Currently, the Baylor Bears basketball team sits third in the Big 12 standings, tied with Oklahoma, and two games behind Kansas. After suffering an embarrassing 18-point loss to Texas Tech (that in fairness, doesn’t look all that terrible anymore), the Bears have reeled off two straight wins over ranked opponents knocking off Iowa State (for the second time) and Texas. The Bears hope for a three game win streak as they take on number two Kansas tonight in Waco.
What has been the reason for a surprisingly successful season for Baylor? That’s easy, playing unselfishly.
The Bears are second in the nation in assists at 19.1 per game. Lester Medford dishes out nearly seven assists (8th in the nation) per game to go with averaging 10 points per contest. He only turns the ball over twice per game which makes for an efficient Bears offense.
Chew on this fact: In the overtime win against Iowa State, the Bears had 24 assists to eight turnovers, a 3:1 ratio of assist to turnovers. In the upset loss at home to Texas Tech, the Bears had 15 assists but 16 turnovers. A glaring fact for Baylor, when they share the ball and take care of the ball, they win.
Heading into the Big 12 tournament and March Madness where the game slows down and each possession means everything, the Bears will have to be more patient on offense and utilize Scott Drew’s elaborate offensive scheme. The Bears average nearly 80 points per game and shoots nearly 48% from the floor. Those numbers are going to have to stay consistent, if they want to have a deep run in March.
Once Baylor goes into March, they will be a tough team to prepare for. They kind of remind me of a Mid Major team. No real star power, but they do one thing right and that is taking care of the ball. Baylor rarely beats themselves and in a game where it is one and done, that can play heavily into the Bears favor.
The Big 12 tournament should be one of the best events in the country this season. Anybody from Kansas to Texas Tech can win the tournament. The fact that Baylor is unselfish, with five players averaging double figures, an opposing coach cannot key just on one player like, say, Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield.
The Bears have the luxury of having a player have an off night because there are four other players that can pick up the slack and carry the team. Baylor looks to be a dark horse in March.
I wouldn’t bet against them.
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