On Thursday, the Big XII released the full schedule for conference basketball play. With every team playing by the end of December 30, this will be the earliest start of Big XII play in conference history. How did the Bears’ schedule shake out? Let’s see.
Baylor’s Big XII Schedule
Baylor Basketbal Schedule 2017-2018.csv
|12/29||AT Texas Tech|
|1/9||AT West Virginia|
|1/13||AT Iowa State|
|1/15||VS Oklahoma State|
|1/22||VS Kansas State|
|2/3||VS Iowa State|
|2/6||AT Oklahoma State|
|2/17||VS Texas Tech|
|2/20||VS West Virginia|
|3/3||AT Kansas State|
On the whole, the schedule doesn’t look too bad for Baylor. Only once will Baylor face Big XII opponents on the road back-to-back when it plays West Virginia in Morgantown and Iowa State in Ames just four days apart. The Bears have had success in Ames recently, but they’ve still got some magic in Hilton Coliseum. Baylor really struggled in Morgantown last season, making that one of the toughest one-two road game combos possible.
It should also be noted that with the Big XII - SEC Challenge in late January, Baylor will also go from Gainesville to Norman. That’s not technically back-to-back road conference games, but Florida is the best team Baylor will have drawn in some time through these conference face-offs. Oklahoma, a very young team last season, is bringing in one of the best point guard recruits in the country in Trae Young, a knock down shooter and nifty scorer. Florida is graduating three significant contributors from an excellent squad that lost in the NCAA Tournament to South Carolina two days after Baylor.
If you’re looking for spots in the schedule for Baylor to slide, centering around those two short road trips is the place to start. The home game against Texas likely will not be a gimme. Smart has brought in too much talent to be bad for long. If Baylor drops that game heading into the WVU-ISU combination, it could spell bad news for the Bears.
Another possibly sticky spot will be the series of games at OK State, home against Kansas, and at UT. Any game against Kansas is as good as a road game. Sandwich that game in between respectable road opponents, and you’ve got another recipe for a possible three game skid. Baylor should be good enough to win on the road against just about anyone, but nothing’s guaranteed.
Overall, Baylor’s schedule is pretty balanced. The Bears will have plenty of opportunities to string together wins. Baylor could easily begin conference play 3-0, and the last five games should all be winnable. Closing the season 4-1 is not out of the realm of possibility and could give the Bears juice heading into the conference tournament.
Other Notable Big XII Games
Kansas at Texas, Dec 29: Possibly the two most talented teams in the conference if you’re counting stars. Texas will have an early opportunity to make a statement.
Oklahoma at West Virginia, January 6: The Sooners lost a lot of games down the stretch last season due to their youth. Lon Kruger will have his guys coached up. Don’t be surprised if OU makes a leap and makes games like this one in Morgantown exciting.
Kansas at West Virginia, January 15: The Jayhawks always seem susceptible against the Mountaineers. Jevon Carter (possibly older than Perry Ellis), will still be suiting up for Bob Huggins.
Texas at West Virginia, January 20: Scheduled for a CBS spot, Shaka Smart could be on the verge of finally, well, winning games as the head coach in Austin. If his team lives up to the hype, this will be an exciting game.
West Virginia at Oklahoma, February 5: Big Monday, big matchup.
Kansas at Iowa State, February 13: You know Kansas will get a whistle at the end to seal it away.
Texas at Oklahoma & West Virginia at Kansas, February 17th: A classic rivalry and a new one.
Oklahoma at Kansas, February 19: Potential to have a big impact at the top of the conference standings.
West Virginia at Texas, March 3: If Texas finally puts everything together, this game will be meaningful for a high seeding in the Big XII Tournament.
The Big XII is a grind year after year, but those are the matchups that stand out this far from the season. Lots could change between here and then, but Baylor should be well positioned to finish in the top half of the conference and enter the NCAA Tournament once again.