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Baylor Bears Get Much-Needed Win Over West Virginia in NCAA Tournament Bubble Showdown

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Taylor Sturm is an SEC Basketball Writer for Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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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 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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