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Can the Baylor Bears Make a Final Big 12 Surge?

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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Baylor Bears have quietly become one of the better programs in the country. While they might have officially become the best hoops program in the state of Texas, I am sure Baylor was hoping for a much better 2012-13 campaign. The Bears only have 16 wins with a mere five games left to play this season. This has put them so far on the wrong side of the bubble that a late season surge is much needed.

Later today, Baylor faces an Oklahoma Sooners team that finds themselves in a much similar situation. Now, while the Sooners don’t need an epic run to the degree Baylor does, losing today would be a bad way to start a final run towards the NCAA Tournament. The Selection Committee has been known to be big fans of teams that finish strong, and have an equal dislike for teams faltering at the end.

Baylor’s last five games aren’t easy. Two nationally-ranked teams are still on the docket, while the Sooners are no pushovers.

Every game left on their schedule is a must-win, as Baylor has hit the “Run or done” portion of their season.

It is really simple for the Bears the rest of the season. If they want to continue their journey as one of the best programs in the country, they need to win, and make the NCAA Tournament. That’s not to say they aren’t allowed to miss it one season, regroup, and come back the next; but, in what is supposed to be a down year anyway, an appearance in the tourney can quickly propel their program as one of the premier places to play in the country.

The NCAA Tournament provides plenty of national exposure. Exposure is the only thing that Baylor lacks for their program. While Baylor doesn’t need to make the dance, it would be the quickest way possible to achieve college basketball domination.

Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Joe on Twitter @JosephNardone

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NCAA Tournament Profile: Baylor Bears

Record: 24-9

RPI: 10

BPI: 19

Conference: Big 12 Conference

How They Qualified: At-Large Berth

Region: No. 3 seed in West

 

The Baylor Bears didn’t win the Big 12 title, but there was no question that they were an NCAA tournament team entering the Big 12 tourney. That tends to be the case when a team is ranked in the top 25 entering the final week of the season.

The Bears had the pleasure of playing in the dance last season, but they went down to the Wisconsin Badgers, who ended up making a run to the Final Four.

This time around, they have the talent to make a similar run to Wisconsin’s, and playing in the very deep Big 12 certainly didn’t hurt. Translation: Baylor is tournament tested, if you will.

 

What You Need to Know:

Leading Scorer: Taurean Prince (13.8 PPG)

Leading Rebounder: Rico Gathers (11.6 RPG)

Leading Passer: Kenny Chery (4.0 APG)

Bad Losses: None

Good Wins: Iowa State (twice), Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia (x3)

 

Would you look at all of those quality wins. Iowa State, Oklahoma and West Virginia all have the talent to make a Final Four run. All three of those teams won’t make that type of run, but the talent is still definitely there.

Although Baylor doesn’t exactly have star power, said star power doesn’t always mean everything, especially in a tournament as crazy as the Big Dance. The team does have four players who are averaging 10+ points per game, and can keep up with the best of them. Once again, the Bears did manage to knock off Iowa State … twice.

The Baylor Bears are dancing!

Trevor Lowry is a Content Associate at RantSports.com. If you’re a tweeter feel free to follow him @TheTrevorLowry, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

The Baylor Bears may have had an early exit last season, but this year's squad has the talent to make a serious run.

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