The Baylor Bears head coach Scott Drew told the media earlier in the week that the Bears need to win five of their last seven games to make the NCAA tournament. The Nostradamus-like prediction has teeth. Last season Illinois broke into the NCAA tournament with an 8-10 conference record. After a double-overtime victory against Kansas State Saturday night, the Bears have added ammunition to coach Drew’s statement. Baylor is not dead yet, but still have a tough road ahead of them.
The important thing for the Bears was the end result. Baylor was able to snap a four-game home losing streak and win back-to-back games for the first time in Big 12 Conference play. The Baylor Bears get a good draw on Monday night when they face the ice-cold Oklahoma State Cowboys at home. The Cowboys will still be without their star player Marcus Smart, making a victory on Monday night all the more plausible. If Baylor can eek out another conference win, suddenly they have a three-game winning streak.
The reality will be that the three game winning streak lacks validity. Baylor was able to dismantle TCU with ease, but the Horned Frogs have lose so many players to injury that they have lacked competitive fire throughout conference play. Kansas State was without their senior leader Shane Southwell on Saturday. If Baylor beats Oklahoma State, they will only need three wins to achieve coach Drew’s goal of eight during conference play.
Their last five games will not be a cakewalk. Baylor will have to take a two-game road trip to Morgantown and Austin to face two of the arguably hottest teams in the Big 12. Next they have to face Texas Tech and Iowa State; two teams that outclassed Baylor in their previous matchups. Their finale will be in the Octagon of Doom. Baylor still has a snowball’s chance to make the NCAA tournament, meaning they will have to pull a winning streak out of thin air in order to do so.