After a 17-0 start (the best start in Baylor history) the #10 Baylor Bears have fallen back to earth in a very deep and competitive Big 12 Conference. The Bears dropped a tough game last night, losing to a gritty Kansas State team at home, 57-56, a game in which they had opportunities to hit a potential game-winning shot and get the much-need win. That didn't happen.
The toughest tests all season have come from Big 12 rivals and legit Final Four contenders in #3 Missouri (25-2, 12-2 Big 12) and #4 Kansas (22-5, 12-2 Big 12). The Bears could not stand tall to either foe, losing twice to the Tigers and Jayhawks. Baylor will likely slip in the new rankings and the schedule will provide another tough road game Feb. 20 at surging Texas (17-10, 7-7 Big 12).
Can Baylor bounce back?
Their final four games before the Big 12 Tourney are at Texas, and then back-to-back home games against Big 12 cellar dwellers Oklahoma and Texas Tech before a very tough road game to end the regular season at Fred Hoiberg's surprise Iowa State team that has logged wins against Kansas, Iowa and Texas this season.
The Bears need a 4-0 or 3-1 finish to head into postseason play with some momentum. Star player Perry Jones III needs to calm down and play smarter as he's been held to five points or less in three of the last four games (all Baylor losses). Jones III finished with more fouls (5) then points (4) in the Saturday's loss to the Wildcats.
Baylor is 5-5 in it's past 10 games after the hot 17-0 start. The Bears are still very dangerous when it comes to the NCAA Tournament with Pierre Jackson at point guard and veteran big man Quicy Acy banging on the low block. They'll light you up on the score board, but the defense needs to pick up the pace to prevent the team's hot start from going to waste.