The Baylor Bears did more than they had to do with an emotional win over the Iowa State Cyclones. Baylor continued its trend of playing good defense: Only four conference teams have scored 70 or more points against Baylor. As a matter of fact, your intrepid blogger sold the Bears a bit short earlier in the week.
Kansas State University is now just three spots ahead of Baylor in the latest RPI rankings from ESPN, but that could change in a hurry, depending on the outcome of this weekend’s game in Manhattan. The Wildcats were a No. 4 seed in last year’s Big Dance but lost a second-round contest to lightly-regarded LaSalle. This year, Bruce Webber‘s group has something to prove. But the Wildcats are heading in the opposite direction from the improving Bears. In a crushing loss at Oklahoma State, Marcus Foster was held to single digits for one of the first times all year.
The KSU game is still a must-win for both teams, but perhaps more so for Baylor. It appears that the Bears will probably go into the Big 12 conference tournament as the No. 8 seed, setting up a game against pesky Texas Tech followed by a matchup against a rested Kansas team. That combination has “early exit” written all over it. The Wildcats, as the presumed No. 5 seed,would have a game against tanking Iowa State followed by a date with an exhausted Kansas club.
If Baylor cannot answer the bell Saturday, there’s no point in waiting for the phone to ring. Tuesday’s win notwithstanding, the Bears have to beat KSU. It’s that simple.
Baylor University Tournament Resume:
RPI (ESPN): 45
Vs. Top-25 RPI: 2-8
Last 10: 7-3
Good wins: vs. Kentucky in Arlington (12/6), vs. Iowa State (3/4)
Bad loss: at Texas Tech (1/15)