Big 12 Tournament Preview: Baylor vs. Iowa State
Here is everything you need to know about the Baylor Bears and the Iowa State Cyclones in our Bears vs. Cyclones Big 12 Tournament men’s basketball preview.
No. 4 Baylor (22-9, 11-7) vs. No. 5 Iowa State (18-12, 9-9), 11:30 a.m. CT, ESPN2
Season series (Iowa State 2-0): Iowa State def. Baylor, 77-62, in Ames, Iowa, on Dec. 31; Iowa State def. Baylor, 73-58, in Waco, Texas, on March 4.
Winner gets: a Friday semifinal game against the winner of Game 4 at 6 p.m. CT on Friday.
Projected starting lineups
Baylor: G Adam Flagler, G Keyonte George, G LJ Cryer, F Flo Thamba, F Jalen Bridges.
Iowa State: G Jaren Holmes, G Gabe Kalscheur, G Tamin Lipsey, F Tre King, F Robert Jones.
Player to watch
G Adam Flagler: Flagler was named to the Heartland College Sports Big 12 First Team and to the All-Big 12 Coaches’ First Team. Flagler is averaging 15.6 points and 4.8 assists per game while shooting 41.1 percent from the 3-point line. Along with being the Bears’ top shooter from outside, he’s taken over the point-guard role this season, which should interest NBA teams when he makes the jump to the pros after this season.
G Jaren Holmes: The St. Bonaventure transfer was one of the top newcomers in the Big 12 this season. He averaged 13.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists as he earned All-Big 12 Newcomer honors from the league’s coaches and from HCS. Holmes enters the Big 12 Tournament coming off back-to-back 16-point games against West Virginia and Baylor, the latter a Cyclones victory.
The Bears started Big 12 play 0-3, losing to Iowa State, TCU and Kansas State. From there, the Bears turned it around quickly. They won six straight games, including their Big 12-SEC Challenge game against Arkansas, before falling to Texas on the road. The Bears started another four-game winning streak, but after back-to-back losses to Kansas and Kansas State, the Bears’ hopes of claim a share of the Big 12 regular-season title. Still, the Bears figure to be a top seed in the NCAA Tournament, regardless of what happens in Kansas City.
The Cyclones started Big 12 play hot, just like a year ago. The Cyclones won four straight before losing to Kansas. From there, the Cyclones seemed to lose some of their mojo. By early February, the Cyclones were at the start of a funk, as they lost six of their last eight games. The wins were quality. The Cyclones beat TCU and Baylor, both ranked teams. But, they also lost to Kansas State and Texas, but also lost to both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. By the end, the Cyclones had a better league record this season than last.
Baylor 73, Iowa State 67. The Bears lost both meetings in the regular season, losses that bookended the Big 12 schedule. This time, the Bears get the win, even if it will be at Ames South.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.