Every year there is one team to fall in love with who will inevitably break your heart. You know the team well…they are talented as can be and have the flashy names that lull you into a false sense of security about their standing in the tournament. Today I found that team for this season and it’s Baylor. The Bears looked good in clamping down on Oklahoma State today, 64-54. With the win, they moved to 13-5 on the season, 4-1 in the Big 12 Conference.
Before tonight’s victory, the school had an RPI of 45, which put them in a bit of a perilous state when it comes to making the tournament. When looking at their schedule, we see wins over Lehigh (99-77), St. John’s (97-78), Kentucky (64-55) and BYU (79-64). Four solid wins for the Bears which they will need because of losses to Northwestern, Charleston and Colorado. They were noncompetitive in a loss to Kansas earlier this month. Three more ranked games left with two of them coming against Kansas State and a home game with the Jayhawks.
You can see why a person would be scared to pencil in Baylor for any sort of run by their inconsistency in the games above. You’d feel a lot better about this team after looking at the roster. The straw that stirs the drink is Pierre Jackson who is scoring 18.6 points per game, with just over six assists per game. Jackson shoots over 40 percent from the field and is a good free throw shooter when it matters. Jackson’s big man is Isaiah Austin who is an absolute freak of nature. Austin puts up nearly 15 points per game with almost nine rebounds per game. The big man has put up less then 10 points just twice this season and has even flashed three-point range in his game.
The third amigo in this squad is Cory Jefferson who is one of the most efficient shooters in America. The lanky forward is shooting 60 percent from the field and has had just seven games where he’s made less then 50 percent. Jefferson is actually averaging more blocks then Austin despite Isaiah’s size advantage. Brady Heslip is the fourth important player on this team, although he is slumping big time. The sharpshooter has scored just 18 points in his last four games shooting 6-of-15 from three-point land over that span. Heslip has to figure things out for this team to go far in March.
When it tourney time comes, if you see Baylor in the field of 68, just ask yourself how you think they are going to do. If they can get Heslip on track and if they can find another scorer in the group of AJ Walton, Gary Franklin and LJ Rose, then it will be playing for awhile. If not, Baylor will drive you nuts when they lose early.