The Baylor Bears are the Big 12 regular-season champions for the first time in the program’s history.
The Bears (19-1, 11-1 Big 12) claimed the title on Tuesday after defeating West Virginia, 94-89, in overtime.
Baylor has been among the top teams in the nation all season. The Bears fell to No. 3 in both of this week’s polls after falling to Kansas on Saturday. Before that the Bears had been No. 2 in nearly every AP and USA Today Top 25 poll this season.
Guards Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell and MaCio Teague are all up for national awards, including the Wooden Award and the Naismith Award.
All three played a role in the Bears’ win over the Mountaineers. Butler had 25 points, Mitchell had 20 points and Teague had 11. Matthew Mayer scored 18 off the bench.
While the Bears have grown into one of the most consistently good programs in the Big 12 under head coach Scott Drew, this is the first time the program managed to reach the top of the mountain in the regular season.
Before this season, the Bears had managed to finish in second place, or in a tie for second place, three times — 2009 (a share of second place with Kansas State and Texas A&M), 2017 (a share of second place with Iowa State and West Virginia), and 2020 (second place behind Kansas).
In fact, it’s just the sixth regular-season conference title of any kind in program history. Before this title, the Bears last won a conference title in 1949-50, when they shared a part of the Southwest Conference regular-season title.
This also ends the longest regular-season title drought in the Big 12, in terms of any league title. That honor now goes to West Virginia, which last won a regular-season title in the 1988-89 season, when it was a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
In fact, the Mountaineers and the TCU Horned Frogs are now the only two Big 12 teams to have never won the Big 12 regular-season title. TCU’s last regular-season conference title came in 1997-98 as a member of the Western Athletic Conference.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard. Send him a tweet with your question to be included in this week’s Big 12 Basketball Mailbag, which appears each Friday during the conference season.
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