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Baylor Basketball: Loss To Texas Essentially Bursts Bears’ Bubble

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Kenny Chery’s five three-pointers and 27 points Wednesday night weren’t enough to hold off the No. 24 ranked Texas Longhorns. Longhorn sharpshooter Javan Felix bested Chery’s performance with seven three-pointers of his own, and Cameron Ridley recorded his seventh double-double of the season, registering 20 points and 10 rebounds. Down big early, Baylor stormed back and cut the game to 70-69 with just over a minute to play. Great defense down the stretch helped Texas close the lid on Baylor’s night and possibly their NCAA Tournament dream.

After going 12-1 in non-conference play, Baylor was ranked as high as seventh in the nation when they started Big 12 Conference play against Iowa State. Baylor dropped that game against the Cyclones, but followed it up with an easy win against TCU a few days later on Jan. 11. Flash-forward one month, and in 31 days Baylor only recorded one other conference win. The Bears hit a recent hot streak in mid-February but failed to extend a four-game win streak Wednesday night in Austin.

Baylor, now 18-10 overall and 6-9 in conference play, finds themselves tied with Oklahoma State for seventh in the Big 12. Although thought of as the best conference in college basketball by many, the Big 12 will likely not receive seven bids to the tournament. Even if it does, the Bears’ resume could still have them on the outside looking in.

An extremely inconsistent team, Baylor’s top scorers Cory Jefferson and Brad Heslip make bad habits of disappearing in the middle of big games. 1-7 against the RPI top 25, the team’s only notable victories are an early season win against Kentucky and a double-overtime win against Kansas State on Feb. 15. Baylor beat Oklahoma State in both meetings, which could bode well for them if the two have similar records come Selection Sunday, but the Bears still have lots of work to do. Unless they can win out and make a decent run in the Big 12 tournament, consider Baylor’s bubble officially burst.

Taylor Henrichs is a contributor for the Minnesota Twins for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @taylor_henrichs, “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 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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