Tickets go on sale Monday morning for a first-round NIT game at Fred Bramlage Coliseum, as the Baylor Bears came back from a 12-point second-half deficit to defeat the Kansas State Wildcats 76-74. Baylor has won seven of its last eight games since all-world guard Kenny Chery returned to the lineup. And it’s easy to see why: Chery had a career-high 29 points Saturday afternoon in Manhattan. The Bears whipped the Wildcats last month in Waco.
Baylor seems assured of a spot in the upcoming NCAA tournament, possibly as an eight or nine seed. Kansas State is now looking up at Kansas, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State, Baylor and possibly even West Virginia (due to its upset of Kansas) in the NCAA pecking order. The Big 12 is a deep conference, but it is not deep enough for the Wildcats.
All hope is not lost for the Wildcats, as they have one last chance to impress the Selection Committee during next week’s conference tournament. Kansas State is probably looking at a six seed and an opening game against three seed Texas. The Longhorns should be well-rested and ready for action, coming off games against conference lightweights TCU and Texas Tech, so Bruce May‘s group has their work cut out for themselves if they are to return to the Big Dance for a second-straight year.
The Bears, on the other hand, have clearly regained the mojo that made them an early-season top-10 team. With Chery and three-point sharpshooter Brady Helsip in the backcourt, along with Isaiah Austin, Cory Jefferson and Rico Gathers in the frontcourt, Baylor is going to be a very tough out in the NCAA tournament. Don’t be surprised to see these guys in the Sweet Sixteen, or maybe even deeper than that.
Baylor Bears MBB Tournament Line:
RPI (realtimeRPI.com): 37
Vs. Top 50 RPI: 8-8
Last 10: 7-3