More Love for Udoh 4:07 P.M., WEDNESDAY, MARCH 31, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Ekpe Udoh made a name for himself during Baylor's run to the Elite Eight, averaging 13.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.3 blocks for the Bears. His performances against Saint Mary's and Duke in last week's NCAA South Regional semifinals and finals in Houston earned him All-Second Weekend Team honors by SI.com's Luke Winn.
The Kansas City Star's Mike DeArmond also took note of Udoh's and LaceDarius Dunn's collective performances...DeArmond put both Udoh and Dunn on his Real All-Big 12 first team.
The Hoop Scoop Names Drew National Coach of the Year 12:11 P.M., WEDNESDAY, MARCH 31, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Baylor head coach Scott Drew was named National Coach of the Year by The Hoop Scoop after leading the Bears to their first Elite Eight appearance in the modern tournament era. Baylor (28-8) established a new school record for overall and Big 12 victories to finish tied for second in the league after being picked 10th in the Big 12 preseason coaches poll.
Earlier this month, Drew was named to Yahoo! Sports' All-Coaches second team and Big 12 Coach of the Year by Austin American-Statesman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Waco Tribune-Herald.
Udoh: Defensive All-American 11:13 A.M., WEDNESDAY, MARCH 31, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Ekpe Udoh talks briefly with CBS analyst Jim Nantz last week in Houston (Baylor Photography/Matthew Minard).
Udoh established new Baylor and Big 12 Conference single-season records with 133 blocked shots, shattering the previous marks. The Edmond, Okla., native is one of four Big 12 players on the Defensive All-American Team, joining Kansas' Cole Aldrich, Texas' Damion James and Kansas State's Jacob Pullen.
Sadly for the 30,000-plus Baylor fans and the Baylor basketball team, the Bears walked off the Reliant Stadium floor defeated. All the hard work. The blood, sweat and tears in the preseason. It was mostly tears postgame. As we stood in the lockerroom afterwards, it was tough watching the end of an unbelievable season actually end.
And end just one win away from the Final Four.
The reclamation project Coach Drew and staff started in 2003 can officially be deemed complete with the Bears making the round of eight in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1950. After flying under the radar for a great part of the season, the nation became acquainted with one of the most unheralded point guards in the nation in Tweety Carter. Baylor will certainly miss Tweety, but his impact on the Bears' return to prominence will never be forgotten.
Ekpe Udoh burst onto the scene during the non-conference part of the season and remainded one of Baylor's offensive and defensive focal points all year long. Udoh finished the season as the Baylor and Big 12 Conference single-season blocked shots record holder.
He's no longer Waco's best-kept secret. LaceDarius Dunn proved on a national stage that he can score at will. He finished his junior season as the fourth all-time leading scorer at Baylor and is on track to overtake Terry Teagle as Baylor's career scoring leader.
We all know how good Lace Dunn is. But the rest of country didn't know until Dunn averaged 21.0 points in four NCAA tournament games...Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has called Dunn "the best '2' guard in the nation, bar none".
Carter and Lomers have helped build a legacy at Baylor and change the men's basketball culture - one which we hope continues for many years along the banks of the Brazos River.
40 Minutes Away 11:17 A.M., SUNDAY, MARCH 28, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
The first Elite Eight appearance in the modern tournament era...with a berth in the program's third Final Four in school history. The Bears are 40 minutes away from Indianapolis. Saturday, Butler and West Virginia punched their tickets to Indy with wins over Kansas State and Kentucky, respectively.
Now it's up to Baylor as the only Big 12 Conference school remaining the NCAA tournament.
Baylor and Duke are the only schools with both its men's and women's teams still playing in the NCAA tournament...and wouldn't you know, they are playing each other on both sides. That, according to STATS LLC, is the first time that two schools have met in the round of eight in both tournaments during the same season.
40 minutes away...
If Baylor wins today, they will become the 15th team in NCAA history to make a final four appearance in the NIT and NCAA tournaments in back-to-back seasons. In fact, City College of New York (CCNY) won the NIT and NCAA in the same season (1950).
Since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams, Baylor would be just the third school to accomplish the feat - Louisville (1985 NIT, 1986 NCAA) and Syracuse (2002 NIT, 2003 NCAA).
Last year at this time, we mentioned that Baylor was in its finest hour of the modern tournament era. Today's South Regional final vs. Duke is the biggest game in modern Baylor basketball history (post-1950).
Friday's attendance soared over 45,000 strong at Reliant Stadium. Today's Regional final crowd could break 50,000 and challenge the NCAA Regional attendance record of 57,563 set for the 2008 NCAA Midwest Regional Final at Ford Field (Kansas 59, Davidson 57).
We're just 40 minutes away...
Bears Now in Elite Company 9:49 A.M., SATURDAY, MARCH 27, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
For the fourth time in school history, Baylor is in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament.
For the fourth time in school history, Baylor is one win away from the Final Four.
But, for the first time in school history, Baylor is in the Elite Eight in the modern era of the NCAA tournament.
Once picked to finish 10th in the Big 12 preseason coaches' poll, the Bears are now one of only eight teams standing in the NCAA tournament. That's pretty elite company.
And the Bears will now face one of the greatest programs in college basketball history - the Duke Blue Devils.
LaceDarius Dunnis no longer scoring in anonymity. Dunn set the Baylor single-season scoring record, while also moving into fourth place on the career list to carry Baylor to a 72-49 throttling of the Cinderella Saint Mary's Gaels Saturday night. If you thought that performance was awesome, wait until you see the showdown between the nation's two best scoring trios - Duke's John Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith (53.1 points per game) vs. Baylor's Dunn, Tweety Carter and Ekpe Udoh (48.4).
Everyone's abuzz following Baylor's systematic dismantling of the Gaels. Many media members were very impressed with Baylor's performance Friday night. But then again, the Bears haven't been the overwhelming favorites in their last two games.
Here's a look around the nation in SATURDAY MORNING HEADLINES:
One last thing: 45,505 fans witnessed the NCAA South Regional semifinals at Reliant Stadium last night...Nearly 20,000 (if not more) were wearing green and gold.
Now, the Bears are just one win away from their third Final Four.
A 'Who's Who' of Baylor Nation 12:09 P.M., FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
This weekend's NCAA South Regional is the second-largest regional attendance (over 44,000) in NCAA history. It will be the largest crowd ever to watch a Baylor basketball game, smashing the previous high attendance (19,100 in 2000 and 2001 Big 12 Championships in Kansas City).
On top of that, the NCAA South Regional is the only regional site with a Final Four setup this season. That means: Reliant Stadium is the only site with a raised center court. Next year, the Final Four will be held at Reliant.
How many of the 44,000-plus will be donning green and gold? Not sure on an exact number, but estimates indicate anywhere from 10-15K. Former players and coaches as well as alumni and current student-athletes are expected. Both the Baylor volleyball and track and field teams - both in Houston for competitions at Rice - will be at Reliant Stadium tonight as well as head football coach Art Briles.
Even former assistant and current North Florida head coach Matthew Driscoll is in Houston for the Sweet 16.
As the city of Houston and the state of Texas (and the nation, for that matter) continues to be engulfed in everything Baylor Mania, here's a look at FRIDAY'S HEADLINES:
A Reliable Reliant Semifinal Fan Guide 9:44 A.M., FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
As we near the 6:27 p.m. CDT tip between the Baylor Bears and Saint Mary's Gales in the NCAA South Regional Semifinals (aka Sweet 16), here's a few things you should know about today's happenings:
The Official Team Send-Off (hosted by Baylor Sports Network) will be held 4:15-4:45 p.m. in the lobby of the JW Marriott.
Tune into the Baylor/ISP Sports Radio Network at 5:57 p.m. CDT with The Voice of the Baylor Bears, John Morris, and color analyst (and Baylor alum) Pat Nunley as they call all the action courtside. Fans in Central Texas can turn their radio dial to 1660 ESPN (KRZI).
If you are at the game and want to listen JMo and Pat on the radio, you can listen inside Reliant Stadium on the lower end of the FM dial on 87.9 FM.
The live CBS broadcast between Baylor/Saint Mary's will air in the second of four broadcast windows. Official TV tip time is 6:27 p.m. CDT - Houston native Jim Nantz (pxp) and Clark Kellogg (analyst) will call the action on CBS.
If you can't make it to Houston and Reliant Stadium, Buffalo Wild Wings is the "Official Watch Party Location" of the Baylor ISP Sports Network. All fans that are unable to make it to Houston are invited to join others to watch the Bears NCAA tournament run at .Buffalo Wild Wings on Franklin Avenue in Waco. BWW will be raffling off some baseball tickets for Baylor vs. Kansas on Saturday and Sunday as part of the watch party experience.
Baylor mania is beginning to reach an all-time high with the NCAA South Regional semifinals less than 24 hours away...3,000 tickets were sold through the Baylor Ticket Office (not taking into consideration tickets purchased online) and we've been told that more than 44,000 tickets have been sold as of this afternoon. Of the 44,000+ sold thus far, we estimate 10-15K are Baylor fans.
Fans will notice a different look and feel for Friday and Sunday's games at Reliant Stadium. For starters, the playing floor is in the middle of the 70,000-seat stadium and is raised up so that you can see the floor easily from every seat. It's a little different than the 10,284-seat Ferrell Center, but with the large contingent of Baylor fans heading to Reliant Stadium, the Bears should have a sizable homecourt advantage.
Ekpe Udoh signs autographs after practice Thursday at Reliant Stadium (Baylor Photography/Matthew Minard).
In similar fashion to last week's first and second rounds in New Orleans, Baylor players and head coach Scott Drewanswered questions from the media before hitting the Reliant Stadium court for a 50-minute open practice. Approximately 1,000 fans were in attendance to watch the Bears practice...which ended with an impromptu dunk contest among some of the players. As the Bears were walking off the floor, they stopped to sign autographs and pose for pictures with Baylor fans.
Tweety Carter answers questions during Thursday's media seesion (Baylor Photography/Matthew Minard).
If you have a ticket for Friday's Baylor game at Reliant... and want to listen to the Baylor/ISP Sports Network radio broadcast? You can listen to John Morris and Pat Nunley inside Reliant Stadium on the lower end of the FM dial on 87.9 FM.
INSIDE BAYLOR SPORTS' SWEET 16 SPECIAL Thanks to a cooperative effort between Baylor Athletics and KCEN HD Channel 6, Inside Baylor Sports will air a "Sweet 16 Special" at 5:30 p.m. CDT Friday. The 30-minute special will preview the first-ever men's and women's basketball combined Sweet 16 appearances in the NCAA tournament. The taped special, hosted by John Morris (from Houston) and Lori Fogleman (from Memphis), will also feature highlights, interviews and a "Sweet 16 moments" feature on this historic Baylor men's basketball season.
Don't forget to wear your green and gold for "Green and Gold Day" Friday in Waco...or wherever you may be.
Baylor Nation Has Arrived in Drewston 11:45 P.M., WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
The drive from Waco to Houston should only take about three hours on a good. Well that three-hour bus ride felt like an eternity as the Baylor Bears arrived in Houston (hereforth known as Drewston) around 8:45 p.m. What took so long?
So what did Mayor DuPuy have to tell the team? Well, Friday is Green and Gold Day - the Greater Waco Chamber encourages fans to support the Baylor basketball teams by wearing green and gold. Is a Quincy Acy dunk going to grace one of the city water towers soon? Maybe so.
After the team signed autographs, the bus - with Baylor campus police escort - arrived at the Bill Daniels Student Center in time for the 5:30 p.m. send-off rally. The team nominated LaceDarius Dunn to speak to the throngs of Baylor fans at the SUB. Lace, a man of many words, briefly thanked the crowd before passing off the mic to freshman A.J. Walton. The crowd then sang the alma mater, That Good Old Baylor Line, in unison before a hearty Sic 'Em, Bears sent the team off to Houston.
Upon arriving in Drewston, the Bears enjoyed a nice dinner at Maggiano's before concluding the night at their team hotel.
CAN'T MAKE IT TO HOUSTON? NO PROBLEM If you can't make it to Houston and Reliant Stadium, no worries...Buffalo Wild Wings is the "Official Watch Party Location" of the Baylor ISP Sports Network. All fans that are unable to make it to Houston are invited to join others to watch the Bears NCAA tournament run at .Buffalo Wild Wings on Franklin Avenue in Waco. BWW will be raffling off some baseball tickets for Baylor vs. Kansas on Saturday and Sunday as part of the watch party experience.
Tell our boys over at ISP - Doug McNamee, Matt Iazzetti and Mitch Mann - that FCP sent you...
SPURS SIGN JERRELLS By now, you've read that the San Antonio Spurs signed former Baylor standout Curtis Jerrells Wednesday afternoon. CJ was assigned to the Austin Toros of the NBA D-League. Essentially, the Spurs signed him to lock him up for next season before any other team could sign him. We hope to see him in a Spurs jersey soon.
Last we've heard...
We believe we are nearing the 45,000-ticket sold mark at Reliant Stadium. We won't know for sure until the next few days, but we believe there will be a very large green and gold contingent at Reliant. With that said, Ferrell Center South (aka Reliant) is not your average basketball venue. You've gotta remember - it is a football stadium first. So you will be set a little farther back from the action than normal. With that said...get used to the view because this an NCAA Final Four setup. Plus, Reliant Stadium is the site of the 2011 NCAA Final Four.
We're entering one of Baylor's finest hours, Baylor Nation. It's time to Sic 'Em.
Underdogs Then, Still the UnderBears Now 2:53 P.M., WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Do you remember where you were this time last year? We do. In what has become a theme of sorts for us over the last week or so, just think back to this time last year...NIT quarterfinals at a very hostile Beard-Eaves Coliseum in Auburn, Ala.
This week, the Baylor Bears (27-7), which are a No. 3 seed in the South Region, are making their first Sweet 16 trip in school history* and are looking to continue their impressive season when they face No. 10 Saint Mary's Friday at Reliant Stadium.
* Since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, this is Baylor's first-ever Sweet 16 appearance. When Baylor made the Final Four in 1948 and 1950, the field was then just eight teams.
Before Friday's NCAA South Regional semifinal, the Baylor-Saint Mary's clash almost happened TWICE before. If you're a little confused, here's how it almost happened (twice) - both last season:
At the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif., the Bears and the Gaels were on opposite ends of the bracket, but with a win here or a win there, Baylor would have gotten its first in-game look at Saint Mary's.
Who can forget Baylor's magical NIT run last year? We can't. It was almost a Baylor-Saint Mary's NIT semifinal showdown at Madison Square Garden. Instead, San Diego State handed Saint Mary's a 70-66 loss in San Diego.
What could have been between Baylor and Saint Mary's isn't nearly as attractive and exciting as Friday's Sweet 16 showdown.
Hey, BaylorNation...Are You 'Amazing'? 4:33 P.M., TUESDAY, MARCH 23, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Before you ask us 'what's up with your title?'...we'll tell you what's up:
ESPN and HP are calling all Baylor fans: As the Bears competes for a slice of the NCAA men's basketball national championship, Baylor fans have the chance to rally the fan troops and put Baylor in the top spot of ESPN and HP's "Amazing 16" contest.
Here's the skinny -
What? ESPN is teaming up with HP to challenge fans of the Sweet 16 schools to prove their school spirit and show just how amazing their fans are.
How? Fans go here and - by sharing photos, posting messages and answering poll questions - they accumulate points for their favorite Sweet 16 school. The top two schools with the most fandom points (no matter their NCAA tournament ranking) will be announced on Sunday, April 4, and will battle for the ultimate fan bragging rights.
Why? The college or university generating the most participation in the "Amazing 16" will win a contribution of $100,000 in cash and technology products for their school.
When? The "Amazing 16" race kicks off Tuesday, March 23, at 11 a.m. CDT.
Details? ESPN Anchor Scott Van Pelt will offer insights throughout the contest. The program is a part of HP's "Let's Do Amazing" campaign, which celebrates the amazing things people do with technology in collaboration with the world's largest technology company.
Baylor - as a whole - is Greater than the Sum of its Parts 3:28 P.M., TUESDAY, MARCH 23, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
We'll get to that in a moment.
Within the last few hours, we were informed that more than 40,000 tickets have been sold for this weekend's NCAA South Regional at Houston's Reliant Stadium. Just how big will BaylorNation be this weekend? We're hopeful that it will be in the thousands as the No. 3 seeded Bears are practically playing in their backyard.
Metaphorically speaking, of course. For Baylor, it is our backyard. Saint Mary's College of California, a private school affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church and located in Moraga, Calif., is approximately 1,920 miles northwest of Houston (a roughly 28-hour car ride). Waco, as you know, is only a three-hourish drive down Highway 6 to H-town.
The Bears, which have set a new school record for victories (27) with its first Sweet 16 appearance in school history, were the trendy Final Four pick when the bracket was revealed. This week, Baylor is going up against everyone's new favorite trendy pick, Saint Mary's, which is led by NCAA tournament sensation Omar Samhan.
With the advent of everything new media - Twitter, Facebook, etc. - it's hard for the Baylor Bears to avoid the spotlight. Before their Sweet 16 berth in 2010, Baylor hadn't had much postseason success in the NCAA tournament since their successful Final Four runs in 1948 and 1950. It was a much simpler time then - and a much smaller tournament field. Simply put: when the Bears made the 1946, 1948 and 1950 NCAA tournaments...they were already in the Elite Eight! So that little '*' next to Baylor's first Sweet 16 in program history serves a very important purpose. Thanks to YouTube, we were able to find a five-minute silent highlight reel from the 1948 NCAA final between Baylor and Kentucky. We highly suggest you checking it out...
This time last year... Baylor was chillaxin' at the Auburn Marriott at Grand National, awaiting its NIT quarterfinals contest against the Auburn Tigers. And the "Pie Club" was in full force (scroll down to 'The Last Hoorah' from April 1, 2009). That was game No. 37 of the season...After a 74-72 win, the Bears improved to 23-14 overall.
The bottom line is this... In seven years under head coach Scott Drew, Baylor achieved success that the program hasn't seen since the great Bill Henderson teams of the 1940s. He has rebuilt the program from the ground up. Baylor basketball returned to national prominence in 2008 when the Bears earned their first NCAA tournament berth since 1988. Last year, the Bears advanced to their first Big 12 Championship and NIT title games. This year, the Bears are in their first Sweet 16 in program history. Well, ladies and gents, the rebuilding process is officially complete, according to this morning's USA Today article that featured Tweety.
As a whole, Baylor is greater than the sum of its parts. Tweety's Big 12-leading assists total; the scoring machine that is Lace Dunn; Udoh's record-breaking season; the second-tallest team in the nation...All those things don't add up to a 27-7 record and a Sweet 16 berth. There are a lot more intangibles underneath the surface that have led to Baylor's current status in the NCAA tournament.
UDOH FEATURED IN LATEST SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, HITS NEWSSTANDS WEDNESDAY Throngs of national media now know him as 'The Nightmare'. Record-setting shot-blocker Ekpe Udoh will be featured in the latest edition of Sports Illustrated that will hit newsstands Wednesday. Joe Lemire's interview with Udoh is featured on page 36.
FOR ALL YOUR SWEET 16 NEWS, NOTABLES AND QUOTABLES...Check out our game preview and Sweet 16 postseason media notes here.
How Sweet Is It? 10:57 A.M., MONDAY, MARCH 22, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
It is so sweet that we couldn't even blog after Baylor clinched its first trip to the Sweet 16 in program history. One more win and Baylor will match its NCAA tournament wins total from the first 103 years. That's how sweet it is.
Now the Bears will face the Saint Mary's Gaels from Moraga, Calif. The Gaels (28-5) earned a trip to the 'Big Dance' by walloping the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the West Coast Conference tournament championship game. It's all about March Madness.
How sweet is it? We have to block off two hours for media interviews today. Head coach Scott Drew will have a teleconference for national media this afternoon before he and select players (Tweety Carter, LaceDarius Dunn, Quincy Acy, Ekpe Udoh and Josh Lomers) take the stage for Q&As with local media in the Ferrell Center.
From the time the Bears returned home to Waco Sunday, Coach Drew has fielded interview requests with FOXSports Radio, ESPNews, ESPN Radio, Stephen A. Smith, ESPN Radio Chicago, Jim Rome Radio and the Brian Kenny Show on ESPN Radio. And that's just some of the interviews he's done.
That's how sweet it is. And the ride has only begun.
Now it's time for us to get back to working on our Sweet 16 Postseason Media Almanac.
This Time Last Year... 3:00 P.M., SATURDAY, MARCH 20, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
At this very moment last year, Baylor was boarding a charter plane in Roanoke, Va., heading back to Waco after demolishing Virginia Tech, 84-66, in the second round of the NIT in Blacksburg. That was Baylor's second of three postseason wins in seven days that helped push Baylor to Madison Square Garden and the NIT championship game.
This time last year...Baylor was 22-14 and riding an impressive postseason run. LaceDarius Dunn hadn't hit the 1,000-point career plateau yet. Today, Dunn has a chance to crack the top five in career scoring at Baylor. This time last year...Ekpe Udoh was sitting out the season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. Today, Udoh could continue to etch his name in Baylor lore with another dominating performance.
A year later, Baylor - in the second round of a postseason tournament - will play a school from Virginia. This time last year, it was the NIT and Virginia Tech. This go around, it's the NCAA Tournament and Old Dominion.
This time last year...the Bears were playing at a non-neutral site (Blacksburg, Va.). This year, Baylor, which is some 530 miles from New Orleans, will essentially play a home game in front of the families of Louisiana natives Tweety Carter and Dunn. The Bears could have a considerable home-court advantage.
Just remember where the Bears were this time last year...
And then look at today.
It's time to Survive and Advance.
Will Another Chapter Be Written Today? 10:40 A.M., SATURDAY, MARCH 20, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Prior to Baylor's first-round win Thursday over Sam Houston State, the Bears' last NCAA Tournament victory came in 1950 over BYU - a win that catapulted BU into the West Regional Final and a spot in the NCAA Final Four (then an eight-team field). Two years before that, Baylor won two games to advance to the National Championship game in New York City against Kentucky in 1948.
Today, a second win by Baylor will send the Bears to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. Thursday's win was the biggest in 60 years. Saturday's win would trump that.
Baylor's national rise to prominence hasn't gone unnoticed. Just search for a few key words and you'll find a bevy of stories from local, state and national outlets. Some great. Some not so much. SATURDAY'S HEADLINE SYNOPSIS:
A win today, of course, would put Baylor one step closer to a goal only four out of the 347 NCAA Division I teams can attain - a trip to the Final Four in Indianapolis.
In six hours, the Bears could be one step closer to reality.
Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler 11:15 P.M., FRIDAY, MARCH 19, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
John Morris stands along the banks of the Mississippi River (New Orleans side) with the Cresent City Connection bridge in the background.
Friday's beginning was almost identical to that of Wednesday. With the lone exception of Baylor's special guests during breakfast, the No. 3 seed Baylor Bears were back to business Friday, visiting with several local and national media outlets before a closed practice at New Orleans Arena.
Like Wednesday, Friday's Q&A session centered around Tweety Carter, LaceDarius Dunn and Ekpe Udoh. Just how popular are Tweety and Lace? We can't walk down the streets of the Vieux Carre (colloquially known as the French Quarter) without someone mentioning 'Baylor', 'Tweety' and/or 'Lace'. We're quite convinced that if Tweety does lead the Bears to the Sweet 16 and beyond, there might very well be a statue erected in his honor somewhere in the New Orleans metro area.
If you don't know by now his demeanor or importance to this team, then you may want to peruse these articles that came out today:
Once Baylor exhausted its 40-minute window of media obligations, the Bears held a closed practice at New Orleans Arena before returning to the hotel in the afternoon. From there, we joined The Voice of the Baylor BearsJohn Morris and Inside Baylor Sports' Robert Shiekh on the streets of New Orleans to film portions of Sunday's IBS show. Per our suggestions, The Voice and Shiekh filmed stand-ups on the banks of the Mississippi River along the "Moonwalk" (top photo) and across St. Peters Street from Jackson Square (bottom photo).
JMo stands in front of St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square.
We close tonight's blog with this: thanks to Greg Gilmore for the 'Sic 'Em Bears' we received at dinner earlier this evening at Gordon Biersch on Poydras Street (We promised a shout out).
Baylor's Big News in the 'Big Easy' 1:45 P.M., FRIDAY, MARCH 19, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
The 60-year drought (without an NCAA Tournament win) is over. With Tweety Carter scoring just two points and LaceDarius Dunn scored eight of his 13 points in the game's final 120 seconds, No. 3 seed Baylor proved its a contender (per CNNSI.com's Seth Davis).
Now the Old Dominion Monarchs stand in the way of Baylor's first-ever Sweet 16 appearance.
But less than 24 hours after Baylor advanced to the NCAA Tournament second round in New Orleans, everyone is still talking about the Bears. Here's a cursory look at FRIDAY'S HEADLINES:
Who Dat? 1:22 P.M., FRIDAY, MARCH 19, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Photo by Matthew Minard/Baylor Photography
Members of the Baylor men's basketball team were treated to two very special guests during breakfast Friday morning - New Orleans Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt(right) and secondaries coach Dennis Allen (left).
Survive, Advance and End 60-Year Drought 8:31 P.M., THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Photo by Matthew Minard/Baylor Photography
March 23, 1950.No member of the Baylor basketball staff (player or coach) had been born and the tournament field consisted of only eight teams.
We're sure the majority of BaylorNation was on pins and needles during most of the game, but the Bears survived, advanced and ended the 60-year drought. Survive and advance. That's March Madness. Many people predicted Baylor to break the century mark and score in bunches. Well, Saturday did not feature the real Baylor Bears or the real Sam Houston State Bearkats. The Bears trailed at the half (uncharacteristic) and the Bearkats shot just 19.4 percent from beyond the arc (also, uncharacteristic).
Now the jitters are gone. Baylor ended yet another streak. Now it's back to the business.
School-record victory No. 26? Check. First NCAA Tournament win since 1950? Check.
Survive and Advance to Houston? That's next.
When the Bears Go Marching In 12:04 P.M., THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
There might be no Louisiana teams playing in this year's NCAA Tournament, but the Pelican State is well represented, especially in the New Orleans Region. Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn (Monroe), Tweety Carter (Reserve) and Sam Houston State's Ashton Mitchell (New Orleans) will play in their home state this weekend.
Dunn and Carter are at the center of the national spotlight in New Orleans as the No. 3 seed Bears take on No. 14 seed Sam Houston State Thursday afternoon at New Orleans Arena. Not to be lost in the shuffle is the historical significance of the first-round matchup: A win would be Baylor's first NCAA Tournament victory in the modern era of the Tournament and its first since 1950 (when the NCAA Tournament was merely eight teams).
Baylor is all the rage in NOLA. Here's a look at THURSDAY'S HEADLINES:
Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Mike Jones: Baylor's Tweety Carter One of the Good Guys. Full Story
Gannett Louisiana's Glenn Guilbeau: No Louisiana team in men's NCAA, but well represented in New Orleans. Full Story
The Times-Picayune's Nakia Hogan and Ted Lewis: Baylor's top two scorers are from Louisiana. Full Story
Waco Tribune-Herald's John Werner: Udoh's gifts at core of Baylor's renaissance. Full Story
MSNBC.com's Mike Miller: Can't pick against Kansas (Miller has BU in Final Four). Full Story
Sporting News' Mike DeCoursy: Scott Drew: 'We understand the importance of each and every game'. Full Story
Happy St. Patrick's Day! We thought Louisiana native Marc Broussard was rather apropos this week.
Louisiana natives Tweety Carter (Reserve) and LaceDarius Dunn (Monroe) returned to their home state Tuesday night when the Baylor Bears arrived in New Orleans for the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
And from the moment we touched down, the Bears had their own personal tour guide as Tweety was quick to point out the landmarks, sights and sounds of his hometown. Once we arrived in New Orleans, we went straight to dinner at Red Fish Grill. Our dinner included alligator sausage and seafood gumbo, creole jambalaya and bread pudding. Outstanding.
Did we mention Tweety Carter is of 'celebrity status' in the 'Big Easy'?
Wednesday morning began with our postseason media almanacs arriving at New Orleans Arena and a sports information meeting at 10 a.m. We won't bore you with the details...
The rest of out Wednesday afternoon will consist of media engagements and practice at New Orleans Arena. With East Region No. 1 seed Kentucky also in New Orleans, a large number of national media are expected to attend the first and second rounds in NOLA.
Speaking of the first and second rounds...
POTUS (President of the United States) Barack Obama picked the Baylor Bears to advance to the Sweet 16 before falling to the Villanova Wildcats.
Like we said, the Baylor bandwagon is growing by the hour...
Less than 26 hours until gametime.
Baylor Bandwagon Growing by the Hour 12:19 P.M., TUESDAY, MARCH 16, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
It's becoming hard to avoid. Yesterday, you turn on the TV and someone is talking about Baylor. Last night, Baylor. This morning, Baylor. Even social media is all atwitter about Baylor. We're trendy, we're fashionable, we're 25-7 and we're expected to do great things in the NCAA Tournament.
The turn of events that unfolded during Selection Sunday couldn't have worked out any better. You don't have look very far for any good stories heading into our game in New Orleans. Just see Tweety Carter and LaceDarius Dunn.
We keep revisiting this, but think about it: Picked 10th in the Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll...Finish the regular season tied for second in the Big 12 (11-5)...Earn first-round bye in Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship...Now a No. 3 seed in NCAA Tournament and are a trendy Final Four pick.
Wow. That's the kind of media attention you just can't buy.
Even though New Orleans is about a nine-hour drive from Waco, Baylor could still have the largest fan base in the Crescent City. Why? Because Tweety's hometown of Reserve is only 35 minutes from New Orleans and everyone wants to see their hometown hero return on the national stage. Lace's hometown of Monroe - roughly five hours from NOLA - will be in attendance as well. In fact, during Monday's media interviews, Lace said that "his hometown" will get to New Orleans before he does.
Head coach Scott Drew has had a very busy media schedule in the last 48 hours...From print to TV to radio, Baylor is getting national media attention. On today's Drew media docket of note? ESPN First Take (this morning), The Scott Van Pelt Show (this afternoon, but will air tomorrow) and the Brian Kenny Show (tonight).
49 hours and 26 minutes until tip-off in New Orleans.
Baylor Becoming the Trendy Final Four Pick, But Bears Still Have to Win a Game 1:48 P.M., MONDAY, MARCH 15, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Pardon our tardiness, but the last 72 hours have been a speeding train of media blitz. After Baylor's tough 82-75 loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship semifinals Friday night, the Bears' focus quickly shifted to the NCAA Tournament. Yes, the Bears were upset about falling short of winning the school's first Big 12 title.
If you remember, we made a pretty big deal about Baylor's run in the NIT last season. But, take a step back and look at where the Bears have been in the last 365-plus days:
From being picked 10th in the Big 12 Coaches Preseason Poll to now being a trendy NCAA Final Four pick, the Baylor Bears have arrived.
Media nationwide are clamoring for the No. 3 seed Bears to make a deep run in the tournament. Beginning with ESPN's Pat Forde:
The Minutes loves the Bears in this tourney. Loves the shooting stroke of guard LaceDarius Dunn. Loves the leadership qualities of point guard Tweety Carter. Loves the shot-blocking ability of center Ekpe Udoh. It's been 60 years since Baylor won an NCAA Tournament game, but it won't be much longer now.
Washington Post's Eric Prisbell: Baylor will make the Final Four. This is a much better team than Scott Drew had a few years ago, you remember, the team that would run up and down the floor like an AAU team but consider defense optional. The year's team ranks fifth nationally in field goal percentage defense. LaceDarius Dunn is a player to watch.
Boston Globe's Bob Ryan: But if you're really looking for a team that could blitz its way to the Final Four, pay attention to South No. 3 seed Baylor, which is loaded with very live frontcourt bodies and which, in Tweety Carter and LaceDarius Dunn, has a backcourt that can compete with any in the country.
Now take a second to soak all of that information in...It's great media attention, right?
NOW FORGET ABOUT IT.
Baylor (25-7), a No. 3 seed in the South Region, is 3-7 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and has not won a tournament game in 1950. Baylor has not won an NCAA Tournament game in the modern format. Baylor's last tournament win came when the NCAA featured just eight teams.
One game at a time.
It's time to enjoy the Madness that is March.
More Semifinal Media Attention for the Bears 4:25 P.M., FRIDAY, MARCH 12, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Friday Afternoon Bracketology 4:04 P.M., FRIDAY, MARCH 12, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
At 25-6, the Baylor Bears enter Friday with a chance to advance to the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship for the second consecutive year. Plus, the Bears are quickly becoming a favorite to occupy either a No. 2, 3 or 4 seed in next week's NCAA Tournament. What do the Bears need to do to get a No. 2 seed? Win tonight and you are looking at one of the tournament's top eight seeds.
That's an amazing possibility for a team that was picked 10th in the Big 12 preseason coaches poll.
Friday's Afternoon Bracketology will study six different bracketology reports - two with Baylor as a No. 4 seed and four as a No. 3. One of those picking Baylor as a No. 3 seed? ESPN's Joe Lunardi. Let's start with the 4 seed predictions:
Rivals.com has Baylor as the top No. 4 seed in its latest Drive for 65 projections. Joining BU on the No. 4 seed line are Michigan State, Georgetown and Vanderbilt.
Rush The Court likes the Bears as a No. 3 seed against No. 14 Akron (projected Mid-American Conference champion) in New Orleans. The BU/Akron winner would play the winner of No. 6 Maryland and No. 11 Utah State.
Udoh, 'Louisianimals' Complete Texas Trifecta Sweep 11:44 A.M., FRIDAY, MARCH 12, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
ESPN2 sideline reporter Holly Rowe interviewed Scott Drew and Ekpe Udoh following Baylor's 86-67 win Thursday night in Kansas City (Photo credit: Jeff Moffett).
He went from being a completely non-factor in the first half to being the deciding factor in the second half. One-half of the Louisianimals, LaceDarius Dunn scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half and dished out a career-high seven assists to lead No. 3 seed Baylor to an 86-67 rout of No. 6 seed Texas late Thursday night in Kansas City.
Dunn, Tweety Carter and Ekpe Udoh combined for 64 of Baylor's 86 points Thursday night. Udoh finished with a career-high 25 points, while Carter chipped in 20. And while those statlines were great, our favorite was this one: Fred Ellis, 6 points in 8 minutes. After Dunn's quick first-half exit, Ellis came on to hit two 3s in succession to keep Baylor ahead for good.
For the second straight year, Baylor eliminated Texas in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. The latest win completed a three-game sweep of Texas, while extending the Bears' winning streak over the Longhorns to four games.
Here's the Media Reaction in FRIDAY MORNING HEADLINES:
The Quarterfinals are Upon Us 11:07 A.M., THURSDAY, MARCH 11, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Before you ask...
Yes, Oklahoma did it in 1997-98, 2000-01 and 2001-02 and Oklahoma State completed it in 2003-04.
That 'it' is beat Texas three times in the same season.
And to think of it another way...
By the time Baylor takes the floor for tonight's quarterfinal game against Texas, we will have watched seven games and witnessed seven teams eliminated at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship. This time last season, Baylor had already won two games (Nebraska, Kansas).
It seems like we've been in Kansas City for a month, yet we arrived Tuesday afternoon. Since our arrival, former Kansas City Star columnist and current CBSSports.com writer Dennis Dodd has been embedded with the Bears, following the team around during our drive for the Big 12 Championship title. In fact, Dennis wrote an excellent article on head coach Scott Drew's Bears last night.
So what do you need to know about tonight's quarterfinal game with the Longhorns? Look no further:
BAYLOR PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES Baylor has never been a top-four seed in the history of the Big 12 Championship. Baylor is 8-12 all-time in the Big 12 Championship and 4-5 under head coach Scott Drew. Baylor is 0-1 all-time at Sprint Center, 7-14 all-time in Kansas City, 4-8 in Big 12 Championship games held in Kansas City and has lost four straight in Kansas City. BU is 2-1 in Big 12 Championship play as higher seed. Baylor has played in the quarterfinals at six of the 12 Big 12 Championships in which its participated (did not participate in 2004). BU is 2-3 all-time in Big 12 Championship quarterfinal games. Baylor is the only team in the Big 12 era to defeat two No. 1 seeds at the Big 12 Championship (2001, 2009). Last season in Oklahoma City, Baylor became the first No. 9 seed to advance to the Big 12 Championship title game -- and the second-lowest seed ever. No. 3 seed in 23-8 all-time in the Big 12 Championship and has won the tournament five times -- 1999 (Kansas), 2001 (Oklahoma), 2003 (Oklahoma), 2005 (Oklahoma State) and 2009 (Missouri). No. 3 seed has reached finals in eight of 13 Big 12 Championship tournaments.
TEXAS SERIES HISTORY Thursday would be the 234th series meeting between Baylor and Texas. The Texas-Baylor series is the most-played rivalry for both schools. Baylor's current three-game winning streak over Texas is its longest since winning six straight from Feb. 7, 1981-Feb. 26, 1983. Texas leads the all-time series, 155-78, and 8-5 at neutral sites. § Texas leads the Big 12-era series, 25-6. Head coach Scott Drew is 3-13 all-time vs. Texas. Baylor snapped a 24-game losing streak to the Longhorns with a 76-70 in the semifinals of the 2009 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.
A BAYLOR WIN WOULD... Catapult the Bears to the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship semifinals for the second consecutive season for the third time in 13 tournament appearances. Increase its three-year school-record total to 70 wins. Extend its March winning streak to seven, dating back to its postseason run in 2008-09. Push it to 19 games above .500 for the first time since the Bears were 23-4 in 1947-48. Be its 25th of the season, tied for most wins in school history. Be its third win as a Top 25 team in the month of March. Be its 21st in the last 26 games. Be its 22nd as a ranked team in the Drew era. Be Drew's 106th as BU head coach. Improve its postseason record to 8-2 in last 10 games. Improve its record to 9-12 all-time in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship and 5-5 under head coach Scott Drew. Improve its record to 32-8 in its last 40 games. Improve its record to 15-14 in the month of March in the Drew era. Improve its 10th in the last 13 games in the month of March under Drew. Improve its series record to 79-155 all-time vs. Texas and 7-25 in the Big 12 era. Improve Drew's record to 4-13 all-time vs. Texas. Extend its winning streak to four games over Texas -- Baylor's longest winning streak in the series since winning six straight games from Feb. 7, 1981-Feb. 26, 1983. Mark the first time the Bears have beaten the Longhorns three times in the same season since the 1981-82 campaign.
MORE MEDIA ALL-BIG 12 TEAMS...MORE HONORS FOR THE BEARS Ekpe Udoh was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Thursday by San Antonio Express-News. Udoh, Tweety Carter and LaceDarius Dunn were all named to the Express-News' Big 12 second team. Add these honors to the growing list of postseason accolades:
Quincy Acy Big 12 All-Reserve (Big 12 media), Big 12 All-Underrated (The Oklahoman)
Tweety Carter All-American, fourth team (Sporting News); All-Big 12, second team (Big 12 media, AP, Austin American-Statesman, Columbia [Mo.] Tribune, Dallas Morning News, Kansas City Star, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Oklahoman, San Antonio Express-News, Sporting News, Yahoo! Sports); All-Big 12, third team (coaches); Big 12 All-Improved (Big 12 media)
Scott Drew All-Coaches, second team (Yahoo! Sports); Big 12 Coach of the Year (Austin American-Statesman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
LaceDarius Dunn All-American, honorable mention (Yahoo! Sports); All-Big 12, second team (coaches, AP, Dallas Morning News, Columbia [Mo.] Tribune, Austin American-Statesman, San Antonio Express-News, Sporting News); All-Big 12, third team (The Oklahoman, Yahoo! Sports)
Ekpe Udoh All-American, third team (Yahoo! Sports); All-American, fourth team (FOXSports.com); USBWA All-District VII; All-Big 12, first team (Austin American-Statesman, Columbia [Mo.] Tribune); All-Big 12, second team (coaches, AP, Big 12 media, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Kansas City Star, The Oklahoman, San Antonio Express-News, Sporting News, Yahoo! Sports); Big 12 Newcomer of the Year (coaches, Columbia [Mo.] Tribune, Dallas Morning News, Austin American-Statesman, Big 12 media, Yahoo! Sports, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Antonio Express-News, Kansas City Star); Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Sporting News), Big 12 All-Defense (coaches, Big 12 media, The Oklahoman); Big 12 All-Rookie (coaches); Big 12 All-Newcomer (Big 12 media, The Oklahoman)
Tonight, BaylorNation, is a big night.
Baylor Visits Children's Mercy Hospital in K.C. 5:11 P.M., WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Wednesday's schedule IS A FAR CRY from this time last year. If you remember at this very moment in Oklahoma City, the No. 9 seeded Bears defeated Nebraska in the first round and we were busy churning out game notes, etc., for Thursday's quarterfinal game against top-seeded Kansas.
The visit brought smiles to the children's faces...many of them commented that Quincy Acy was their favorite dunker. The team took photos with some of the kids and a few doctors, as well. Head coach Scott Drew's uncle, Tom Demark, a retired school teacher, works at the hospital.
Primed for Another Championship Run 8:50 A.M., WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Last year, no one predicted the No. 9 seed Baylor Bears to survive and advance three times at the 2009 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship in OKC. Needless to say, being the No. 3 seed in this year's Big 12 Championship, national media are putting the Bears back in the finals...
ESPN analyst Jay Williams (last night) predicted Baylor to win the Big 12 Championship and has the Bears as potential Final Four team.
SI.com's Seth Davis (overlooking the Big 12 Championship) included the Bears as one of his Final Four sleeper teams (Wisconsin).
Sporting News' Ryan Fagan: Kansas 77, Baylor 73 in the finals. Fagan says the Bears are the hottest team in the tournament field right now and the best matchup of the tournament could be Kansas' Cole Aldrich vs. Baylor's Ekpe Udoh.
Kansas City Star's Blair Kerkhoff also predicts Kansas to upend the Bears in the finals.
SPORTING NEWS ALL-BIG 12 Baylor's trio of Tweety Carter, LaceDarius Dunn and Ekpe Udoh were named second-team All-Big 12 by Sporting News Wednesday. Udoh was voted as Sporting News' Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.
UDOH FOXSPORTS.COM ALL-AMERICAN Ekpe Udoh added yet another national honor to his collection Tuesday afternoon when 'The Nightmare' was named a fourth-team All-American byFOXSports.com's Jeff Goodman. Udoh was joined on the fourth team by Texas' Damion James and K-State's Denis Clemente.
'Joey Brackets' Moves Baylor Up, Scott Drew Headlines More Media Big 12 Honors 12:37 P.M., TUESDAY, MARCH 9, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi (herein referred to as 'Joey Brackets') has apparently heard many of the cries from BaylorNation, shouting from the rooftops for Baylor to be a No. 3 or No. 4 regional seed. In his latest Bracketology late last night (11:55 PM EST), the Bears were bumped from a No. 5 seed to a No. 4 seed in Spokane, Wash., against projected MAC automatic qualifier Kent State.
Lunardi's Nitty Gritty Report lists Baylor as the last No. 4 seed behind Wisconsin, Vanderbilt and Tennessee. Speaking of Wisconsin, SI.com's Seth Davis (who should get an honorary Bear Pit jersey for his support of the Bears this season) has the Bears and the Badgers as two of his Final Four sleeper picks (in the Twitterverse).
Tuesday's been a busy day as more Big 12 and national awards continue to roll in for Baylor...
After guiding the Bears from a 10th-place preseason pick to a second-place finish in the Big 12 standings, head coach Scott Drew was named Big 12 Coach of the Year by Austin American-Statesman. Ekpe Udoh was named to the first team, while he picked up Newcomer of the Year honors...yet again. LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter were all named to the All-Big 12 second team by the Statesman.
The trio was also named to the All-Big 12 second team by the Associated Press...Udoh picked up Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors from the AP, as well. Just add these honors to the laundry list of accolades the Bears have received already this season:
Quincy Acy Big 12 All-Reserve (Big 12 media), Big 12 All-Underrated (The Oklahoman)
Tweety Carter All-American, fourth team (Sporting News); All-Big 12, second team (Big 12 media, AP, Austin American-Statesman, Kansas City Star, The Oklahoman, Yahoo! Sports); All-Big 12, third team (coaches); Big 12 All-Improved (Big 12 media)
Scott Drew All-Coaches, second team (Yahoo! Sports); Big 12 Coach of the Year (Austin American-Statesman)
LaceDarius Dunn All-American, honorable mention (Yahoo! Sports); All-Big 12, second team (coaches, AP, Austin American-Statesman); All-Big 12, third team (The Oklahoman, Yahoo! Sports)
Ekpe Udoh All-American, third team (Yahoo! Sports); USBWA All-District VII; All-Big 12, first team (Austin American-Statesman); All-Big 12, second team (coaches, AP, Big 12 media, Kansas City Star, The Oklahoman, Yahoo! Sports); Big 12 Newcomer of the Year (coaches, Austin American-Statesman, Big 12 media, Yahoo! Sports, Kansas City Star); Big 12 All-Defense (coaches, Big 12 media, The Oklahoman) Big 12 All-Rookie (coaches); Big 12 All-Newcomer (Big 12 media, The Oklahoman)
For 30 games in the regular season, the Baylor Bears played the underdog role with great success, finishing with a 24-6 record - the best record in 64 years. But now, Baylor is no longer flying under the radar as many national writers expecting the Bears run the table in Kansas City. Blair Kerkhoff of Kansas City Starprojects the Bears to face the Kansas Jayhawks in the finals. ESPN.com's Pat Forde thinks Baylor will knock off the Jayhawks in the finals and could be a very dangerous team in both the Big 12 Championship and NCAA Tournament.
Let the Madness begin.
Tweety Finally Receiving Much-Deserved National Attention 11:40 A.M., TUESDAY, MARCH 9, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Carter is the first Baylor player to be named to Sporting News All-American since Micheal Williams earned back-to-back honorable mention accolades from the publication in 1987 and 1988.
Carter, a third-team All-Big 12 selection by the league's coaches, was also named second-team All-Big 12 Tuesday by Austin American-Statesman.
The Reserve, La., native is the third Baylor player to be an All-American selection this season. Ekpe Udoh (third team) and LaceDarius Dunn (honorable mention) were both named to the Yahoo! Sports All-American team.
Now, Carter, Udoh and Dunn join these nine previous Baylor All-Americans:
Hubert S. 'Hub' Kirkpatrick Helms Foundation, first team (1938) Newspaper Enterprise Association, second team (1938)
Pete Creasy Newspaper Enterprise Association, third team (1939)
Jackie Robinson Helms Foundation, second team (1946) Helms Foundation, second team (1948)
William Chatmon Helms Foundation (1971)
Vinnie Johnson Helms Foundation (1978) AP, second team (1979) Converse Yearbook, second team (1979) Helms Foundation (1979)
Terry Teagle Helms Foundation (1980, 1981, 1982) AP, second team (1982)
Quincy Acy: Top (Two) Plays of the Week 4:08 P.M., MONDAY, MARCH 8, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Baylor's one-man dunking machine otherwise known as The Cookie Monster, sophomore Quincy Acy dazzled the soldout Ferrell Center crowd last Saturday with 10 highlight-reel dunks during the Bears' 92-77 win over Texas. Acy's monster block on Damion James earned him the No. 5 spot on SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays Saturday night...But on Monday, Acy earned the top two spots on the Top 10 Plays of the weekend.
(Video courtesy of ESPN)
For the record, Quincy Acy has 68 dunks this season...
Monday Afternoon Bracketology and Big 12 Awards Galore 3:47 P.M., MONDAY, MARCH 8, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
This time next week, we will know the Who? What? When? and Where? as it pertains to the Baylor Bears and the NCAA Tournament. Who will the Bears play in the first round? What region? When will they play? and probably one of the more important questions, Where will they play?
As we enter the final week, every Bracketologist's bracket will be fluid with automatic bids being decided and "bubbles" bursting. This year, Baylor won't be waiting around wondering its NCAA fate as the Bears are securely in the Field of 65. We just don't have answers to the four above questions.
Last week we mentioned the thought of the Bears as a solid No. 5 seed. Following Baylor's 15-point rout of the Longhorns Saturday and its RPI jumping to No. 8 this week, the Bears are finding themselves playing for a No. 3 seed in the "Big Dance". That could become a reality with Baylor's performance in this week's Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship in Kansas City.
Today's Monday Afternoon Bracketology will chronicle seven different bracketology reports - some seeding Baylor higher than others. For instance:
Bracketology 101 moves Baylor into the South Region (Houston, Texas) with the Bears as a No. 5 seed vs. No. 12 Ole Miss in Spokane, Wash. A&M and Xavier are listed as 6 seeds, while Texas and Missouri occupy the 7 seed line. Oklahoma State is a No. 8 seed in this model.
ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi likes the idea of Baylor in Spokane; the resident bracketologist has the Bears as a No. 5 seed vs. No. 12 Memphis in his latest projection. BU, which is No. 8 in the latest RPI, is the last No. 5 seed in Lunardi's Nitty Gritty Report. The first No. 6 seed is Texas A&M.
Is the Crescent City in Baylor's future? We won't know until Sunday, by SI.com's Andy Glockner has the Bears as a No. 4 seed in New Orleans vs. Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference automatic qualifier Siena.
Sporting News lists Georgetown, Temple (Atlantic 10 automatic), BAYLOR and Michigan State as No. 4 seeds latest Field of 65 projections.
FOR THE GOOD NEWS:
Rush The Court lists Baylor as a No. 3 seed in New Orleans against Weber State (Big Sky Conference). RTC has the Bears winning their first three games - Weber State (64), Gonzaga (32) and West Virginia (16) - and advancing to the Elite Eight in Salt Lake City.
Both of our final two bracketology reports also have Baylor as a No. 3 seed...
It's one of the most exciting times of the year and should really earn "National Holiday" status.
BIG 12 HONORS CONTINUE TO ROLL IN Sunday, the Big 12 Conference announced the 2010 Phillips 66 All-Big 12 teams. And for the first time in the Big 12 era, the Bears have three first-, second- or third-team honorees. In addition to the Big 12 coaches, media outlets announced their conference teams, which featured several Baylor Bears. Here's your BIG 12 AWARD ROLL CALL:
Quincy Acy Big 12 All-Reserve (Big 12 media) Big 12 All-Underrated (The Oklahoman)
Tweety Carter All-Big 12, second team (Big 12 media, Kansas City Star, The Oklahoman, Yahoo! Sports All-Big 12, third team (coaches) Big 12 All-Improved (Big 12 media)
LaceDarius Dunn All-American, honorable mention (Yahoo! Sports) All-Big 12, second team (coaches) All-Big 12, third team (The Oklahoman, Yahoo! Sports)
Ekpe Udoh All-American, third team (Yahoo! Sports) All-Big 12, second team (coaches, Big 12 media, Kansas City Star, The Oklahoman, Yahoo! Sports) Big 12 Newcomer of the Year (coaches, Big 12 media, Yahoo! Sports, Kansas City Star) Big 12 All-Defense (coaches, Big 12 media, The Oklahoman) Big 12 All-Rookie (coaches) Big 12 All-Newcomer (Big 12 media, The Oklahoman)
Boom Goes the Dynamite, The Day Aftermath, Part II 12:08 A.M., SUNDAY, MARCH 7, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Flight 4, prepare for lift-off in 3...2...1...
On second thought, we better count to 10. As in Quincy Acy's 10 monsterous dunks, while finishing with a career-high 24 points to help lead No. 21 Baylor to a 92-77 win over No. 25 Texas Saturday night in front of a sold-out Ferrell Center crowd. Acy's performance was so impressive that his 10 dunks - along with a dunk counter - and two blocked shots were the only highlights from the Baylor win shown on SportsCenter. And his dunks didn't even make Top 10 plays! His monster blocked shot on Damion James in the second half came in at No. 5 on Top Plays.
Picked 10th in the Big 12 preseason poll in October, Baylor (24-6) finishes the regular season tied for second in the conference standings and earn a first-round bye in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship. The Bears' No. 3 seed is their highest in the Big 12 era and their highest since earning a No. 2 seed in the 1988 Southwest Conference Postseason Classic.
For those scoring at home, here's a complimentary QUINCY ACY DUNK-O-METER:68. That's right:68 of Acy's 118 field goals this season have come by virtue of a rim-rattling dunk. Acy definitely wore his PF Flyers for Saturday's 15-point rout of the Longhorns. How's this for a segue...'The Cookie Monster' dunked a lot, so we'll clean the glass with some TEXAS LEFTOVERS:
Baylor has now won three straight games against Texas.
Baylor has now won four straight Big 12 games for the first time this season.
Baylor has now won nine of its last 11 games.
Baylor swept the season series with Texas for the first time since the 1997-98 season.
For the first time in the Big 12 era, Baylor has swept three conference regular season series (Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas).
Baylor increased its three-year school-record total to 69 wins.
Saturday's win extend its March winning streak to six games, dating back to Baylor's postseason run in 2008-09.
Baylor is now 18 games above .500 for the first time since the Bears were 23-5 in 1947-48.
Baylor has now won 24 games this season - tied with the second-most wins in school history.
Baylor's 24 wins are the second-most regular season victories in school history - BU won 25 during the 1945-46 regular season.
Baylor won its school-record 11th Big 12 game Saturday.
Scott Drew passed Jim Haller (104) for the fourth-most coaching wins in school history.
Baylor improved to 31-8 in its last 39 games.
Baylor improved its record to 14-14 in the month of March in the Drew era.
Tonight's attendance of 10,562 is a new Ferrell Center single-game attendance record.
Baylor set Ferrell Center record for single-season home victories (15).
Baylor improved to 12-0 this season and 51-6 in Drew era when scoring 80-plus points. With his 10 assists, Tweety Carter moved into sixth place on the school single-season assists list. Carter, who now has 164 assists this season, passed Nelson Haggerty (161, 1993-94).
Carter has dished out eight or more assists on nine occasions this season.
Carter has scored in double-figures for the 20th time this season and the 64th time of his career.
LaceDarius Dunn has scored 20-plus points for the 14th time this season and the 29th time of his career.
Dunn has scored 25-plus points eight times this season.
Dunn has scored 30-plus three times this season.
Acy established a new career-high with 24 points.
Acy scored in double figures for the 15th time this season. Baylor is 17-4 when Acy scores 10+ points in his first two seasons.
Ekpe Udoh streak of 32 consecutive games with a blocked shot came to an end.
Saturday's home finale win over Texas seems lightyears away from this point last year when Baylor lost its home finale to Nebraska, fell to 17-13 overall and were a No. 9 seed in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship. Last year, Baylor's postseason hopes appeared dim until the Bears reeled off one of the impressive postseason runs in NCAA memory. Now the question is not: Will Baylor make the tournament? It's: How far can the Bears go in the NCAA Tournament? These are definitely fun times at Baylor, but the madness is just beginning.
What will we do now that we don't play again until Thursday in Kansas City?
We'll have plenty to talk about beginning with the announcing of the All-Big 12 teams Sunday afternoon.
NBA Scouts Flocking to Ferrell Center 1:47 P.M., SATURDAY, MARCH 6, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Twelve different NBA scouts are expected to attend Saturday's regular season finale between No. 21 Baylor and No. 25 Texas in the Ferrell Center. Ten different NBA organizations will be represented, including the Miami Heat, Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Among those scheduled to be in attendance Saturday is Miami President/GM Pat Riley, who led the Los Angeles Lakers to four NBA titles and the Miami Heat to the 2006 NBA title as head coach.
Stage is Set for Epic Senior Day 12:07 P.M., SATURDAY, MARCH 6, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Saturday's Senior Day could go down as one of the greatest endings to a regular season in the 104-year history of Baylor basketball. At 23-6 overall and 10-5 in the Big 12, a win over Texas will send the Bears to Kansas City with a first-round bye in next week's Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship. A win will also give Baylor a Ferrell Center-record 15 home wins...The Bears would finish 15-1 at home this season.
A win would also mean that the winningest senior class in school history - Josh Lomers and Tweety Carter - will leave the Ferrell Center court one last time as victors. Lomers and Carter are the first senior class with three straight 20-win seasons and will be the first class with three consecutive postseason appearances.
With Saturday's game expected to be a sellout, the Ferrell Center will be very rowdy and could prove to a be a huge homecourt advantage. Aside from the obvious (a first-round bye), A BAYLOR WIN WOULD...
Clinch at least the No. 3 seed in next week's Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Championship in Kansas City -- Baylor's highest tournament seed in the Big 12 era and its highest since earning a No. 2 seed in the 1988 Southwest Conference Postseason Classic.
Extend its winning streak to three games over Texas -- Baylor's longest winning streak in the series since winning six straight games from Feb. 7, 1981-Feb. 26, 1983.
Give the Bears their first season series sweep of Texas since the 1997-98 season.
Give the Bears three season series sweeps of Big 12 South opponents for the first time in the Big 12 era.
Increase its three-year school-record total to 69 wins.
Extend its March winning streak to six games, dating back to Baylor's postseason run in 2008-09.
Push it to 18 games above .500 for the first time since the Bears were 23-5 in 1947-48.
Be its 24th of the season, tied for the second-most wins in school history.
Be its school-record 11th Big 12 victory.
Be its 11th conference victory -- the most since the Bears won 11 SWC contests in the 1987-88 season.
Set a new Ferrell Center single-season record with 15 home victories.
Be its second win as a Top 25 team in the month of March.
Be its 20th in the last 25 games.
Be its 21st as a ranked team in the Scott Drew era.
Be Drew's 105th as BU head coach.
Improve its record to 31-8 in its last 39 games.
Improve its record to 14-14 in the month of March in the Drew era.
Unlike the last two seasons, Baylor's NCAA postseason dreams are secured...There will be no 'bubble talk' for the Bears come Selection Sunday. Baylor is in the NCAA Tournament, but where? what seed? Those two questions will answered during the next seven days.
One of the Nation's Best Scorers? Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn 11:43 A.M., SATURDAY, MARCH 6, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
"Nationally, the average college basketball fan has no idea how good a scorer Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn is. He is one of the best in the country at making tough shots and, when he is left open, it's an upset when the ball doesn't go in."
"What makes him so hard to defend is his confidence. There are not many guys around the country that are playing better than him, especially at the two-guard spot."
Honoring Baylor's Winningest Senior Class 8:55 P.M., FRIDAY, MARCH 5, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Seniors Tweety Carter and Josh Lomers will play their final home game Saturday.
Prior to the start of Saturday's regular season finale in the Ferrell Center, Baylor will honor the winningest class in program history -- Josh Lomers and Tweety Carter -- during Senior Day festivities.
#50 JOSH LOMERS, CENTER (BOERNE, TEXAS) Lomers currently ranks as the Baylor career leader with 77 victories and a 66.3 field goal percentage, while ranking second behind fellow senior Tweety Carter with 122 career games played. He also ranks eighth in Baylor history with 73 career blocked shots. Earlier this week, he was named to the Academic All-Big 12 first team for the third consecutive season. He is enjoying the best season of his college career, averaging 6.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 17.3 minutes in 29 games this season. A double major in human resource management and finance, he is scheduled to graduate from Baylor in May.
#45 TWEETY CARTER, GUARD (RESERVE, LA.) The first McDonald's All-American in school history, Carter will conclude his college career ranked in the top five of several categories at Baylor, including overall wins, Big 12 wins, games played, Big 12 games played, Big 12 games started, points, 3-point field goals and assists. He enters Saturday as the school's all-time leader with 124 games played and second behind fellow senior Josh Lomers with 76 career victories. He currently ranks third with 263 career 3-pointers, fourth with 440 career assists and 10th with 1,353 career points. He is one of only three players in school history to finish his career with at least 1,000 points and 400 assists. A general studies major in health human performance and recreation, he is scheduled to graduate from Baylor in May.
Friday Lunchtime Bracketology 12:20 P.M., FRIDAY, MARCH 5, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Today's Bracketology musings, in no particular order:
No. 6 (Jacksonville)
No. 6 (Buffalo)
No. 3 (New Orleans)
No. 7 (Milwaukee)
No. 5 (Spokane)
And now for the reveal:
The ever-so ubiquitous Rush The Court has the Bears as a No.6 seed in Jacksonville against fellow 2009 NIT Final Four team Notre Dame (ND is one of Joe Lunardi's Last Four In). Unlike other sites, RTC takes a step further, predicting round-by-round results. Today, the Bears win over Notre Dame before falling to The Ohio State University in the second round. RTC even suggests a possible Kansas-Kansas State Final Four matchup in Indianapolis.
Finally...Bracketology 101 (in conjunction with FOXSports.com) has Baylor in Spokane as a No. 5 seed against No. 12 Mississippi State. In comparison to Baylor's opponents: No. 1 - Kansas; Nop. 2 - Kansas State; No. 6 - Xavier, Texas A&M; No. 7 - Missouri, Texas; No. 8 - Oklahoma State; No. 15 - Morgan State.
Calling All Letterwinners: Baylor "Ballers" Event 10:54 A.M., FRIDAY, MARCH 5, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
All Baylor letterwinners are invited to attend the second annual Baylor "Ballers" Event prior to Saturday's regular season finale with Texas. Sponsored by Kevin Henry '02, the event will feature a complimentary BBQ lunch and fellowship from Noon-2 p.m. in the XTO Room (Simpson Center, 2nd floor).
To RSVP for the lunch and fellowship on Saturday, please call Tammy Hardin at (254) 710-3045.
Do the Math. 11-5=No. 3 Seed (almost) 11:08 P.M., THURSDAY, MARCH 4, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Our seeding scenario suspicions were confirmed late this evening when the Big 12 Conference posted its 21 different seeding scenarios on www.Big12Sports.com.
The math is simple. 11-5=No. 3 seed (almost). Of the six possible tiebreak scenarios featuring Baylor at 11-5, the Bears are the No. 3 seed in four situations and the No. 2 seed in two others. However, 10-6=No. 5 or No. 6.
One game could be a swing of four seeds. That's how good the Big 12 is this season.
If Baylor is in a four-team logjam at 11-5 with Kansas State, Missouri and Texas A&M, Baylor will be the No. 2 seed in Kansas City. If Baylor is in a four-way tie at 10-6 with Missoui, A&M and Texas, the Bears will be a No. 5 seed. The only BU will be a No. 6 seed is if either a) Baylor, Missouri and Texas are tied at 10-6 or b) only Baylor and Texas are tied at 10-6.
Thursday Afternoon Bracketology 4:42 P.M., THURSDAY, MARCH 4, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Lunardi still lists Baylor as a No. 6 seed in Buffalo. This time against the Florida Gators, which should be on the proverbial 'bubble'. If you remember Monday's Afternoon Bracketology, you'd know Baylor was a No. 6 in Buffalo against No. 11 St. Mary's. Same city. Same seed. Different foe. Either way, we think Baylor is destined for a No. 5 or 6 seed. We think that's a fair assessment. To put it in perspective, since the NCAA starting seeding teams in 1979, Baylor has been a No. 8 seed (1988) and a No. 11 seed (2008).
Last season, Baylor was a No. 3 seed in the Auburn Region of the NIT, which would equate to a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
For the third consecutive week, CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm is holding strong in his projection that Baylor will play Kent State as a No. 4 seed in San Jose. Baylor/Kent State is paired with No. 5 Michigan State/No. 12 Utah State. Interesting Note: Two of Baylor's 2009 NIT opponents - San Diego State and Virginia Tech - are listed as the 'Last Four In', according to Palm's projections.
Seeding for Kansas City...Could Come Down to Last Minute 12:59 P.M., THURSDAY, MARCH 4, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
As we enter the final weekend of the regular season, the stage is set, tie-break scenarios have been evaluated and Baylor is one win away from securing a first-round bye in next week's Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Championship. The litany of potential scenarios are not as simple as eighth-grade algebra or If A+B, then C. At least, most of the scenarios aren't as simple as that.
Now, to throw a wrench into the equation...Did you know Baylor could finish anywhere from a No. 2 seed to a No. 6seed? Simply put, a Baylor win over Texas Saturday would give the Bears a very high probability of being the No. 3 seed next week in Kansas City. A Baylor loss could mean the Bears are playing next Wednesday in the No. 6/No. 11 game.
Here's hoping to a simplied scenario listing, saving you all the math.
Baylor is on the verge of earning its first opening-round bye in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Championship in the Big 12 era. Entering Saturday's regular season finale with Texas, here's how the seeding will play out:
If Baylor beats Texas, the Bears are the:
No. 2 seed if Kansas State (home vs. Iowa State) and Texas A&M (at Oklahoma) loses and Missouri (home vs. Kansas) wins.
No. 2 seed if Kansas State loses and Texas A&M and Missouri both win.
No. 3 seed if Kansas State wins.
If Baylor loses to Texas, the Bears are the:
No. 5 seed if both Missouri (home vs. Kansas) and Texas A&M (at Oklahoma) loses.
No. 5 seed if Missouri wins and Texas A&M loses.
No. 6 seed if both Missouri and Texas A&M win.
No. 6 seed if Missouri loses and Texas A&M wins.
Want to know why these scenarios play out this way? The Big 12 Conference's tiebreaker rules are in-depth. Remember: while basketball does not have divisions like football, the league is divided into the BIG 12 NORTH and BIG 12 SOUTH for scheduling and tiebreaker purposes.
The regular season has been a marathon, but teams will be Sprinting to the finish Saturday in Kansas City.
That 'Thin Line' Getting Thinner After Win #23 2:25 P.M., WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Senior Tweety Carter continues to dish out dimes at a staggering (and Big 12-leading) rate of 6.16 assists per game. Carter's 154 assists rank eighth on Baylor's single-season list.
For the second time in three seasons, Baylor finished the regular season with a 4-4 road record in the Big 12. In head coach Scott Drew's first six seasons, Baylor was 6-42 on the road in the Big 12 and 2-38 in his first five seasons.
Now, the Bears are 23-6 overall and 10-5 in Big 12 play following their 86-68 win over Texas Tech in Lubbock Tuesday night. Baylor's 10 Big 12 wins? A school record in the Big 12 era...and the most conference wins since the Bears won 11 Southwest Conference games in 1987-88 (Baylor finished 23-11 and went to the NCAA Tournament that season).
Drew's squad of Underdogs is experiencing late-season success that has been paralleled only by Bill Henderson's 1947-48 squad. BU is 17 games above. 500 for the first time since that 1947-48 season. Oh yeah, and that 1947-48 team advanced to the NCAA title game at Madison Square Garden. Drew's Underdogs and Henderson's NCAA runner-up squads were both 23-6 through 29 games.
Rivals.com's Jason King has taken notice of Baylor's record-setting season, listing Drew on his Yahoo! Sports All-Coaches second team. Just how epic was Baylor's 23rd win of the season? See for yourself in Wednesday's TEXAS TECH LEFTOVERS:
Baylor has now won three straight Big 12 games for the second time this season.
Baylor has now won eight of its last 10 games.
Tuesday's win was Baylor's fourth Big 12 road victory of the season - tied for the most league road wins in the Big 12 era (BU won four in 2007-08).
Baylor swept the season series with Texas Tech for the second time in the last three seasons.
For the first time in the Big 12 era, Baylor has swept two conference regular season series (Oklahoma, Texas Tech).
Baylor increased its three-year school-record total to 68 wins.
Tuesday's win extend its March winning streak to five games, dating back to Baylor's postseason run in 2008-09.
Baylor is now 17 games above .500 for the first time since the Bears were 24-7 in 1947-48.
Baylor has now won 23 games this season - the third-most wins in school history.
Baylor won its school-record 10th Big 12 game Tuesday.
Baylor posted its ninth win away from home this season - second-most in the Scott Drew era.
Tuesday's win was Baylor's first as a Top 25 team in the month of March in school history.
Scott Drew tied Jim Haller (104) for the fourth-most coaching wins in school history.
Baylor improved to 30-8 in its last 38 games.
Baylor improved its record to 13-14 in the month of March in the Drew era.
Baylor is 5-3 this season and 23-82 in the Drew era when trailing at the half.
Baylor improved to 11-0 this season and 50-6 in Drew era when scoring 80-plus points.
Baylor has now 20 of its last 21 games when scoring 80 points or more.
Five Baylor players scored in double figures for the first time since Jan. 2, 2010, at South Carolina.
Tweety Carter tied former teammate Kevin Rogers for fourth place in school history with 63 career Big 12 games played.
With his nine assists at Tech, Carter moved into ninth place on the school single-season assists list. Carter, who now has 154 assists this season, passed Vinnie Johnson (149, 1977-78) and David Wesley (148, 1990-91).
Josh Lomers finished with a season-high 13 points, one point off his career high.
Quincy Acy scored in double figures for the 14th time this season. Baylor is 16-4 when Acy scores 10+ points in his first two seasons.
Ekpe Udoh has recorded a blocked shot in 32 consecutive games, dating back to his sophomore season at Michigan (2007-08).
With his six rebounds Tuesday, Udoh moved into ninth place on Baylor's single-season rebounds list with 288 boards.
ABOUT THAT 'THIN LINE' BETWEEN 'BYE' AND 'NO BYE'... The tournament seeding prognosis is simple: A Baylor win Saturday and you have the No. 3 seed and a first-round bye in next week's Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Championship. You don't win...well, you don't get a bye.
THREE CLAPS FOR... Josh Lomers. The senior from Boerne, Texas, was named to the 2010 Academic All-Big 12 first team Wednesday. He is the first BU player in the Big 12 to garner three straight first-team selections and the sixth first-team pick under head coach Scott Drew.
Baylor's March to Kansas City Begins Tonight 1:07 P.M., TUESDAY, MARCH 2, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
As mentioned this morning, Baylor is playing for seeding in Kansas City. And if the Bears want a first-round bye in the 2010 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Championship, then Baylor will need to handle its business with a win tonight at Texas Tech.
Two Baylor wins this week = No. 3 seed. A 1-1 week by Baylor = a fate TBD Saturday.
Baylor's March to Kansas City could be one of historic proportions. But it all begins at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock...Baylor is 13-42 all-time in Lubbock and 1-5 in the Scott Drew era. How big would a win be tonight in Lubbock? Well, see for yourself:
A BAYLOR WIN WOULD...
Be its fourth Big 12 road win of the season -- tied for the most league road wins in the Big 12 era (BU won four in 2007-08).
Give the Bears their second season series sweep in the last three seasons of Texas Tech.
Give the Bears two season series sweeps of Big 12 South opponents for the first time in the Big 12 era.
Increase its three-year school-record total to 68 wins.
Extend its March winning streak to five games, dating back to Baylor's postseason run in 2008-09.
Push it to 17 games above .500 for the first time since the Bears were 24-7 in 1947-48.
Be its 23rd of the season, the third-most wins in school history.
Be its school-record 10th Big 12 victory.
Be its first win as a Top 25 team in the month of March.
Be its 19th in the last 24 games.
Be its 20th as a ranked team in the Drew era.
Be Drew's 104th as BU head coach.
Tie Drew with Jim Haller for the fourth-most coaching wins in school history.
Improve its record to 16-7 in its last 23 games away from home.
Improve its record to 30-8 in its last 38 games.
Improve its record to 13-14 in the month of March.
Every win is significant. Every game is a "big" game.
SERIES HISTORY Tuesday is the 120th meeting in the series. Texas Tech leads the all-time series, 74-45, but Baylor has won six of the last eight meetings, including four of the last five. Texas Tech leads the Big 12-era series, 17-11. Baylor is seeking its second season series sweep of Texas Tech in the last three seasons. Baylor is 13-42 all-time in Lubbock and 1-5 under head coach Scott Drew. Tuesday is Baylor's first game in Lubbock as a Top 25 team. Drew is 6-7 all-time vs. Texas Tech.
PREVIEWING TEXAS TECH Texas Tech, which started the season at 9-0, enters Tuesday's series finale on a five-game losing streak at 16-12 overall. Texas Tech dropped into a three-way tie for eighth place in the Big 12 standings at 4-10 after an 83-79 double-overtime loss Feb. 27 at Nebraska. Tech, which is 13-4 at the United Spirit Arena this season, has lost three straight home games, including two by less than five points. John Roberson, one of four Red Raiders averaging double figures, leads Texas Tech with 14.8 points and 5.3 assists per game. Mike Singletary ranks second behind Roberson in scoring (14.5) and leads the Red Raiders in rebounding (6.7). Roberson ranks second in the Big 12 Conference in assists behind Baylor's Tweety Carter. Singletary's younger brother, Robert, signed an NLI to play football at Baylor in February. Texas Tech has five more blocks (127) as a team than Baylor's Ekpe Udoh (122) by himself in 28 games.
LAST TIME VS. TEXAS TECH (FEB. 16, 2010) LaceDarius Dunn scored 30 points and Ekpe Udoh finished one block shy of his second triple-double of the season, helping No. 22 Baylor to an 88-70 rout of Texas Tech in the Ferrell Center. Udoh finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and nine blocks. The win gave Baylor its third consecutive 20-win season under head coach Scott Drew. It is only the sixth 20-win season for Baylor, which has won five of its last six games. Dunn scored 10 points in the final six minutes of the first half, after being held scoreless until then, to put the Bears ahead to stay. His first points came on two free throws that made it 25-24, part of his eight consecutive points for Baylor.
LAST TIME AT TEXAS TECH (FEB. 7, 2009) Alan Voskuil and John Roberson each scored 18 points to lead Texas Tech over Baylor 83-76, ending the Red Raiders' four-game losing streak, and extending the Bears' losing streak to five games. Baylor let a 12-point lead midway through the second half evaporate and scored only one field goal in the final 3:29 of the game in its fifth straight loss. Back-to-back steals by Michael Prince and D'walyn Roberts with less than two minutes remaining kept the Bears from pulling close down the stretch. Curtis Jerrells scored 20 points and Kevin Rogers added 17 points for Baylor.
A RECORD TO REMEMBER In Baylor's regular season finale at Texas Tech in 2008, then-freshman guard LaceDarius Dunn scored a career-high and United Spirit Arena-record 38 points in Baylor's 86-73 win. Dunn finished 10-of-16 from the floor, including 6-of-9 from 3-point range.
Be sure to tune into FOX Sports Southwest or FOX Sports Houston for tonight's 7:07 p.m. CST tip between Baylor and Texas Tech in Lubbock.Or...you can turn down the sound on your TV and turn up the volume on your radio dial to 1660 ESPN with John Morris and Pat Nunley.
Tiebreakers The first criteria in the breaking of ties in the standings shall be head-to-head competition of tied teams. The following procedure will be used to establish the championship seeds if ties exist. (For tiebreaking procedures teams will be grouped in two "divisions" based upon established guidelines. Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Nebraska are in one division and Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech are in the other division.)
(a) If two teams are tied and they are from different divisions, the winner of the game between the two tied teams shall be the higher seed.
(b) If two teams are tied and they are from the same division, the team with an advantage in head-to-head competition shall be the higher seed.
(c) If two teams remain tied, there will be a comparison of overall record against division teams only (10 divisional games).
(d) If two teams remain tied, there will be a comparison of record against the highest ranked team(s) (based upon Conference winning percentage) in the division and proceeding through in order of divisional record.
(e) If two teams remain tied, there will be a *comparison of record against the highest ranked team(s) (based upon Conference winning percentage) in the opposite division and proceeding through in order of divisional record.
(f ) If two teams remain tied, the higher seed will be chosen by draw.
(g) If three or more teams are tied, ties among divisional opponents will be broken first by using steps (b) through (f ) and the head-to-head results will be used to break ties between non-divisional teams. When three or more teams from the same division are tied step (b) will consist of a mini- round robin among the tied teams. At any point during the process of breaking ties among three or more teams that the number of tied teams are reduced to two, head-to-head competition would be used as the primary tie-breaker, followed-by steps (c) through (f).
Note:When comparing against the "highest ranked team(s)" in either division, the comparison will be based upon how tied teams did against all teams in a given placement, rather than a team that wins a tiebreaker at another position. For example, if two teams are tied for fifth and two teams are tied for first, the head-to-head comparison would be how the fifth place teams did against the first place teams combined, and vice-versa.
Baylor, which is 22-6 and 9-5 in the Big 12 entering tonight's game at Texas Tech, is playing for seeding next week in Kansas City...not for the NCAA Tournament like last season. Let the Madness Begin.
This Mad Season We're In 3:51 P.M., MONDAY, MARCH 1, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
With the regular season winding down, everyone is shifting more and more of their focus to the conference tournaments and, of course, Bracketology. Unlike two years ago - and even last season, when were watching NITology.com for the latest updates - Baylor won't have to worry about its name and the words 'NCAA', 'Tournament', 'Bubble' and 'The' being mentioned in the same sentence. This year, Baylor's ticket to the 'Big Dance' is punched. But, to where?
In our early Monday Morning Bracketology today, Baylor's madness-induced March travels were possibly bringing the Bears to Spokane, Wash. Well, three more Bracketology reports were unveiled this afternoon and none of which had Baylor going to cities that began with 'Spok-' and ended with '-ane'. CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm, who runs the website CollegeRPI.com, projects Baylor as the No. 4 seed in the East Region out west in San Jose, Calif., against the Golden Flashes of Kent State. Scott Drew's squad would possibly face his alma mater, No. 4 Butler, if the Bulldogs were to get by No. 12 UConn in the first round.
Concluding our Monday Afternoon Bracketology segment is ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi, who has Baylor holding steady at No. 6 in Buffalo against No. 11 St. Mary's. The winner of Baylor/St. Mary's would be paired with the No. 3 West Virginia/No. 14 Oakland winner.
An interesting side note: Three of Lunardi's 'Last Four In' all played in the NIT last year, including two Baylor NIT opponents - Virginia Tech and San Diego State.
BAYLOR TRIUMVIRATE AMONG NATION'S TOP 10 Baylor trio Ekpe Udoh, LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter all rank in the top 10 nationally of at least one NCAA statistical category. Udoh ranks third in triple-doubles and fourth in blocked shots per game; Dunn ranks fifth nationally in 3-point field goals per game, while Carter is eighth in assists per game. As a team, the Bears are fourth nationally in blocked shots per game, sixth in FG percentage defense and seventh in rebounding margin.
'THE NIGHTMARE' IN SPORTING NEWS Baylor junior forward Ekpe Udohis featured in an excellent Q&A on SportingNews.com. The interview so good that a portion was published today online and the interview in its entirety will be featured in Tuesday's Sporting News Today.
It's March, Let the Madness Begin 10:42 A.M., MONDAY, MARCH 1, 2010 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
The Selection Committee won't care about where Baylor ranks in the AP or ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls...They will care about RPI, quality wins, strength of schedule, etc.
Rankings aside, Baylor is in contention for not only a top-four seed in next week's Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in Kansas City, but also a top-five seed in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. As of this morning's latest Bracketology reports, the Bears appear to be a solid No. 5 seed:
TheHoopsReport.com, Rush The Court and Bracketology 101 also share one thing in common: all three have Baylor as a No. 5 seed in Spokane, Wash.
ESPN.com's Andy Katz lists Baylor head coach Scott Drew as one of five coaches deserving praise in Sunday's Weekly Watch:
"The Bears fumbled away their chance in the Big 12 last season but still rallied to make the NIT final. They weren't supposed to contend for a bid out of the Big 12 this season but have consistently won on the road to share a third-place standing with Texas A&M and Missouri through 14 games. Drew's Bears are a threat to win in Kansas City in the Big 12 tournament and a game or two in the NCAA tournament. Drew has always recruited well and now should be applauded for his coaching, too."