray.
#15 Baylor @ #14 West Virginia
WVU Coliseum (Morgantown, WV)
Feb. 6, 7:00 PM CT
Country roads take us to Morgantown this weekend as the Bears meet up with West Virginia for the first time in 2016. WVU was off to a fantastic start this season and looked to have the making of a conference title contender. But the Mountaineers have fallen off a bit the last couple weeks and are now without Jonathan Holton, a key player for them both offensively and as part of their press defense. This limits the amount of length that West Virginia can throw at opponents in their full court traps, and may make life a bit easier on the Baylor backcourt. Scott Drew had the special sauce against WVU last season as the Bears won all 3 meetings by an average of 13.3 points/game. But Kenny Chery and Royce O'Neale are unfortunately out of eligibility, and so it will be crucial for Lester Medford and Jake Lindsey to be strong with the basketball and not allow WVU to get easy baskets out of their press. If you can regularly get across halfcourt against the Mountaineers, it ends up working like a fast break for the opponent. And the Bears are a very capable team in the open court. It should be a fascinating matchup that will have serious Big 12 title implications.
Big 12 Update
We've reached February and Baylor is still tied for first.
|#14 West Virginia||6-2||--||0.750||17-4||0.810||L1|
|#13 Iowa State||5-3||1||0.625||16-5||0.762||L1|
#14 Iowa State 85 #4 Kansas 72
#9 West Virginia 70 Kansas State 55
#1 Oklahoma 91 Texas Tech 67
Texas 71 TCU 54
Florida 88 #9 West Virginia 71
Texas 72 Vanderbilt 58
Kansas State 69 Ole Miss 64
TCU 75 Tennessee 63
#5 Texas A&M 72 #14 Iowa State 62
Arkansas 75 Texas Tech 68 (OT)
#1 Oklahoma 77 LSU 75
#4 Kansas 90 #20 Kentucky 84 (OT)
Oklahoma State 74 Auburn 63
AP Top 25
The Bears jump back into the top 15 this week. The Big 12 has FIVE teams in the top 15, which is certifiably insane. OU remains in the top spot for the third straight week.
|2||North Carolina (20)||19-2||1,578|
|Others receiving votes: Saint Mary's 63, USC 40, Utah 33, VCU 33, Notre Dame 21, Michigan 21, Valparaiso 7, Duke 6, Pittsburgh 4, Florida 3, Saint Joseph's 1, Texas 1, Stony Brook 1, San Diego State 1|
|Dropped from rankings: Duke 24, Notre Dame 25|