The Baylor Bears have a long history in the NCAA Tournament. Here we dive into that history and other notable facts about the Bears’ appearances in March Madness.
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 1946, 1948, 1950, 1988, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021.
Final Four Appearances: 1948, 1950.
National Championship Game Appearances: 1948.
National Titles: None.
Remember This About Baylor in the NCAA Tournament
The National Title Game appearance: Back in 1948, the NCAA Tournament was a bit more ‘exclusive.’ It was barely 10 years old and back then, just eight teams were invited. Baylor played in the West Region with Kansas State, Washington and Wyoming. The East Region featured Columbia, Holy Cross, Kentucky and Michigan. The Bears played their regional games in the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri, and beat Washington, 64-62. A day later, the Bears beat Kansas State, 60-52, to advance to the national championship game at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Bears were at a disadvantage. First, the game was three days after the regional final. Second, their opponent, Kentucky, was already there, as the East Regional was at MSG. Kentucky won the championship game, 58-42. The Bears made one other Final Four appearance in 1950, again in an eight-team field. The Bears beat BYU, but followed that with a loss to Bradley in the national semifinals, and then a loss to North Carolina State in the third-place game.
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Drought Conditions: After that 1950 showing, the Bears were basically a no-show on the NCAA stage. Between 1950 and 2008, the Bears’ first NCAA Tournament appearance under head coach Scott Drew, the Bears made one NCAA Tournament appearance in 1988. The Bears won 23 games that year, finished second in the Southwest Conference and were coached by Gene Iba, the nephew of legendary Oklahoma State coach Henry Iba. Anchored by future NBA player Michael Williams and Darryl Middleton, the Bears reached the championship game of the SWC Tournament before losing to SMU. From there, the selection committee seeded the Bears No. 8 in the Midwest Region, where they lost to No. 9 seed Memphis State, 75-60.
The Resurrection: Scott Drew led the program back from an abyss of scandal and not only made the Bears respectable, but turned them into an Elite Eight team in 2010 and 2012, their first appearances that deep in the tournament since those 1948 and 1950 teams. In 2010, the Bears, as a No. 3 seed, defeated Sam Houston State, 68-59; Old Dominion, 76-68; and Saint Mary’s, 72-49; to reach the Elite Eight. All three of their opponents had been double-digit seeds. Duke was the No. 1 seed in the region, and the Blue Devils beat the Bears, 78-71, on their way to a national championship. In 2012, the Bears were again a No. 3 seed and, again, beat three double-digit seeds on their way to the Elite Eight. The Bears beat South Dakota State, 68-60; Colorado, 80-63; and Saint Mary’s, 72-49. In the regional final, the Bears faced No. 1 seeded Kentucky and lost, 82-70.
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