When the big clock struck double zero, when the packed Ferrell Center crowd exploded, the Baylor Bears secured their fifth straight win, their third straight at home against the Kansas Jayhawks, and another one to college basketball. issued a statement. We haven’t gone anywhere, but the Bears are back.
Not bad for a team whose Big 12 season was on life support less than two weeks ago.
The Bears still have issues to work out. They had about a seven-minute stretch in which they failed to score a field goal in the second half.It is deeply concerning that a team with as many shot-making guards as they can’t shorten the game on a half-court offense.Win to see the Still, few people care outside of their own facility. this is perfect. Sport is about enjoying the good while enjoying the good. The Baylor Bears are, well, good.
In fact, the Bears are so good, tying the Division I record by winning 12 of their last 13 games against AP top 10 opponents. Either way, this will lead to a Big 12 tryout and fan confidence in his NCAA Tournament.
Winning is the most important metric, but how Baylor is winning these games is more positive. They’re still a big three-point shooter, but they’ve also put their hands in the passing lane, pushing muscle teams off the board and playing a stubborn defense that puts their opponents in the bonus.
Shoot, without two media timeouts before Kansas coach Bill Self admitted his team was second best on Monday.
All year the Bears lacked complementary basketball against tough competition. In his first three games of the conference, the Bears each lost 75-plus points (two of which were his 85-plus points), and he went 0-3 in a game in the Big 12 with a shocking record.
In five games since then, Baylor has held a team under 68 points a game. In the same stretch, they haven’t lost a rebounding battle in any game, holding each opponent’s shooting to less than 48% he’s shot, forcing more turnovers than he’s surrendered in his last three games.
Their elite guard play is reflected in their winning streak, as each night features a new backcourt hero. Keyyonte George kicked off the streak with a career-high 32 points against West Virginia, Adam Flagler scored a fadeout three to seal a win against Oklahoma on Saturday, and LJ Cryer added 19 points in the first half against Kansas. provided 11 points from Langston Love himself. In the second half, he helped mark the win as one of many Bears with a vicious on-ball defense.
Baylor still lives on three-point shots better than any recent Final Four team had to do, but everything else is exponentially better than it was two weeks ago.
While they’ve largely switched to the competitive zone, their on-ball defense has improved significantly, they’re winning turnover battles, and most importantly, when it’s time for the NCAA Tournament, they suddenly have the best rebounds in the conference. To be seen as one of the team. .
George’s defense is getting better every game, Cryer is maturing as a shoot creator, and Jalen Bridges and Flo Tamba are becoming masters of their area of paint.
Yes, the Bears still have parts of their game that need improvement, but Monday’s win is the closest Baylor has to Scott Drew’s defense all season and one of the teams that can compete to play in April. It’s starting to look like… Also.
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