The Baylor Bears started this season 12-2, and everyone in Waco, Texas was excited. Despite losses to Syracuse and Iowa State, there was electricity in something other than the Bears’ bright neon uniforms.
However, a relatively weak schedule before Big 12 play has done little to prepare the Bears for what they have faced in recent days. And their record over the last four games certainly adds fuel to that fire. Since beating a hapless TCU team on Jan. 11, the Bears have lost three-straight conference games, with very little hope for improvement.
Consider two of the Bears’ weapons: a one-trick pony in three-point specialist Brady Heslip; take away his stroke and he is essentially a non-factor. Baylor also relies on a versatile 7-footer Isaiah Austin, who is actually not all that versatile. The slim center scores just above 10 points per game and averages almost as many turnovers (2.4) as he does blocks (2.8). His game has just not developed as far as coach Scott Drew had hoped.
Over the course of Big 12 Conference play, the Bears’ defensive weaknesses will continue to be exposed. While their opponents averaged just under 67 points per game through their first 17 games, the Bears are giving up over 78 points in their three conference losses.
There is certainly time for the Baylor Bears to recover and keep pace with current Big 12 leaders Kansas and Kansas State. But at 1-4, one game away from the conference cellar, the Bears must make a move quickly. A brutal stretch with six games against the top of the conference will allow the Bears to either rise up … or fall down further.
However, based on what the Baylor Bears have shown so far, we should not expect much down the stretch.
Written by Darin Anderson. Follow me on Twitter @coachdarin22 and Facebook darin.anderson1.