At this point in the college basketball season, the Baylor Bears are considered to be just on the edge of the 2014 NCAA tournament after a midseason slump that saw the Bears lose five-straight Big 12 games at the end of January. Fellow Big 12 members, the West Virginia Mountaineers are considered on the outside of the tournament bubble talk because of their poor performance in the non-conference portion of their schedule.
That’s why when Baylor took on West Virginia in Morgantown the game would be one that the winner still had a possibility of making the 2014 NCAA tournament, and the loser would need a Big 12 Tournament miracle.
It was close for a large portion of the game due to Baylor not having an answer for the Mountaineers’ Eron Harris, who finished the game with 32 points. However, the superior talent of the Bears prevailed as all five of their starters scored in double-digits, and they pulled away late en route to an 88-75 Baylor win.
This game was do-or-die for Baylor, and it showed. West Virginia isn’t a bad team, but at 18-9 without a winning record in conference play, the Bears cannot afford to drop any more games. The win over the Kentucky Wildcats is the only marquee win on their non-conference schedule, so they have to get to above .500 in conference play.
The Big 12 is the most difficult conference in college basketball and the Bears still have four more games in conference play. Baylor needs to win three of their remaining four games in order to secure a spot in the Big Dance, but should only be favored in two of the games. The Bears have a lot of work left to do, but the win over West Virginia was a step in the right direction.