Drew's Checklist Shrinking with Each Win
Oh, and Ekpe Udoh established a new Big 12 Conference single-season blocked shots record.
Next time you play Trivial Pursuit, Baylor/ISP Sports Network radio color analyst Pat Nunley may not be your final answer...Nunley, a freshman guard on the next-to-last Baylor team to win in Norman in 1977, is no longer the answer to a 32-year-old trivia question after the 24th-ranked Baylor Bears snapped their 14-game Norman losing streak with a 70-63 win at Oklahoma Saturday afternoon.
Baylor has erased 32 years of frustration with two series-ending victories. The Bears endured 30 consecutive losses to the Sooners. Now, the Bears have won back-to-back games (as well as complete the season sweep) over Oklahoma for the first time since Dec. 1954.
Head coach Scott Drew's checklist continues to shrink with each passing victory:
Seriously, when was the last time Baylor could boast two-game winning streaks over both Oklahoma and Texas? In the same season? That would be the 1954-55 season when Baylor swept Oklahoma in two regular season meetings in Dec. 1954 and the Bears later completed the three-game sweep of the Longhorns.
LaceDarius Dunn is still en fuego. Dunn scored 20-plus points for the second time against the Sooners in 2010 and for the 28th time in his career. Dunn (1,571) now sits just 618 points shy of Baylor's all-time leading scorer, Terry Teagle (2,189). For the record, Dunn scored 614 points last season in 39 games; he has 536 in 28 games this season. Dunn is one of the most prolific scorers in all of college basketball. Don't believe us? Maybe you should read what Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel had to say about Mr. Dunn:
"I think LaceDarius Dunn is one of the best scorers in college basketball. He and (Oklahoma State's) James Anderson are the best two pure scorers in our league. James is a little bit better because he can do it in different ways, but Lace is probably the best shot-maker."The Bears are now in the driver's seat for one of the top four seeds in the 2010 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship in Kansas City.
A Second Sooner State Saturday
In January, Baylor ended its 30-game losing streak to Oklahoma, throttling the Sooners 91-60 in Waco and posting its first win over the Sooners in the Big 12 era.
Late last month, the Bears ended an 11-game losing streak in Austin, recording its second straight victory over the Texas Longhorns with an 80-77 OT triumph in the capital city.
Wednesday's 70-66 win over Texas A&M gave the Bears a win over all five Big 12 "South" rivals - a Big 12 era first for Baylor.
Now the Bears will try to do something they haven't done since 1977...win in Norman.
Baylor (21-6, 8-5), ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll for a school record-tying seventh consecutive week, is 1-26 all-time in Big 12 Conference games in Oklahoma and has lost 14 straight contests at OU's Lloyd Noble Center. 1977. Baylor/ISP Sports Network color analyst Pat Nunley was a freshman guard for the Bears at the time, teaming up with future NBA great Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson.
History does not bode well for Baylor entering Saturday...In its previous 13 trips to Norman in the Big 12 era, Baylor is averaging 58.9 points per game and has lost by an average margin of 23.5 points. But, then again, the Bears have squashed history numerous times this season.
We'll save our pre-game soliloquy...Everything you need to know for Saturday is located here.
Don't forget: Saturday's game will tip at 12:47 p.m. on the Big 12 Network. Check your BaylorBears.com local listings.
February's Final Friday Afternoon Bracketology
A February Final Friday Afternoon Bracketology for your thoughts...
Prior to Wednesday's 70-66 win over rival Texas A&M in the 201st edition of the Battle of the Brazos, the 24th-ranked Baylor Bears had been bouncing all over the Bracketology boards...anywhere from spots 4 through 9.
Well, in today's Friday Afternoon Bracketology, it appears the Bears are a solid choice for the No. 5/6 seed lines:
1977 was a Much Simpler Time
Jimmy Carter was President. A gallon of gas cost just 65 cents and a brand new BMW 320i set consumers back only $7,990. The first Apple II computers went on sale and the Trans Alaskan Oil Pipeline opened.
Vinnie Johnson led Baylor in scoring with 23.0 points per game and Baylor/ISP Sports Radio Network color analyst Pat Nunley was a freshman guard at Baylor. And Baylor defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 75-67 in Norman.
The year was 1977.
Dec. 6, 1977: the last time Baylor defeated Oklahoma in Norman - a streak of 14 consecutive losses. A streak that is a bit skewed (just like Baylor's 30-game losing streak to OU which was snapped Jan. 9). You see, before the creation of the Big 12 Conference, Baylor and Oklahoma did not play ever year. Between 1977 and the first year of the Big 12 in 1997, Baylor played Oklahoma only one in Norman (a loss).
Jan. 9, 2010: Baylor ended 30-games-worth of frustration by routing Oklahoma 91-60 in Waco.
So far, 2010 has been the year of ending streaks, snapping a 30-game losing streak to Oklahoma and an 11-game losing streak to Texas in Austin. Is the 14-game losing streak to OU in Norman next?
A Blogable Potpourri of Sorts
Three posts in one day. Either a) we're bored, b) we're busy or c) there's so much going on that we needed to blog three times today. C is your correct answer.
Here are few more Baylor basketball notes to get you through the rest of your day...
A CONFERENCE SWEEP...of sorts
Tweety and Lace...The Next JMo and Pat?
By season's end, Louisiana natives Tweety Carter and LaceDarius Dunn will go down as the best 3-point shooting duo in Baylor history. "The Bayou Bombers" have combined for a school-record 531 trifectas over their careers in Waco. Now that they have perfected the long-range jumper, how about a career in broadcasting?
Judging by these photos, Tweety and Lace could be the next John Morris and Pat Nunley. If only we had audible evidence of their play-by-play and color analysis...
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
Pack Your Bags 'Cause the Bears Are Going Dancin'
San Jose, Calif.
Go ahead and pencil in the Baylor Bears for one of those aforementioned cities come March. Baylor notched its 21st win of the season with a 70-66 triumph over No. 22 Texas A&M before a season-high crowd of 10,094 in the Ferrell Center Wednesday night. The win also signifies that Baylor will finish with a conference mark of at least .500 for only the third time in the Big 12 era. That's impressive.
Perhaps more impressive? Baylor now has 14 home wins this season, tying a Ferrell Center record (also win 14 in 1996-97, 2000-01 and 2008-09). Win or lose vs. Texas, Baylor will finish with its fewest losses ever in the Ferrell Center...
With three games left, the Bears are now faced with yet another epic task - winning in Norman, Okla. That's another blog...for Friday. Baylor is currently in a three-way tie for fourth with Texas and Texas A&M. The battle for one of the highly coveted four first-round byes in the Big 12 Championship will, just like it was scripted, be decided (more than likely) on the final day of the regular season.
The 201st edition of the Battle of the Brazos lived up to the hype...Here's our look at the Day After Headlines:
Grab your dancin' shoes, BaylorNation. The Bears are postseason-bound for the third consecutive season - a program first. Now, the Bears are looking for a first-round in the Big 12 Championship. The script sure does play out for an exciting final week and a half to the regular season...
Just like our buddy Stephen Howard said last night postgame on ESPNU: Holla at your boy cuz we're outta here (for now).
Push All Bracketology and RPI Aside...Wednesday's Clash Has Big 12 First-Round Bye and NCAA Tournament Implications
Waxing philosophic about Bracketology is fun and all, but Bracketology is indeed just that - fun. It gives us something to talk about, but it doesn't mean a thing until we see 'BAYLOR' flash on the TV screen during CBS' Road to the Final Four NCAA Selection Show in three weeks. We said it during the first segment of the State Farm Baylor Hour Monday and we'll say it again: A Baylor win Wednesday over the Aggies and the Bears are dancin'. Write that down. The unofficial demarcation line is an 8-8 mark in Big 12 play. A Baylor win Wednesday over Texas A&M will clinch no worse than a .500 conference mark for the Bears for only the third time in the Big 12 era.
No. 24 Baylor (20-6, 7-5) will need to win twice this week if it wants to set a new school record for consecutive weeks ranked in the AP Top 25. We know this. The Bears host the No. 22/23 Texas A&M Aggies (19-7, 8-4) tonight at 8 p.m. on ESPNU in the 201st installment of the Battle of the Brazos. A&M sits one game ahead of the Bears in the Big 12 standings in one of the highly coveted top four spots. As evident in the Big 12 Championship title game last season, having a top-four seed in the league tournament is crucial...it could possibly signify the difference between Big 12 Tournament champion and Big 12 Tournament runner-up.
So, how important is tonight's game with Texas A&M? Very. Ekpe Udoh, Quincy Acy and Josh Lomers will all need to play a huge role for the Bears tonight...But the 'X Factor' could be A&M's Donald Sloan/B.J. Holmes vs. Baylor's Tweety Carter/LaceDarius Dunn.
PREVIEWING TEXAS A&M
LAST TIME VS. TEXAS A&M (FEB. 6, 2010)
LAST TIME VS. TEXAS A&M IN WACO (FEB. 14, 2009)
A BAYLOR WIN WOULD...
Tonight's ESPNU telecast will feature the vocal stylings of Carter Blackburn (play-by-play) and Stephen Howards (analyst). For those of you planning to attend tonight's game and DO NOT have a ticket, you may want to purchase those very soon...There aren't many tickets remaining.
And if you decide to stay home, be sure to turn down the sound on your TV and turn up your radio dial to 1660 ESPN with The Voice of the Baylor Bears John Morris and color commentator extraordinaire Pat Nunley beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Monday Afternoon Bracketology
Baylor's NCAA Tournament projection has run the gamut since the beginning of January. And, as we enter the last full week in February, that notion really hasn't change...at all. This week, we'll start at the top of the spectrum with CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm.
After seeing his latest projection, we like Jerry more and more. For those that may or may not remember, Palm was one of the media members invited to the NCAA Tournament mock selection in Indianapolis a few weeks back. In his latest bracket, Palm has Baylor with its highest Bracketology seeding ever as a No. 4 in San Jose, Calif., against the Golden Flashes of Kent State. Baylor/Kent State would be paired up with No. 5 Wisconsin/No. 12 Utah State.
In the "let's keep it interesting" category...
TheHoopsReport.com lists Baylor as a No. 5 seed against No. 12 Virginia Tech (name ring a bell?) in the Syracuse Region. Not only would the first round see an interesting match-up, but the second round could have the potential of seeing head coach Scott Drew face his alma mater, Butler.
SI.com's Andy Glockner still likes the Bears as one of the region's top six seeds...Glockner has Baylor on the No. 6 seed line against No. 11 Mississippi State in Buffalo. The Baylor/Mississippi State winner would face either No. 3 Pittsburgh or No. 14 Oakland (projected Summit League automatic bid) in the second round.
Baylor's still holding a pair of lucky 7s...
The fellas over at Bracketography.com still like the Bears as No. 7 seed...and they still like them in Providence, R.I....against an Atlantic 10 team. Baylor is matched up with No. 10 Charlotte. The winner? Well that team could possibly face No. 2 Pittsburgh or projected Sun Belt Conference champion North Texas.
Sticking with the seven-seed theme...Rush The Court has the Bears No. 7 against No. 10 Old Dominion in Jacksonville. Even better: RTC still projects Baylor to defeat No. 2 Duke and advance to the Elite Eight to face Purdue for a shot at the Final Four.
The final two Bracketology reports have Baylor dropping to a No. 8 seed:
ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi also has Baylor facing Virginia Tech in the first round in Milwaukee. The winner would more than likely face No. 1 Purdue in the second round.
FOXSports.com/Bracketology 101 projects Baylor as a No. 8 seed in New Orleans against cross-state foe UTEP in the first round. Baylor/UTEP is currently slotted with No. 1 Kentucky/No. 16 Jacksonville.
ROUNDING UP THE RANKINGS...IN SUMMARY FORM
Bears Face Yet Another Streak From the Sooner State
Last month, Baylor ended its 30-game series losing streak to the Oklahoma Sooners.
Saturday, the Bears are faced with a six-game Gallagher-Iba Arena losing streak and a 2-22 all-time record in Stillwater. That's definitely another streak the Bears would like to put to rest when they take the court at historic GIA.
The two victories? a 68-64 triumph in 1972 and a 74-72 upset of then-No. 13 Oklahoma State in 2003.
Another note of historical significance: Saturday's game at GIA will mark Baylor's first trip to Stillwater ranked in the Top 25.
LaceDarius Dunn, who is on the cusp of becoming Baylor's career-leader in 3-point field goals, is averaging 26.5 points in two games against the Sooner State this season. Dunn scored 28 in Baylor's thumping of Oklahoma and added 25 the following weekend against the Cowboys.
Ekpe Udoh will play his first collegiate game in his home state...against high school teammate and Oklahoma State senior Obi Muonelo. Udoh is averaging 13.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 5.0 blocks in two games vs. the Sooner State.
Tweety Carter is averaging 9.0 assists and has a 6.0 assist-to-turnover ratio in two games vs. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State this season.
Three of Baylor's final five regular season games are on the road...then the Big 12 Championship in Kansas City...then (if all goes well) the NCAA Tournament at a site to be determined. Winning on the road is crucial. The Bears won at Arizona State. They did it at Arkansas. They did it again at South Carolina. Baylor won in OT at "The Drum" in Austin. And Udoh lifted the Bears to a road win at Nebraska last week.
This is the time of the season that makes good teams great.
PREVIEWING OKLAHOMA STATE
A BAYLOR WIN WOULD...
WINNING AWAY FROM HOME
Be sure to get another early start to your Saturday. Coverage of the Baylor/Oklahoma State game will begin at 12:30 p.m. CST on the Big 12 Network with Dave Armstrong (pxp) and Bryndon Manzer (analyst). Don't forget - beginning at 12:15 p.m. CST - to turn down the volume on your TV and turn up the radio dial to 1660 ESPN with The Voice of the Baylor Bears John Morris and color commentator Pat Nunley as they call all the action courtside from Gallagher-Iba Arena.
A Fiercer, More Intimidating Ferrell Center
Kansas has "The Phog". Kansas State has the "Octagon of Doom". New Mexico has "The Pit". Florida has the "O-Dome". and Penn has the Palestra, otherwise known as the "Cathedral of College Basketball". Those are just a few of the famous nicknames of college basketball facilities. Why the laundry list of names? Funny you asked...
During tonight's team dinner at Joseppi's in Stillwater, head coach Scott Drew asked a few of us at the table to think about an intimidating nickname for the Ferrell Center. He then cited some of the above names. After tossing around a few nicknames amongst us at the table, we thought that would be a good blog question to pose:
What do you think is a fitting and intimidating nickname for the Ferrell Center?
In Search of Drew Era's Second Signature Win
Three weeks after the signature win of the Scott Drew era at Baylor, a win Saturday in one of college basketball's greatest venues (Gallagher-Iba Arena) would stand as a second signature win for Drew's Bears and a ticket punched to the Big Dance.
Saturday will be Baylor's 25th trip to Stillwater...but the Bears have left Stillwater victorious only twice in their previous 24 visits. The Bears are 0-6 at Oklahoma State under Drew. That's why a Bears triumph would equal another signature win and add another quality win to Baylor's already impressive NCAA Tournament résumé.
No matter the game outcome Saturday in Stillwater, a pair of Baylor individuals could be making history nonetheless inside historic Gallagher-Iba...LaceDarius Dunn needs three 3-point field goals to become Baylor's career leader. We're sure that when current Harlem Globetrotter Aundre 'Hot Shot' Branch set the Baylor record at 267, no one thought it would be broken...Well, Dunn, who leads the Big 12 in triples per game, could very well establish a new mark in the first half.
If Dunn breaks the mark Saturday, he will have done it in six fewer games than Branch and own or share the single-game, single-season and career 3-point marks at Baylor. Not too shabby.
Keep an eye on Dunn's assault of the Baylor records book as he quickly approaches Terry Teagle's career record for points at Baylor (2,189).
Edmond, Okla., native Ekpe Udoh, who will play his first collegiate basketball game in his home state Saturday, is 10 blocks away from becoming the Big 12 single-season blocked shots record holder. Iowa State's Kelvin Cato blocked a Big 12-best 118 shots in the league's inaugural season.
INSIDE THREE KEY NUMBERS
3: LaceDarius Dunn needs three treys to become Baylor's career leader in 3FGM.
FRIDAY AFTERNOON BRACKET RACKET
ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi has Baylor at No. 7 and rising in his latest projections Friday. He has the Bears paired with the Siena Saints in Jacksonville, Fla. Baylor/Siena is set to face No. 2 Duke/No. 15 North Texas in the second round.
Our ubiquitous friends at Rush The Court have the 20-5 Bears on the No. 6 seed line with Tennessee, Texas and Butler. And UTEP, Rhode Island, UAB and Oklahoma State on the No. 11 seed line.
LATEST NCAA STATISTICAL RANKINGS
Baylor is ranked in the top 10 nationally of four team categories - 4th in blocked shots per game, 6th in rebound margin, 6th in field goal percentage defense and 9th in field goal percentage.
Want to gauge Baylor's improvement from this time last year? When Baylor entered its 26th game of the season at Oklahoma State (yes, tomorrow is Baylor's 26th game of the season at OSU), the Bears ranked: 54th in blocked shots per game, 197th in rebounding margin, 174th in field goal percentage defense and 45th in field goal percentage.
"On the (Proverbial) Bubble" No More
In 2008, Baylor was the very last team revealed in the field of 65, ending the Bears' 20-year NCAA Tournament drought.
That apparently won't be the case this year. With victory No. 20 Tuesday night over Texas Tech, many college analysts believe Baylor will make its second trip to the "Big Dance" in three years. Thursday's "College Basketball Bubble Watch" on ESPN.com only confirmed that notion, listing Baylor as one of five locks out of the Big 12:
"The reconstruction of Baylor basketball is complete. After struggling in the aftermath of one of the worst scandals in college basketball history, the Bears are headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons. With a 20-5 record and RPI rating in the top 15, Baylor has done more than enough to deserve an at-large bid. The Bears for the fifth time in six games by beating Texas Tech 88-70 at home Tuesday night."
SURGING IN THE POWER RANKINGS
Following its 18-point win over Texas Tech, Baylor jumped three spots to No. 19 in the latest FOXSports.com Top 25 Power Rankings.
For just the second time this season, Baylor receives votes from all 10 panelists on ESPN.com's College Basketball Power Rankings Chart, moving to No. 18. Seven of the 10 voters listed Baylor as a Top 20 team.
This is Our House...Now, Insert Dunn-related Cliché [Here]
Another page in the annals of Baylor basketball history has been written last night following the Bears' 88-70 rout of Texas Tech...and yesterday's Jeopardy! question has been corrected. Baylor won its 20th game of the season, posting its third consecutive 20-win campaign - a program first. The first 101 seasons of Baylor basketball saw only three 20-win seasons. The last three seasons have seen three.
As Jerry Hill so eloquently opined in his A View From the Hill Tuesday, "three times 20 is something special". In an era of college basketball where success is defined by the number of 20- and 30-win seasons and NCAA Tournament appearances, Baylor appears to be on track for just its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. Baylor, sitting at 7-4 in the Big 12 standings with five games remaining, is three games above .500 in the league. This is the latest Baylor has ever been three-games above .500 in Big 12 play. On top of that, the Bears have finished at or above .500 in the Big 12 only twice - 1997-98 (8-8) and 2007-08 (9-7).
The season's not over yet, nor have the Bears earned their official NCAA Tournament selection, but ESPN's Andy Katz tweeted last night that the Bears are NCAA-bound.
Another historical milestone for head coach Scott Drew: Three days after winning game No. 100 as BU head coach, Drew moved over the .500 career mark at Baylor for the first time since Dec. 6, 2003, when he was 3-2. With that said, here's a rundown of Wednesday morning's headlines after Baylor's 20th win:
Now it's time to dwell on the gravitas of last night, individually speaking, in TEXAS TECH LEFTOVERS:
RIVALS.COM ASSISTANT COACH OF THE WEEK: MARK MOREFIELD
20 wins. 109 blocked shots. 25 days until Selection Sunday.
History 101: Drew's Bears Go For Third Straight 20-Win Season
Answer: This was the last time Baylor won 20 games in three consecutive seasons.
Of course, that's the question now...that could change tonight with a Baylor victory. Before the Scott Drew era began in 2003, Baylor had three 20-win seasons in the program's first 97 years of competition. In seven seasons under Drew, Baylor could see its third consecutive 20-win campaign relatively soon.
Fellow Louisianian and KWTX sportscaster Adam Winkler made several good points in his latest blog on KWTX.com yesterday afternoon...as well as dropping a FCP reference.
But, our history lesson doesn't stop there...As Winkler pointed out, a Baylor win tonight would push Drew over the .500 mark at Baylor for the first time since Dec. 6, 2003, when the Bears were 3-2. That was 196 games ago.
Well...Baylor will get its first chance for win #20 tonight when the Bears host the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Ferrell Center. Texas Tech, which spent a few weeks in the Top 25 earlier this season, is undersized but very athletic. That leads us to our 'KEYS OF THE GAME':
PREVIEWING TEXAS TECH
A BAYLOR WIN WOULD...
BIG 12 STUDENT-ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT: BAYLOR'S A.J. WALTON
UDOH MOVING UP IN RIVALS.COM POWER RANKINGS
TV PROGRAMMING REMINDER: TONIGHT'S GAME - A FOX SPORTS SOUTHWEST PRODUCTION - WILL BE TELEVISED ON FOX SPORTS PLUS (TIME WARNER DIGITAL CHANNEL 15, GRANDE CHANNEL 20). Check your local listings for more details.
Be sure to turn down the sound on your TV and turn up the volume on your radio dial to 1660 ESPN with The Voice of the Baylor Bears, John Morris, and one of the greatest FT shooters in Baylor history, color commentator Pat Nunley. Pre-game show starts at 6:30 p.m. and the game will tip at 7:05 p.m.
See you in the Ferrell Center!
Dos Tres Signs with D-League's Rio Grande Valley
Baylor 1,000-point, 700-rebound club member Kevin Rogers is playing professional basketball stateside. The Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA D-League announced that they acquired Rogers and waived power forward/center Julian Sensley due to injury.
Dos Tres played three games in the Greek A-1 League for Panionios ON Telecoms Anthens, where he averaged 6.0 points and 3.3 rebounds. He also played for the Boston Celtics in the 2009 Orlando Pro Summer League, averaging 8.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in five games.
Rogers joins former teammate and fellow Baylor alum Curtis Jerrells in the D-League. Jerrells, an all-star in his first season, is the starting point guard for the Austin Toros.
No Case of the Mondays Here: Monday Afternoon Bracketology
It's been a pretty good Monday today here at FCP. And in case you don't know to which we are referring, then try this on for size:
Add in Monday Afternoon Bracketology and it's an all-around good day. Last week, Baylor's Bracketology outlook was coming up lucky No. 7s. In the latest Bracketological forecasts, the Bears are nearly a No. 6 seed (almost) across the board.
We'll start with the non-conformist of the group, CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm.
We like Jerry. Why? Because he picked Baylor as a No. 5 seed against No. 12 Marquette in San Jose. Palm presents an intriguing second-round match-up with either No. 4 New Mexico or No. 13 Murray State.
In keeping with the Silicon Valley theme, the fellas over at Bracketology 101 (paired with FOXSports.com) also have the Bears as a No. 6 seed...in San Jose...against the Utah State Aggies. The potential second-round match-up would make a good one if the Bears were to face No. 3 Georgetown, who Baylor beat in the NIT first round last season.
As we continue with more West Coast flare, SI.com's Andy Glockner has the Bears as a No. 6 seed...in San Jose...against No. 11 Marquette. The winner would get either No. 3 New Mexico or No. 14 Weber State.
And while San Jose appears to be a popular NCAA Tournament destination for the Bears by the previous three Bracketologists, these next four all project Baylor to go to beautiful...Providence, R.I. No love for Jacksonville this week!
Bracketography.com has Baylor as a No. 6 seed paired with the Dayton Flyers of the Atlantic 10 at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence. Two familiar teams pop up as potential second-round foes - No. 3 Georgetown and No. 14 Murray State.
You can pretty much tell that Rush The Court, while its bracket may not be correctly labeled with sites, has Baylor going to Providence (not San Jose) to face...No. 11 Virginia Tech. Remember last season's second-round NIT match-up? That would make for a good NCAA Tournament game in 2010.
TheHoopsReport.com also loves Baylor as a No. 6 seed in Providence...against No. 11 Louisville from the BIG EAST. The winner would potentially face No. 3 Vanderbilt or No. 14 Charleston Southern.
Last, but certainly not least...
ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi had Baylor as a No. 8 seed last Monday against No. 9 Rhode Island, which is located not to far from Providence. This week, Lunardi has the Bears at No. 6 vs. the No. 11 Big Red of Cornell. (pause) ...in Providence. In what appears to be a popular trend, Baylor would possibly face No. 3 Georgetown in the second round.
Here's Monday Afternoon Bracketology in summary format:
It appears Baylor is bound for either beautiful San Francisco Bay-like weather or the frozen tundra of Rhode Island this week.
Not bad for a Monday.
Mizzou Review: 'Who Dat?' Udoh, Dat's Who
Yes, we are Saints fans. And yes, head coach Scott Drew did drop a 'Who Dat?' in his postgame interview on the Big 12 Network after Saturday's 64-62 win over Missouri. And, in cased you missed it, Ekpe Udoh knocked home his third game-winning shot of the season - and second in as many games. Udoh's tip-in also gave Coach Drew his 100th victory as Baylor head coach.
Coach Drew's 100th school win came in his 200th game as Baylor head coach. A very impressive feat considering Baylor started 21-53 in its first 74 games under Drew. First it was Oklahoma. Then Texas. Iowa State. Nebraska. Now Mizzou. Baylor was 0-7 against those teams in 2009, but, during its Big 12 Revenge Tour, BU is 5-0 in such games.
Not only did Udoh get his third game-winning shot of the season, The Nightmare also broke Brian Skinner's single-season blocked shots mark at Baylor. Udoh now has 100 blocked shots this season and needs 19 more to establish a new single-season Big 12 Conference record.
Baylor, which should jump into the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll and move up in the AP Top 25 Poll Monday, now stands at 19-5 overall - four games ahead of last season's pace (15-9). With the Bears one win shy of posting their third consecutive 20-win season, here's "Mizzou Review" as told through Sunday's headlines:
More Bracket Racket: Friday Afternoon Bracketology
For those who participated in the NCAA's Media Mock Tournament Bracket, we salute you.
If you received our tweets throughout the day Thursday, you understand. For those of you not in the loop, members of the NCAA Selection Committee faciliated the Division Men's Basketball Mock Selection Thursday and Friday in Indianapolis. Selected media members participated in the entire process the selection committee goes through in order to set the tournament field of 65. Neat, huh? Still clear as mud? Read the NCAA's Mock Bracket Blog.
The Mock Media Bracket selection process concluded Friday with the seeding of the 'Field of 65'. In the majority of our previous Bracketology reports, most indicators point to the Bears playing in Jacksonville, home of former Baylor assistant coach and current North Florida head man Matthew Driscoll. Well, the Media Mock panel agrees...as they have Baylor as No. 7 seed in Jacksonville against No. 10 Tulsa (Conference USA). The winner is paired with the No. 2 Duke/No. 15 Oral Roberts winner. Click here to view the Media Mock Bracket in its entirety. As it stands today, nine Baylor opponents would make the Field of 65.
Rivals.com issued its latest Drive for 65 tournament bracket projections Friday afternoon. And, like the Media Mock Bracketologists in Indianapolis, they have the Bears facing the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. But with Baylor on the No. 6 seed line.
We are beginning to sense a trend...
TheHoopsReport.com has Baylor as a No. 7 seed against No. 10 California in the Salt Lake City Region. According to THR, the Bears could see a rematch with 2008 NCAA Tournament opponent and No. 2 seed Purdue in the second round.
And everything continues to come up with lucky sevens with ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi, who has Baylor climbing to a No. 7 seed against Atlantic 10 power Dayton in balmy Buffalo, N.Y. The Baylor/Dayton winner would cleerly (yes, it's mispelled for a reason) face either the West Virginia Mountaineers (No. 2) or the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. (No. 15).
On a lighter note with Lunardi...A 15-year-old aspiring bracketologist submitted his own 65-team NCAA Tournament bracket, which was then featured in Lunardi's blog Thursday afternoon. He picked Baylor as a No. 5 seed...We like this kid!
HOW DO YOU SPELL EFFICIENT? B-A-Y-L-O-R. THAT'S HOW.
THIRD, FOURTH, SIXTH
We're headed to the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge tonight at American Airlines Center in Dallas. Look for us on TV...Tips off at 8 p.m. on TNT.
Less than 30 days until Selection Sunday.
Dunnions! Acy Sends Bears Home Victorious
We are avid fans of Bill Raftery...as evident by our clever title.
Baylor basketball must be made for TV...The 24th-ranked Bears put their 17-5 record on the line against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln Wednesday night. The Bears needed a go-ahead basket from Ekpe Udoh with 25 seconds left and two critical defensive plays from Quincy Acy to seal a 55-53 road win at the Devaney Center on ESPN2. It was Baylor's seventh game decided by five points or less this season. And it was Ekpe's second game-winning shot of the season. Remember Hartford?
We've received e-mails and a variety of text messages, proclaiming Wednesday's result as an ugly victory. Newsflash: A win's a win. A road win is awesome and there is no such thing as an ugly victory. Have you ever seen a pretty victory? No personification necessary.
Armed with an 18-5 record, the Bears have already surpassed last season's regular-season wins total (17-13) and matched their Big 12 wins mark from 2009 (five). A 20-win season and .500-mark or better in league play will erase any memory of last season's regular season. Write that down. Like we mentioned earlier, road wins are crucial especially in the Big 12. Wednesday was just Baylor's eighth victory in its last 53 Big 12 games - that stat only makes home games like Saturday that much more critical.
Aside from the end result, here are more noteworthy notables:
POWER RANKINGS GALORE
LATE WEEK BRACKET RACKET
Jerrells One of Six NBA D-League All-Star Replacements
Former Baylor standout and Austin Toros point guard Curtis Jerrells was named one of six replacements named for the NBA D-League All-Star Game in Dallas. Jerrells, who ranks eighth in the D-League with 20.8 points per game, joins Austin teammates Alonzo Gee and Dwayne Jones in the 'Big D'.
Jerrells, Dakota's Romel Beck, Bakersfield's Brian Butch, Los Angeles' Joe Crawford, Reno's Desmon Farmer and Los Angeles' Diamon Simpson. The six players were selected to replace Maine's Alexis Ajinca (injured), Idaho's Anthony Tolliver (GATORADE Call-Up, Golden State), Utah's Dontell Jefferson (injured), Rio Grande Valley's Antonio Anderson (injured), Idaho's Sundiata Gaines (GATORADE Call-Up, Utah) and Rio Grande Valley's Joey Dorsey (recalled to the Houston Rockets).
CJ will participate in the NBA D-League Haier Shooting Stars competition Friday. The fourth annual NBA D-League All-Star Game will take place Saturday, Feb. 13, on Center Court at NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas and will be televised live on NBA TV at 2 p.m. CST.
The Frozen Tundra...of Nebraska and Onions
As hard as it is for us to look back at Baylor's 16-game Big 12 season last year, the Bears are now one win away from tying its Big 12 win total from 2009. The 24th-ranked Baylor Bears (17-5, 4-4) continue their Big 12 Revenge Tour Wednesday when they face the Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-10, 1-7) on ESPN2 in Lincoln, Neb. The Bears have already defeated three teams they did not beat in the 2009 regular season - Oklahoma, Texas and Iowa State. Last season - on Senior Day - Nebraska put any hopes of Baylor making the postseason on ice, knocking off the Bears 66-62 in the Ferrell Center (that is, of course, before Baylor's epic postseason run, which began with a win over Nebraska).
Why the frozen tundra? Because it's currently ZERO degrees Fahrenheit...that's roughly -18 degrees Celsius. Yes, it's that cold in snow-covered Nebraska. And the onions? Well that can only be explained by ESPN's Bill Raftery, who will serve as color analyst to Ron Franklin tonight on ESPN2. If you don't understand the Raftery-Onions connection, google it...it's pretty funny.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT THE BEARS THIS MORNING
A ROAD WIN IN THE BIG 12 IS HARD TO FIND
BAYLOR MORE SUCCESSFUL AGAINST BIG 12 NORTH
BLOCKING HIS WAY TO BIG 12 HISTORY
HE HAS MORE BLOCKS THAN N'YOU
PARTING SHOTS BEFORE WE GO
Be sure to catch tonight's game at Nebraska beginning at 8:05 p.m. CST on ESPN2 with Ron Franklin and Bill Raftery...Or you can turn down the sound on your TV and tune into 1660 ESPN with The Voice of the Baylor Bears John Morris and color commentator Pat Nunley at 7:30 p.m.
Monday Afternoon Bracketology
After a tough setback Saturday in the 200th meeting of The Battle of the Brazos and Saint-sational Super Bowl Sunday night, we have the second edition of February's Monday Afternoon Bracketology ready to go...and really, not much has changed from last Monday's Bracketologies.
For the most part, Baylor is viewed - this week, anyways - as a very popular No. 7 seed...
Andy Glockner from SI.com has Baylor as a No.7 seed against the No. 10 Charlotte 49ers in Milwaukee, Wis. A Baylor win would see the Bears possibly face No. 2 Purdue in a rematch of the 2008 NCAA Tournament in D.C.
FOXSports.com, which has joined forces with Bracketology 101, has the Bears as a No. 7 seed in Providence, R.I., against the 10th-seeded Richmond Spiders. This pairing could be an interesting one as the Bears would have an opportunity to face No. 2 Georgetown in a rematch of the 2009 NIT first round.
Baylor is also a No. 7 seed in the latest bracketological predictions by TheHoopsReport.com. The Bears are faced with No. 10 Dayton with another possible postseason rematch - against No. 2 Purdue from the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
Our ubiquitous friends over at Rush The Court have Baylor as...wait for it...a No. 7 seed against No. 10 Clemson in Jacksonville, Fla. RTC predicts Baylor to defeat Clemson and later beat No. 2 West Virginia en route to a Sweet 16 appearance against Wisconsin.
The highest Bracketology seed for the Bears came from CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm, who has Baylor as a No. 5 seed vs. No. 12 California in Spokane, Wash. Close behind is Bracketography.com, which has Baylor at No. 6 against surprise Top 25 team Cornell in New Orleans...
And, finally from ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi.
With an ever-so-slight drop in his bracket standings, Baylor is now a No. 8 seed in East Region against No. 9 Rhode Island in Milwaukee, Wis. The winner would presumably get No. 1 Kentucky in the second round. An interesting note on Lunardi's Last Four In, First Four Out and Next Four Out...Oklahoma State would be one of his 'Last Four In', while five of the first eight teams out hail from the BIG EAST.
Here's Monday Afternoon Bracketology in summary format:
It appears Baylor is bound for a team representing a certain league that starts with the letter 'A' and ends with 'tlantic 10'. But that's the fun in Monday Bracketology...
34 days until Selection Sunday.
Previewing the 200th Edition of The Battle of the Brazos
Arguably one of the greatest rivalries in college basketball commences this afternoon in College Station when No. 20 Baylor meets Texas A&M for the 200th edition of The Battle of the Brazos. By now, everyone knows the history between the two schools so we won't delve into it again. So we will leave you with only a few notes entering today's game. If you aren't among the nearly-soldout crowd at Reed Arena, be sure to tune into the Big 12 Network (Check your local listings) at 3:01 p.m. or turn on your radio to 1660 ESPN at 2:30 p.m. with The Voice of the Baylor Bears John Morris and color commentator Pat Nunley.
Before we forget, Perry Jones was not the only Baylor signee among the list of McDonald's High School All-American hopefuls announced earlier this month...Fellow signee Bakari Turner is also among the nominees. Special thanks to Steve H. for pointing out our oversight...
A ROAD WIN IN THE BIG 12 IS HARD TO FIND
21-GAME LITMUS TEST
BAYLOR AS A NATIONALLY RANKED TEAM
A BAYLOR WIN WOULD...
IN MIDST OF MOST SUCCESSFUL STRETCH IN DREW ERA
STREAKS ARE MADE TO BE SET (AND BROKEN)
Wrapping Up the Week That Was
We have a few more tidbits from across the nation to wrap up the week...Don't forget to look for our Baylor/Texas A&M preview tomorrow.
STEPHEN HOWARD'S SURPRISE TEAM IN THE BIG 12? BAYLOR
PERRY JONES AMONG MCDONALD'S ALL-AMERICAN TEAM NOMINEES
LATEST NCAA STATISTICAL RANKINGS RELEASED
SPEAKING OF THE BAYLOR-A&M RIVALRY...
Jerrells to Compete in Inaugural Shooting Stars Competition
Baylor alumnus and Austin Toros points guard Curtis Jerrells will be one of 12 NBA D-League stars to compete in the Haier Shooting Stars competition during the NBA D-League's All-Star Weekend next week in Dallas. The inaugural Haier Shooting Stars will consist of four three-man teams competing in a two-round time shooting event. First-time NBA D-League Dream Factory Friday Night presented by Haier participants Jerrells, Romel Beck (Dakota), Brian Butch (Bakersfield), Pat Carroll (Iowa), Desmon Farmer (Reno) and Diamon Simpson (Los Angeles) will join NBA D-League All-Stars Reggie Williams (Sioux Falls), Trey Gilder (Maine), Carlos Powell (Albuquerque), Mustafa Shakur (Tulsa), Mike Harris (Rio Grande Valley) and Dontell Jefferson (Utah) in the competition).
The Haier Shooting Stars contest features six numbered shooting locations of increased difficulty, with each team attempting to make all shots in numeric order in the fastest time. Each team will select a specific player rotation to follow throughout the competition. Each shot must be made before the next player begins shooting in succession. Teams have up to two minutes to complete the entire shooting course and the team that completes all six shots in the least amount of time is declared the winner. In the event of a tie, a shoot-off will be used to determine the winner.
Getting to The Point: These Bears Are For Real
Baylor avenged last season's loss in Ames in resounding fashion, cruising past the Iowa State Cylones 84-63 last night in the Ferrell Center. LaceDarius Dunn returned to form with a game-high 21 points - his 24th career 20-point game - and adding four treys...Dunn now has 253 career triples and is only 15 shy of becoming Baylor's new career leader. FOX Sports Southwest's Greg Lucas and Jim Haller broke down the Bears' 84-63 win over the Cyclones last night courtside.
What do legendary Baylor head coach Bill Henderson and current head coach Scott Drew have in common? The 2010 version of the Bears have also won 17 of its first 21 games to start the season, marking only the fourth such occurrence in school history. Baylor also did it in 1946, 1948 and 2008 - all three teams won 20+ games and went to the NCAA Tournament. Here's more on the Iowa State win with our IOWA STATE LEFTOVERS:
ESPN.COM POWER RANKINGS
Baylor jumped eight spots from No. 30 to No. 22 this week, garnering 51 votes - 16 more than No. 23 Northern Iowa and four shy of Drew's alma mater, No. 21 Butler. Here's our ESPN.com Power Rankings roll call:
Jay Bilas, ESPN analyst, No. 20
Joe Lunardi, ESPN.com bracketologist, No. 23
MORE POWER RANKINGS
Rivals.com writer and Baylor alum Jason King has the Bears No. 3 in his latest Big 12 Power Rankings, ahead of Texas.
One final thought for the road...Baylor is the fourth-highest rated team in the Big 12 in the latest Collegiate Basketball News RPI (RPIRatings.com) and Sagarin Ratings. Baylor is No. 24 in RPI and No. 13 in Sagarin, while the Big 12 is second nationally in both.
These Bears are for real.
Nine NBA Scouts Expected to Attend Tonight's Game
With the 20th-ranked Baylor Bears (16-4, 3-3) rolling and the Iowa State Cyclones coming to Central Texas, nine NBA scouts, representing eight NBA teams, are expected to be in attendance for tonight's game in the Ferrell Center.
Included in the list of NBA scouts is San Antonio Spurs Vice President and Assistant General Manager Dennis Lindsey. Lindsey was a starter for the Bears teams that advanced to the 1988 NCAA Tournament and 1990 NIT. He earned his bachelor's degree in education from Baylor in 1992.
Lindsey joined the Spurs front office in June 2007 after spending the previous 11 seasons with the Houston Rockets in the basketball operations/player personnel area.
To Boldly Go Where Only Three Teams Have Gone Before
We've been knowingly referred to as Yandlepedia by a pantheon of media sorts, including The Voice of the Baylor Bears, John Morris, and color-commentating guru, Pat Nunley. Well, here's another historical note of Yandlepedic proportions:
A Baylor win Wednesday over Iowa State would give the Bears 17 wins through their first 21 games of the season, marking only the fourth such occurrence - and the second in three seasons - in the program's 104-year history. Baylor advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of those three seasons.
2007: Baylor posted its 17th win Feb. 6, 2007, against Texas Tech in its 21st game of the season.
Whichever way you choose to measure the success and revitalization of the Baylor Basketball program, consider this: Prior to head coach Scott Drew's arrival in 2003, Baylor had only nine 17-win seasons in the program's first 97 years. BU is on the cusp of its third straight season with at least 17 wins. Lest we forget, a 20-win season would make Drew the only coach in program history with three-straight 20-win campaigns.
Last season, Baylor entered Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa, with a 16-10 record and a 4-8 mark in Big 12 play. That night, the Bears opened the game with a 15-5 run, shot 4-of-27 from 3-point range and fell behind by 13 in the opening moments of the second half. Iowa State eventually handed the Bears their eight loss in the last nine games. Tonight, Baylor again has 16 wins and is aiming for its fourth Big 12 victory, all while defending its No. 20 national ranking.
On top of that, Baylor is ranked in the Top 25 during the month of February for only the second time in school history...The Bears were ranked during the week of Feb. 11, 1969, and they notched their first win as a nationally ranked team that week - 63-58 over Texas (Feb. 15, 1969). Here are few more nationally ranked Baylor tidbits:
Baylor is 13-8 (.619) -- 12-7 (.632) in the Scott Drew era -- when ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and 8-4 (.667) when ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll.
PREVIEWING IOWA STATE
BAYLOR MORE SUCCESSFUL AGAINST BIG 12 NORTH
A BAYLOR WIN WOULD...
BAYLOR'S "OTHER" PLAYERS...IN A ZONE
EX-WOLVERINE EKPE UDOH A DOMINATING PRESENCE FOR BAYLOR
ONE OF NATION'S MOST UNDERRATED POINT GUARDS GETTING DUE ATTENTION
Jerrells, Toros Aiming For Number Seven
Former Baylor standout Curtis Jerrells and the Austin Toros are currently on a six-game win streak and are looking for number seven against the Reno Bighorns tonight. CJ is averaging 21.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game for the 15-9 Toros, but was not elected to the NBA D-League All-Star Game Tuesday.
However, there are three players selected to the West Conference All-Star Team currently in the NBA - Rio Grande Valley's Joey Dorsey (Houston), Idaho's Sundiata Gaines (Utah) and Idaho's Anthony Tolliver (Golden State). So there is a possibility that CJ could fill one of these spots. Replacements and starters will be announced prior to the Feb. 13th All-Star Game.
We Saw Our Shadow - And At least Six More Weeks of Hoops
Weather forecaster Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, which means six more weeks of winter. We saw our shadow this morning, which means at least six more weeks of college hoops. And as ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi said today via Twitter, six more weeks of Bracketology!
So we begin Groundhog Day with two more bracketological brackets. In the latest Bracket Watch, SI.com's Andy Glockner has Mississippi State, North Carolina, Maryland and UConn on the outside looking in. And has the Baylor Bears as a No. 6 seed in Jacksonville, Fla., against No. 11 Siena. According to Glockner's most recent projections, the Big 12 would have seven bids - the most of any league - and nine Baylor opponents making the field...
FOXSports.com unveiled its first 2010 NCAA Tournament bracket prediction Tuesday, teaming up with two bracketologists of Bracketology 101. And, like Glockner, FOXSports.com's bracket model has Baylor at No. 6 against the No. 11 Saints of Siena...this time in Spokane, Wash. (we overlooked the wrong Baylor logo...we're working on that).
RIVALS.COM POWER RANKINGS
Monday Afternoon Bracketology
This week, we're going to switch a few things up...
...and begin with the lowest-seeded Bracketologist's bracket first.
With that being said, we'll start of ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi's weekly Bracketology, where he has Baylor as a No. 7 seed against No. 10 Richmond in the East Region. The Bears/Spiders matchup is paired with No. 2 Michigan State and No. 15 Arkansas State.
We have a tie with Baylor as a No. 6 seed...Bracketography.com has the Bears in New Orleans (West Region) as a No. 6 seed against the Dayton Flyers at No. 11. Winner? Gets No. 3 Wisconsin or, here they are again, the No. 14 RedWolves of Arkansas State.
Staying at No. 6, but moving back to the East Region is TheHoopsReport.com. Baylor is slated at No. 6 with No. 11 UConn. There are some intriguing matchups in this region of the bracket like No. 8 UAB/No. 9 Texas A&M, No. 5 Gonzaga/No. 12 North Carolina, No. 7 Rhode Island/No. 10 Ole Miss and No. 3 Duke/No. 14 Coastal Carolina.
CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm, in his weekly Projecting the Field, projects Baylor as a No. 5 seed - the highest of the season thus far - in the West Region against No. 12 California...in Spokane, Wash. In this latest mock bracket, the Baylor/Cal winner would face either No. 4 Gonzaga or No. 13 Siena.
The fellas over at Rush The Court, the ubiquitous college basketblog, have given the Baylor Bears their highest bracketology seed of the season as a No. 4 seed in Syracuse. The better part? RTC has the Bears advancing to the Elite Eight.
MUST BE A DAVIS THING
RPI AND NATIONAL RANKINGS
National Rankings: With its 80-77 OT upset win at No. 6 Texas Saturday, Baylor moved up to No. 20 in the latest AP Top 25 Poll. It is Baylor's highest ranking since reaching No. 19 in Dec. 2008. And after being absent from the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll for two weeks, the Bears returned to the ESPN ticker at No. 24 this week. CBSSports.com fans are in agreement with the AP, voting Baylor No. 20 in their weekly People's Poll Monday.
In the matter of five weeks, we've run the gamut of 12 seeds to now a No. 4 seed in the latest Bracketology talk.
41 days until Selection Sunday.
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