ZING, ZANG, ZOOM - Baylor Takes the World's Biggest Stage 3:37 P.M. EDT TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Tonight is one of the reasons why these guys came to Baylor. Baylor takes to the world's biggest stage Tuesday night when the Bears face the San Diego State Aztecs in the NIT Semifinals at 7 p.m. EDT at Madison Square Garden. During shoot around, we walked around MSG in awe of the banners hanging from the rafters:
BILLY JOEL (with the number 12 - number of consecutive sellouts at MSG), ELTON JOHN (with the number 60 - number of concerts at MSG), New York Knick greats #10 WALT FRAZIER (G, 1967-77; broadcaster), #12 DICK BARNETT (G, 1965-74), #15 EARL MONROE (G, 1972-80); #15 DICK MCGUIRE (G, 1947-57; Head Coach, 1965-68); #19 WILLIS REED (C, 1964-74; Head Coach, 1977-78); #22 DAVE DEBUSSCHERE (F, 1969-74); #24 BILL BRADLEY (F, 1967-77); #33 PATRICK EWING (C, 1985-2000).
Also in attendance for Baylor's morning shoot around time were ESPN analysts Ron Franklin, Fran Fraschilla and Bill Raftery (ONIONS!), along with several star performers from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents ZING ZANG ZOOM. The Voice of the Bears, John Morris even got a sneak-peek at some of the elephants housed at MSG...At the end of practice, the team took a group shot at midcourt in front of the NIT logo - actual photo evidence to follow soon.
Following practice, the team headed back to the hotel for scout, chapel and pre-game meal. But, the reserved media group of FCP, Heath Nielsen, Robert Shiekh and JMo headed to the corner of W. 31st St. and Lexington Ave. for lunch at Vezzo Thin Crust Pizza where we met former Inside Baylor Sports producer Ryan "Diggs" Hendricks. After a relaxing lunch, we made the 20-minute trek back to the Marriott Marquis, crossing 5th Avenue, Avenue of the Americas, Broadway, while also passing the original Macy's in Herald Square.
While JMo does his show live from the ESPNZone in Times Square again today, we'll turn our attention to previewing tonight's showcase showdown between Baylor and the San Diego State Aztecs. So now, we're back with TUESDAY'S OPENING LIST:
Tuesday's Times Square Multimedia Miscellanea Madness
SCOUTING THE SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS Having surpassed its previous 38-season Division I postseason victory total (2) in a nine-day stretch (3), San Diego State (26-9) is the only remaining No. 1 seed still standing. SDSU, making its first appearance in a postseason national semifinal since claiming the 1941 NAIB (now NAIA) national title, has won three straight, eight of nine and 19 of its last 25 games.
At 26-9, San Diego State posted its fourth consecutive 20-win campaign - the fifth time the Aztecs have reached the 20-victory plateau under head coach Steve Fisher, its seventh 20-win campaign in 39 Division I seasons and the 14th time in the 88-year history of the program.
San Diego State is led by four All-Mountain West Conference selections, including Kyle Spain, Lorenzo Wade, Richie Williams and Billy White. Spain and Wade were selected to the second team by coaches and media, while Williams and White were named to the third team and honorable mention, respectively. Williams was also named to the MWC All-Defensive team.
KEYS TO VICTORY TONIGHT VS. SAN DIEGO STATE While we do not advocate preaching to the choir over and over and over again, we will continue to reiterate some of the finer points of Baylor's postseason play. Here's five things that we think need to happen in order for Baylor to advance to the NIT championship game Thursday:
Zone Baby, Zone. Apply ball pressure and continue to utilize their smothering zone defense that has helped Baylor in the postseason run.
Shot Selection. There's a reason for Baylor's postseason success: shot selection. Baylor is no longer a free-wheeling, three-point shooting team. The Bears use it when needed.
Lace Dunn. He has been one of Baylor's offensive weapons all year. And, while he is no longer the nation's best kept secret, the Big 12's Sixth Man-turned-starter is ready to fire at will. But, if he has an open lane, he will take it.
Post Presence. Josh Lomers has become a beast on the low blocks. Force them to defend the perimeter and let Lomers go to work.
Kevin Rogers and Tweety Carter. They've played at MSG before pre-Baylor. Rogers was on the major reasons that got Baylor to NYC. Now, it's time to close the deal.
Baylor's last win in New York City was on March 27, 1948 - a 59-57 victory over New York University at the Olympic Basketball Trials...It's time for a curtain call.
Before we go - don't forget to turn down the volume on your 42-inch HD flat screens (yes, you Justin Cange) and turn up The Voice of the Baylor Bears John Morris and the best color analyst in the business Pat Nunley on ESPN 1660 AM, 1660ESPN.com or BaylorBears.com. Pre-game show begins at 5:30 p.m. CDT courtside at Madison Square Garden. Maybe we'll see Spike Lee tonight...
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
Look Kids: Big Ben, Parliament 9:51 P.M. EDT MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Who says you can't get a crash tour of New York City in 30 minutes? Reminiscent of Clark Griswold on National Lampoon's European Vacation, the Bears got to see most of what midtown Manhattan has to offer, minus all the left-hand turns and constantly getting lost. Throughout the day - before practice, after practice and dinner - the Baylor Bears saw the Empire State Building, Ground Zero, Fashion District and the Wall Street District. Unfortunately, it was all from the bus because of time and traffic constraints.
However, we somehow forgot to mention a few of our stops during our post-press conference/pre-dinner free time along Broadway in Times Square...FCP and his predecessor, Heath Nielsen, ventured north of Times Square to The Ed Sullivan Theater - home of The Late Show with David Letterman. FCPedia Fact: The Ed Sullivan Theater is on the National Register of Historic Places. As we made the corner of Broadway and West 53rd Street, there it was...Rupert Jee's Hello Deli, which was made famous by David Letterman. We hope to have photographic proof of FCP's meeting Rupert at the Hello Deli tomorrow.
While the Bears' first day in New York City is in the books, Baylor photographer Matthew Minard is following the Bears during their quest for a NIT championship. And, what do you know - the first photo gallery has been posted.
Since we were rushed with the last post before dinner, we were able to round up a few photos from today's adventures, including one of The VoiceJohn Morris in action at ESPN 1050 AM at the ESPNZone. The other - Dos Tres being interviewed by the aforementioned JMo and "The Mayor" of Midtown Manhattan, Mamadou Diene, taking some time to pose with passers-by. For about a 10-minute span, Dos Tres and Dou were the center of attention along Broadway, posing for pictures who their adoring public.
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
Who Needs an Alarm When You Have New York City Outside Your Window 5:41 P.M. EDT MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind. When we arrived at the Marriott Marquis this morning at 1 a.m., it felt like we were in the heat of afternoon rush hour. It was a Sunday night and the streets were packed...The hustle and bustle of the "Big Apple".
This time around, Baylor's travel arrangements were a little easier, arriving in New York some 11 hours after departing Waco on a charter flight. Fifty-nine years ago, Baylor had to travel by rail which took a few days. Even though it took us longer that we thought, I'm just glad I didn't have to ride in one of the luggage cars with the circus animals...
Baylor's first "official" day in NYC began with team breakfast in the hotel, followed by the National Invitation Tournament Press Conference at noon. Local and national media were given the opportunity to interview select players and the head coach from each of the four participating schools. Seniors Curtis Jerrells and Kevin Rogers represented Baylor for the hour-long interview session in the 8th floor Atrium Lounge overlooking Broadway.
Once the one-on-one interviews were complete, the formal program of the NIT Press Conference began at 1 p.m. with an introduction by ESPN color analyst and former St. John's head coach Fran Fraschilla. Coach Fraschilla introduced the head coaches and then allowed each head coach to address the contingent for brief comments. Upon the conclusion of Monday's NIT Press Conference, the team headed to the campus of New York University for its two-hour practice slot. After the team departed for NYU, John Morris and his merry band of gypsies (FCP, Heath Nielsen, Robert Shiekh and Drew Pittman) walked three blocks down Broadway to the ESPNZone where JMo conducted his one-hour radio show from the in-restaurant studio for ESPN 1050 AM.
The team arrived back at the hotel around 4:30 p.m. where they were received by a small media swarm featuring Baylor Bear Inside media guru Jerry Hill alongside Inside Baylor Sports' Robert Shiekh and John Morris. From there, seniors Henry Dugat, Mamadou Diene and Kevin Rogers were interviewed along Broadway in front of the hotel for IBS. Apparently, EVERYONE takes pictures of EVERYTHING in New York City. Dou and K-Rog even stopped for photo ops with several adoring fans. However, Coach Drew was unable to find the Naked Cowboy in Times Square.
Tonight, the teams will enjoy a Welcome Dinner sponsored by the NIT at The Boathouse in Central Park. You know it's pretty swanky when coat and tie are required...Luckily, FCP came prepared.
By this time Tuesday, Baylor will be on the court at Madison Square Garden for pre-game warm-ups...
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
Finding Teterboro...It's Not as Easy as It Sounds 2:31 A.M. EDT MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
It's been 59 years and a week since Baylor last played at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Everyone is eagerly anticipating Tuesday's NIT semifinal between Baylor and the San Diego State Aztecs. What Baylor has accomplished in the last three weeks has been amazing. And, the Bears are on the cusp of capturing the first NIT (or NCAA) championship in program history. Oh, and by the way, here's a bragging point: Following Oklahoma's loss to North Carolina in the NCAA Elite Eight Sunday, Baylor is now the ONLY Big 12 remaining in postseason play.
We've been planning all week to arrive in Times Square around 8 p.m. EDT and enjoy some of the scenery and the lights of the "Big Apple". Well...as we've seen - especially with the events of this season - nothing goes as scripted. And, that includes traveling. We were intended to depart Waco Regional at 2 p.m. CDT and land in the "Big Apple" at 7 p.m. EDT, followed by an approximate 8:15 p.m. arrival at the Marriott Marquis.
However, that 2 p.m. CDT departure turned into 2:15...then 2:30...then 2:49...then 3:01...then 3:25...then 3:40...then -
Alas, a 3:55 p.m. CDT departure from Central Texas - only 2 hours behind schedule. According to our flight crew, that was the best-case scenario as there were severe thunderstorms rolling across the NYC metro area. Our departure from Waco nearly occurred later because our "window" to arrive into Teterboro Airport was getting slimmer and slimmer with each dwindling minute.
Quick FCPedia reference: Teterboro Airport - a general aviation "reliever" airport - is the oldest operating airport in the New York City and is located in the Boroughs of Teterboro, Moonachie and Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey.
But, rather than sit and wait on the tarmac at Waco Regional, our pilots opted to head east for Greensboro, N.C., where we would re-fuel, stretch our legs and wait for our "window" of opportunity to open again at Teterboro...Again - nothing has gone as scripted this season and that didn't stop with the second leg of our journey.
We arrived at Piedmont Triad International Airport (Greensboro, N.C.) at 7:05 p.m. EDT (checking itinerary - yup, right around our originally scheduled arrival at Teterboro)...Just checking...
We'd be there 20-25 minutes tops, right? I thought so...After an invigorating cup of hot chocolate in the private aviation lounge, we sat and waited...and waited some more...and some more. Good thing Chase Driscoll (Coach Driscoll's son) found a TV - a few of us were able to hide in the back and watch The Amazing Race on CBS. And, right before the winning team crossed the finish line in Phuket, Thailand, good news came...We were ready to head to our final destination...
We boarded the plane and head for... Allentown, Pa.?!? Ruh-roh, Raggy. According to FCPedia, Allentown is - oh - roughly 90 miles west of where we need to be. Almost the same distance as it is to Dunder-Mifflin's regional office in Scranton... No Michael Scott. No Dwight Schrute. No Jim Halpert. Sad day.
By the time we touched down in Allentown, it was a hair past 10 p.m. EDT...We picked up dinner on the run - approximately 30 pizzas from Domino's in beautiful downtown Allentown - which is beautiful this time of year. Thanks to Coach Brough and Coach Melton for the quick dinner fix.
[Our trip from Allenton to NYC was made a little easier by our on-bus entertainment, Finding Forrester]
From Allentown, we headed east through Easton - home of the Lafayette College Leopards. Before we continue - New Jersey, anyone? Geographic stop number four in our quest for Carmen San Diego.
We crossed the border into `Jersey, passing through Clinton, Bridgewater, Union and as we closed in on Newark, the Empire State Building began to emerge on the horizon. Almost there. We drove through the Holland Tunnel. Then the Lincoln Tunnel. A right onto W. 42nd Street. Followed by a left onto 8th Avenue. Then a right onto W. 46th Street and, finally, a right onto 7th Avenue...
We made it...As the clock struck 1 a.m. EDT on Monday, we arrived at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. It's been a long day.
We've waited 59 years to return to New York City; another 11 hours certainly didn't hurt.
BAYLOR'S ARRIVAL NIT TRIP COUNTER Total Time from Estimated Waco Departure to Actual Arrival in NYC: 10 hours, 58 minutes (includes time change) Total Hours of Actual Flight Time: 3 hours, 29 minutes Total Hours on Bus: 1 hour, 57 minutes States Visited: 4 (North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York) Number of Times Flight Attendant Spoke on Intercom: Too Many to Count Number of Times Ty Beard Lost His Bag: 2 Waco Media Members That Arrived in NYC BEFORE the Basketball team: 3 (John Werner, Dan Ingham and Adam Winkler) Number of Baylor players that have been to New York: 4 (Kevin Rogers, Tweety Carter, Quincy Acy, Mamadou Diene) Number of Starbucks Locations at the Marriott Marquis: 2
Waxing Philosophic from Central Texas to Central Park 4:01 P.M. FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
For those of you that may have missed it yesterday, Dallas Morning News' Tim Cowlishaw was Thursday's big 'winner' on ESPN's Around The Horn - and gave Baylor some pretty impressive face time, congratulating the Bears on the NIT Final Four run. The rest of the group wasn't too thrilled about it. Tim even gave some solid Bear Claw action. BaylorNation's Fandamonium is sweeping the country...ESPN First Take's Skip Bayless also gave Baylor love earlier this week, as well.
Friday is the final Baylor practice in the Ferrell Center. The team will get Saturday off before heading to New York City Sunday afternoon...Speaking of Saturday, freshmen Fred Ellis and Quincy Acy will be throwing out the first pitch of Baylor's baseball game vs. Kansas State. Saturday's game is slated to begin at 6:30 p.m.
And, unless Baylor fans have been voting over and over again, the Bears' are favored to win the NIT by a large margin, according to the fan poll on the National Invitation Tournament's Official Site. At last count, Baylor had 37.2 percent of the vote (3,880 votes), followed by San Diego State at 22.9 percent (2,387 votes), Penn State at 21.7 percent and Notre Dame at 18.2 percent.
We'll save the Baylor/San Diego State preview - naturally - for Tuesday's reading pleasure, but we will give you a glimpse into Tuesday's other semifinal matchup between Notre Dame and Penn State:
NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH (21-14) Notre Dame is making its sixth trip to Madison Square Garden for the NIT Final Four and will face the Penn State Nittany Lions. The Irish have never won the NIT, but have earned four runner-up finishes (1973, 1984, 1992, 2000) and one third-place finish (1968). This is the 10th straight year that Notre Dame has played in the postseason (five NCAA, five NIT) - the longest postseason run in program history.
The Irish, who lost to Baylor at last year's Paradise Jam, is led by junior forward Luke Harangody with 23.5 points and 11.8 rebounds in 35 games. Harangody has recorded 49 career double-doubles - 24 during the 2008-09 season. Notre Dame's guard trio of Ryan Ayers, Kyle McAlarney and Tory Jackson have combined to average nearly 37 points per game...McAlarney owns the Notre Dame single-season 3-point record with 123 triples. That could make for an interesting championship game matchup if Baylor and Notre Dame were to advance: Dunn vs. McAlarney, the sequel. Although neither had a very good game in their only other meeting in the U.S. Virgin Islands last season - Dunn finished with six points, while McAlarney scored three on 1-of-11 shooting.
PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (25-11) Penn State is making its second NIT appearance under head coach Ed DeChellis and first postseason appearance since the 2006 NIT. Penn State's 25 wins tie a single-season school record which was set during the 1989-90 season (25-9). Like Baylor, Penn State is also enjoying a season of record-setting success.
The Nittany Lions are led by sophomore guard Talor Battle, who is averaging a team-best 16.8 points per game. Battle, a New York native, will be making his first appearance as a collegiate in his home state. Senior forward Jamelle Cornley and senior guard Stanley Pringle are averaging 14.2 and 12.9 points per game, respectively, for PSU. Battle earned first-time All-Big Ten honors from both conference coaches and media. Cornley earned second-team honors from the media and third-team honors from the coaches, while Pringle was an honorable mention pick for both.
Friday's FCPedia Trivia: Penn State's athletic teams are known as the Nittany Lions. The nickname refers to the mountain lions that once roamed near the school, and to Mount Nittany, a local landmark. -- Wikipedia, America's trusted information leader.
In other Baylor Basketball-related happenings...
Head Coach Scott Drew will be a guest on Fox Sports Radio tonight with JT the Brick at 9:25 p.m. CDT...Join Baylor Alumni, fans, Baylor Bear Foundation and the "B" Association members in New York City as the Bears take on San Diego State in the NIT Semifinals. A pre-game mixer will be held on Tuesday at 5 p.m. EDT in the 8th Floor Atrium of the Marriott Marquis, followed by a send-off pep rally at 5:30 p.m. EDT.
FCP and his merry band of gypsies along with the rest of the Baylor Bears basketball team and staff will be departing Central Texas for Central Park (tagline courtesy of Dan Ingham and Adam Winkler of KWTX) Sunday afternoon...It will certainly be a fun ride as the Bears head to New York City to vie for the NIT championship. We'll be back Sunday. So, until then...
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
Stay Classy, San Diego 1:23 P.M. THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Like the title? It's a bit of a stretch, but it was the only quote even remotely close to referencing San Diego that FCPedia could find.
Excitement amongst BaylorNationites is feverishly inching closer to a crescendo as Baylor learned it will face the San Diego State Aztecs of the Mountain West Conference in the first NIT semifinal game at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, March 31. See - we told you more lengthy run-on sentences would follow today. San Diego State jumped out to a commanding 13-0 lead on Saint Mary's last night, but later fought off the Gaels in the waning moments of the game for a 70-66 victory.
Are we Livin' the Dream? You betcha. The NIT Final Four Dream. Baylor's 21-11 campaign last season was just the tip of the iceberg. That was the beginning of the beginning. You might as well throw Baylor's record books out of the window after this season. Nearly every team record will be shattered when the final act concludes. But, we will still be left to wonder 'What If?': What if Baylor had played a full 30-game schedule during the 2005-06 season and not just a Big 12 16-game schedule? The possibilities could be endless and you could also be ushering a new all-time scoring leader, too. But, if ifs were skiffs, we'd all own boats. The past is the past; the present is in the here and now.
This team is on the verge of accomplishing something great - winning a NIT championship. Contradictary to what some fans may say, winning the NIT does not mean you are the 66th-best team in the nation. You belong in the upper third of the best in Division I basketball. Now is not the time to take the 'if you're not first, you're last' approach to postseason basketball.
In the grand scheme of things, an appearance in the NIT Final Four and a chance to win a NIT title will go further than last season's first round loss to Purdue in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. This year's run gives the returning Baylor players, notably Lace Dunn, Tweety Carter, Josh Lomers and Quincy Acy, the extra postseason experience necessary to bring the program to another level.
But, enough with trying to convince FCPNation that things turned out just fine. We weathered the storm.
Baylor is no longer living on borrowed time.
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
Prelude to the NIT Semifinals: San Diego State On Deck 10:40 P.M. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Wonder, no more. Baylor will meet the San Diego State Aztecs in the NIT Semifinals next Tuesday in Madison Square Garden. In case you missed it, the Aztecs held off a furious second-half rally by Saint Mary's and got some help after a Patty Mills turnover late in the game as SDSU held on for a 70-66 win. Like Baylor, San Diego State (26-9) will be making its first NIT Final Four appearance.
The gritty Aztecs are quick, athletic and persistent. They will 'D' you up for 40 minutes, but, after watching how Mills drove through the lane at will, Curtis Jerrells could have a field day against SDSU.
However, Baylor-San Diego State will make for a fun semifinals matchup...The two teams haven't faced each other since 1990 - SDSU leads the all-time series 3-0.
And, who could forget Lace Dunn who probably could score from San Diego if given the opportunity. Dunn is closing in on two historical milestones - Kool is six points shy of becoming the 23rd player in school history with 1,000 career points; he also needs one more 3-point field goal to become only the third player in school history with 100 triples in a season...He needs six more treys to set the new single-season 3-point record (currently at 104).
We'll save you the rest of our rambling run-on sentences for tomorrow...
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
Who's Having a Garden Party? That Would Be Baylor. 2:54 P.M. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
[Formal Introduction] 'The Team that Refuses to Lose'. Meet 'The City that Never Sleeps'. Baylor's Cinderella-like postseason run will feature another unabridged chapter as the Bears have advanced to the NIT Final Four after a 74-72 win over the Auburn Tigers Tuesday night in Auburn. Baylor becomes the third Big 12 team to advance to the NIT Final Four (since 1996-97), joining Texas Tech (2003) and Iowa State (2004).
There was only thing that would have been better following last night's 74-72 win at Auburn - if ESPN would have dropped an 'AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE' reference during its Top 10 Plays on SportsCenter. Oh, and in case you missed it, CJ's sweet behind-the-back pass to Dos Tres was No. 6.
Baylor's quarterfinal victory at Auburn signifies the Bears' first trip to New York City since 1950 - All Together Now: It was also the year of Baylor's last postseason win, which incidentally during the 1950 NCAA Final Four. Coincidence? Maybe. Luck? No. Who's Having a Garden Party Now? That Would Be Baylor. The Bears' remarkable postseason run over the past 14 days has been unprecedented, but not surprising. After a less-than-stellar Big 12 campaign, everyone - and we mean EVERYONE (casually pointing in FCP's general direction) - knew the Bears were poised for a postseason run for the ages. Simply amazing to say the least.
Baylor has been battle-tested and NIT Final Four approved. Without a doubt, last year's magical season was great. While the script was a bit twisted with a few added plot turns, this year's is even better. Granted, Act II of the season (otherwise known as the Big 12 Conference slate) received poor reviews and would likely not be invited back to Broadway. But, Acts III and IV off Broadway have brought the spotlight back to the Bears. Tuesday's nailbiting victory further indicated that Baylor belongs in the NIT Final Four and, while some fans still view it as falling well below the bar, the Bears come out ahead in publicity. In three games, Baylor has played on a national stage on both ESPN and ESPN2 and will play the San Diego State/Saint Mary's winner Tuesday, March 31 at 6 p.m. CDT on ESPN2.
Tuesday's game will be Baylor's 33rd television game (and 17th on the ESPN family of networks). So, don't try arguing that the NCAA Tournament is more publicity because, for the majority of the first two rounds, games are regionalized. And, Baylor played just 14 games on the ESPN family of networks from the 1996-97 season to last season. Like we said earlier this week: if you haven't seen Baylor play on TV by now, then there's a problem. Tuesday night's victory at Auburn capped off a laundry list of milestones for the Baylor men's basketball program:
Baylor advanced to the NIT Final Four in NYC for the first time in school history
Baylor will be making its first trip to NYC since the 1950 NCAA Final Four
Baylor has now won six of its last seven games, surpassing its win total in 16 Big 12 games (5-11)
Baylor now has won 23 games - the highest win total since the 1987-88 Bears finished 23-11
Baylor's senior trio of Curtis Jerrells, Henry Dugat and Kevin Rogers became the winningest class in school history (have currently won 63 games)
Scott Drew won his 100th game as head coach
Scott Drew is now 10-1 this season vs. first-time opponents
Kevin Rogers recorded his 25th career double-double - tied for fourth all-time at Baylor
Rogers moved into 8th place all-time with 1,345 career points
Curtis Jerrells set a new single-season school record for minutes played (currently stands at 1,279)
One of the most anticipated seasons in 103 years of Baylor basketball went from spectacular to revelation to nightmare to outright amazing in the course of four months. We've made it this far, but it isn't the end of the road for these Bears. Who will be included in the latest installment of WHEN BEARS ATTACK? Well, we'll find out tonight whether Baylor will face San Diego State or Saint Mary's. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Three down, two to go.
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
Have No Fear: The Underdog Bears are Here 2:48 P.M. TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
If you squint your eyes just enough, you can see the faint lights of Broadway from New York City...Baylor is one win away from advancing to the NIT Final Four for the first time in school history. But, these Bears have embraced their Underdog role in recent weeks...Baylor continues its successful fourth season when the Bears face the No. 1 seeded Auburn Tigers tonight at 6 p.m. on ESPN. In the last two weeks, the Underdog Bears have knocked off Texas, Kansas, Georgetown and Virginia Tech and now seek redemption from their SEC loss earlier this season (we hate to keep reminding you of South Carolina's 85-84 win in Ferrell Center on Jan. 2).
Like the previous two NIT contests, we won't inundate you with Auburn's scouting report. Keep this stat handy: 3. Only three SEC teams made the NCAA Tournament - LSU, Tennessee and Mississippi STATE (extra special thanks to Connie Kader for correcting our massive error...). Had MSU not won the SEC Tournament, it would have probably just been two teams...But, we will flood you with some interesting Big 12 Postseason Notes:
The Big 12 is 9-3 after the first week of the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The nine victories are the most in league history after two rounds.
The Big 12 has three teams in the Sweet 16 of the 2009 NCAA Tournament. It marks the fifth time in conference history (since 1996-97) that at least three teams have advanced to the second weekend. The other years include 2004 (3), 2003 (3), 2002 (4) and 1997 (3).
Over the last two years, the Big 12 has posted a 21-8 (.724) record in NCAA play. The winning percentage is the best in the nation during that time. The win total is one less than the Big East (22) - which has four more teams overall.
Baylor is the fifth team in the Big 12 era to advance to the NIT Quarterfinals, joining Texas A&M (2005), Iowa State (2004), Texas Tech (2003) and Nebraska (1997).
Don't Get Confused; Auburn and Baylor Both Have a #24 Who are Not Afraid to Shoot It won't come as any surprise to anyone in attendance for tonight's NIT Quarterfinals game in Auburn - both Auburn and Baylor have a No. 24 who can shoot from 3-point range. Auburn's Tay Waller is averaging 12.2 points in 35 games and leads the team with 98 3-point field goals. Sound familiar? Well, Baylor's Lace Dunn is second on the team with 15.4 points in 36 games with 97 3-point field goals. Could be a fun night.
25 from 1,000 Dunn is 25 points shy of becoming the 23rd player in school history to score 1,000 career points and would become only the second player to reach it as a sophomore, joining Baylor all-time leading scorer Terry Teagle. Dunn would also be the fourth player in program history to score 1,000 points in two seasons, joining Teagle, Vinnie Johnson and William Chatmon.
Baylor's Winningest Senior Class Goes for More Baylor's senior trio Curtis Jerrells, Henry Dugat and Kevin Rogers have won 62 career games, tying BU great Micheal Williams for the most in school history. A win over Auburn would make the trio the winningest senior class in school history.
There's still another chapter to be written for this senior class.
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
The Winter of Our Discontent Has Made Believers of Us All 11:33 A.M. MONDAY, MARCH 23, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
The months of January, February and the early part of March was The Winter of Baylor Fans' Discontent. But, discontented BaylorNation is no longer. Baylor is now one win away from advancing to the NIT Final Four at Madison Square Garden in New York City. A pretty impressive possibility considering the Bears were written off towards the end of the regular season. But, Baylor's hibernation is over and the Bears have emerged as a legitimate NIT title contender.
In 11 days, the Bears have defeated Kansas (first win since 2001), Texas (first win since 1998), Georgetown (first postseason win since 1950) and Virginia Tech. Now Baylor will look to bounce SEC West Division runner-up Auburn in the NIT Quarterfinals Tuesday. Both Baylor and Auburn are making their inaugural NIT Quarterfinals appearance, but only one will survive and advance...
Baylor's remarkable 18-point thrashing of the Hokies last Saturday was its fifth win against a non-Big 12 high-major this season (Providence, Arizona State, Washington State, Georgetown, Virginia Tech). Even more impressive, the Bears held Virginia Tech's fifth all-time leading scorer, A.D. Vassallo,to just 10 points.
For those of you following the NIT, here's an updated bracket. Keep in mind, two NIT second round games are still slated for tonight - Kentucky at Creighton (6 p.m., ESPN) and Davidson at St. Mary's (10:30 p.m., ESPN2).
RANDOM NIT QUARTERFINAL SIDENOTES, COURTESY OF FCPedia  Notable Auburnites include Charles Barkley, Rowdy Gaines, John Heisman, Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan, Frank Thomas, Osi Umenyiora, Demarcus Ware and Jimmy Wales - co-founder of Wikipedia.  Auburn University was chartered on Feb. 1, 1856, as East Alabama Male College; it was later renamed the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API) in 1899.  Auburn has graduated six astronauts and one current and one former director of the Kenneday Space Center.  Auburn's blue and orange color scheme was based on the University of Virginia, the alma mater for Auburn's first football coach.
One more win and the Bears will be in New York. But, perhaps more importantly, seniors Curtis Jerrells, Henry Dugat and Kevin Rogers will become the winningest players in program history. The trio currently shares the all-time lead with Baylor great Micheal Williams with 62 wins.
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
When Bears Attack, Part IV: Survive and Advance 6:22 P.M. SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Have you figured out the meaning of a `hokie'? It doesn't matter now...The Bears played textbook postseason basketball, surviving and advancing to the NIT Quarterfinals after an 84-66 thrashing of Virginia Tech Saturday in Blacksburg. Similar to the start of last night's Cleveland State/Wake Forest NCAA First Round upset, the Bears came out firing...and firing often. Baylor jumped out to a commanding 22-5 lead at the 8:00 mark of the first half before Virginia Tech called a 30-second timeout. The Hokies were held to one field goal in the first 12-plus minutes of the first half, quickly signaling a 20-point halftime deficit to the Bears, 41-21.
To Virginia Tech's credit, the Hokies started to press the Bears in the backcourt, diminishing Baylor's once-insurmountable lead to 12 points with five minutes to play. But, the Bears' scrappy style kept the Hokies at bay as Baylor punched its ticket to the NIT quarterfinals, 84-66. Baylor is now one step closer to the Big Apple. The last obstacle? The Auburn Tigers. Auburn escaped UT Martin in the first round, but punched Tulsa in the mouth Friday night, 74-55, to advance. The NIT is down to eight...
Baylor will get yet another date on ESPN Tuesday night when the Bears invade Auburn. It will be Baylor's 16th game on the ESPN family of networks this season. If you haven't seen Baylor play on TV this season, then there's a problem...
RANDOM SIDENOTES, COURTESY OF FCPedia Wikipedia should be jealous of all the knowledge we consume.  Saturday was Baylor's first meeting in the series against the Hokies at Virginia Tech. In the previous two meetings, Virginia Tech was known as V.P.I. (Virginia Polytechnical Institute). In 1970, the university changed its named to Virginia Polytechnical Institute and State University and it was shortened to Virginia Tech.  Baylor is one of three teams in NCAA Division I with three players to score 30 or more points in a game vs. Division I opposition (Virginia Tech, VMI are the others).  The Bears scored 80 points for the first time since Jan. 24 at Kansas State - snapping a streak of 16 games less than 80 points. Special thanks to closet Baylor fanatic/Auburn graduate and FCPNationite Lana Carlson for this next tidbit: Auburn University was known as Auburn Polytechnic Institute (API) and was renamed AU in 1960.  Baylor has now won two NIT games this season - the second-most NCAA postseason games in a single-season (BU won four games in 1948 NCAA Tournament).  The city of Auburn's unofficial nickname is The Loveliest Village on the Plains, taken from a line in the poem The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith.  The Bears are 1-0 on ESPN networks when Brad Nessler and Jimmy Dykes call the game; Brad and Jimmy will call the Baylor/Auburn quarterfinal matchup Tuesday on ESPN.
GAME BALL: Josh Lomers Saturday in Blacksburg, Lomers became `the Beast that took over the East'. JLo scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half and the Hokie D couldn't stop Baylor's lob passes into the low post, resulting in five easy baskets for Josh. Baylor is 3-0 this season when Lomers scores 10 or more points and is 7-1 in three seasons. Solution: Feed the Big Man.
MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED AT AUBURN: Kevin Rogers K-Rog has been a dominant force in the Bears' offense over the last six games. Dos Tres is averaging 14.7 points and 8.0 rebounds during the span, while shooting 61.7 percent from the floor. In Baylor's two NIT games thus far, Rogers is averaging 18.0 points and 8.0 boards with a 76.2 percent field goal percentage (16-of-21). Not bad for the eighth-leading scorer in school history.
THE BEST `BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE' MOMENT: Alley-Oop City At last count, Baylor ran the same baseline lob play three times - and succeeded every time. Kevin Rogers went untouched all three times...It was good to see the high-flying Bears back at their old tricks. The Cassell Coliseum crowd wasn't too fond of the show, though.
SIX-SPOT! Six Bears scored in double figures in Saturday's win at Virginia Tech, tying the season high set in Baylor's 98-92 overtime win vs. Oklahoma State on Jan. 17. That seems like eons ago. At any rate, it's the third time six or more Baylor players have scored in double figures in the Scott Drew Era.
CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS A few familiar (and not-so-familiar) faces were in attendance for Saturday's win in Blacksburg. In addition to Baylor student manager and former NBA star David Wesley, Valparaiso head coach Homer Drew - father of Baylor's Scott Drew - and Radford head coach Brad Greenberg - brother of Virginia Tech's Seth Greenberg - were in the stands. After Friday's practice at Cassell Coliseum, we ran into Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer walking on campus.
THE LAST TIME BAYLOR PLAYED THIS LATE INTO MARCH... Baylor advanced to the 1950 NCAA Final Four, falling to Bradley in the NCAA West Regional final in Kansas City on March 25, 1950, and to North Carolina State in the NCAA third place game...One little note to mention - that N.C. State game was in NYC at Madison Square Garden...
One game left until New York...The final challenge - a date with SEC West Division runner-up Auburn on Tuesday night. Last six games have been sweet, but three more would be sweeter.
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
FCP Sweeping Southwest Virginia, One Hokie Stone at a Time 12:47 P.M. EDT FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
The awesomeness (It's a word in FCP's dictionary) that is the recent play of the Baylor Bears is slowly gripping the nation...That -ness is currently hovering over Blacksburg, Va., for the next 26 hours or so as the Bears and Virginia Tech Hokies clash in a second round NIT matchup at Cassell Coliseum. The winner of tomorrow night's game will face the winner of tonight's game between Auburn and Tulsa...
But, Baylor's Blaze of Glory (Bon Jovi reference number 2 1/2...yesterday's Austin Flagg suggestion counts for partial credit) has the Bears victors in four of their last five contests. FACT: Baylor is 4-1 in its last five games after going 5-11 in previous 16. FACT: Baylor is 9-4 in tournaments over the last two years (Paradise Jam: 3-0; Big 12: 3-2; 76 Classic: 2-1; NCAA: 0-1; NIT: 1-0).
The last time Baylor and Virginia Tech matched wits on the hardwood in 1969, the Hokies were known as V.P.I. (Virginia Polytechnical Institute) and were an independent. In the only other meeting, the Fighting Gobblers were in their final years in the Southern Conference. So, it's been a while.
While walking around Virginia Tech's facilities on campus (before we were FCP, we ventured to Blacksburg a few times while at Marshall), the school's architecture has a unique consistent dolomite limestone. The varied gray, brown, black, pink, orange and maroon coloring is unique to southwestern Virginia and is aptly named Hokie Stone.
We know this is short, but that is all the Rainman-like information we have for you. Practice is over and we are heading back to the hotel to watch some March Madness.
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
And That's, Folks, How It's Dunn 1:09 P.M. THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Trusty Baylor Athletic Media Relations assistant and undoubtable identical twin to Missouri's Matt Lawrence, Austin Flagg, gave FCP a grand idea last night - why not make a SECOND Bon Jovi reference for Thursday's post. I believe it went something like this: "Georgetown Shot Through the Heart and Baylor's to Blame". Conventional wisdom at its finest. While we had it in the que to go live, we came across one of the best photos of the night. SEE: RIGHT. Doesn't need an explanation. Doesn't need a clever quip.
And, that's how it's Dunn.
And, there were many And-Boom-Goes-the-Dynamite-type plays last night, such as Quincy Acy's Cookie Monster-esque dunk along the baseline or one of Dos Tres' 100 or so alley-oop dunks (ok, not a hundo, but maybe 4 or 5...you catch the drift).
But, more importantly, the best Boom...Dynamite...the moment was the Ferrell Center faithful. You didn't bring a friend; you brought half of McLennan County to the game and, for that, we commend you. This team deserves the best. While they were struggling heading into the Big 12 Championship, they have awoken from their deep hibernation. The Bears are back.
Wednesday night was - by far - the most electric Ferrell Center crowd of the 2008-09 season. Yes, more electric than the A&M game.
In the month of March, the Bears have proven that they can hang among the nation's elite. Let's look at the updated list of WHEN BEARS ATTACK...
March 11 - Nebraska March 12 - Kansas March 13 - Texas March 18 - Georgetown
Baylor now heads to picturesque southwest Virginia, acronymically called SWVA. The Bears are scheduled to depart Waco tonight after practice and arrive late this evening in Roanoke, Va., and then make the short drive to Blacksburg.
Saturday's game will be the first meeting in 40 years between Virginia Tech and Baylor, but the Bears are poised to continue its triumphant season. And, for all of you (yes, ALL of you) wondering, Saturday's NIT second round game will tip at 10 a.m. CDT on ESPN. Sean McDonough (color) and Bob Valvano (pxp) will serve as the commentators from Cassell Coliseum.
We'll see you in the Eastern Time Zone.
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
Halfway There, Some Are Still Livin' on a Prayer 11:11 A.M. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
You can be a Bon Jovi fan sans hair, right? (Taylor, 'sans' means 'without'). We thought it was rather apropos for today's proceedings. Why, FCP? For starters, Wednesday is the midpoint of the week, plus the Baylor Bears host the Georgetown Hoyas tonight at 8:05 p.m. in the Ferrell Center. So, we're halfway there. But, some are still livin' on a prayer because...a Bears win and a Virginia Tech loss to Duquesne (pronounced Du-Cane, not Du-Queen) could signify a second-round NIT game at the Golden Dome. Even if the Bears and Hokies both win, there is a slight - but not very likely - possibility that Baylor could still serve as a second-round host, but don't count on it. If Baylor wins tonight, we should know the Bears' second-round fate soon thereafter.
Since some of Baylor's old and new Bandwagoners need enlightment at times, do you know what happened on March 18, 1950 (Hint: It's NIT related)? Answer: CCNY (that's City College of New York - duh!) beat Bradley, 69-61, for the NIT championship. CCNY also beat Bradley for the NCAA title (yes that was legal then), becoming the only school to win both titles in the same year. We're just saying...History's a crazy thing.
Tuesday was the opening night of the Postseason NIT, featuring eight games that included three of Baylor's regular season opponents - South Carolina, Nebraska and Washington State. USC was unable to overcome Davidson's Stephon Curry as the Wildcats knocked off the Gamecocks, 70-63, in Columbia. The Huskers' season came to an end following an 83-71 loss at New Mexico; Interesting Side Note: Baylor's last NIT game was a road loss at New Mexico. And, in the nightcap - much to the chagrin of Baylor ISP's Stacey Martens - Wazzu lost 68-57 at St. Mary's. So, Baylor opposition is 0-3 thus far in the postseason...
But, despite the madness that is the first round of the NIT, most of the second- and third-round dates have been set in advance (no times or TV availability, yet). The Baylor-Georgetown winner will face the Virginia Tech-Duquesne winner SATURDAY, MARCH 21 at a site to-be-determined. The Auburn Region final will be held TUESDAY, MARCH 24 at a site to-be-determined. Keep those dates in mind.
With that said, how about WEDNESDAY'S OPENING LIST to get your day going:
BAYLOR HOSTS GEORGETOWN IN NIT ROUND FOR FIRST SERIES MEETING We won't bore you with specifics. Keep in mind these 10 things:
* Baylor is 3-1 this season against first-time opponents (lost to Wake Forest in 76 Classic championship game) * 15 of Baylor's 24 regular season opponents earned postseason bids to either NCAA or NIT * Baylor has posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in school history * Baylor has amassed 41 wins in two seasons - tied for the most total wins in consecutive seasons (1986-87 and 1987-88) * Wednesday is Baylor's first NIT home game in program history * Curtis Jerrells needs 28 rebounds to become just the fourth player in program history with 1,500 points and 500 rebounds * Baylor is the only Big 12 school to have three different 30-point scorers during the regular season (CJ, Lace and Tweety) * Baylor has not scored 80 or more points since scoring 83 in a win at Kansas State on Jan. 21 (a string of 16 games) * A Baylor win tonight would tie the Ferrell Center regular season record of 14 set during the 1996-97 and 2000-01 seasons * Wednesday's game will be the Bears' 14th nationally televised game on the ESPN family of networks this season (BU played combined 14 games on ESPN in previous 11 seasons)
Wait for it....
Baylor's last home game was Senior Night March 7 and the Bears fell to Nebraska, 66-62, while most of the student body and fan base were on spring break...Here's a second chance, BAYLORNATION. Sell out the Ferrell Center for Curtis Jerrells, Henry Dugat, Kevin Rogers and Mamadou Diene. They deserve it - don't bring a friend, BRING AN ARMY.
Wait for it...
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
Apparently, Having an '-ology' is a Good Thing 2:57 P.M. TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Last month, some loyal FCPNationites thought we had lost our minds when we started mentioning the words NIT, -ology, .com and the in the same breath in regards to Baylor's postseason hopes and dreams. In late January, we were still clinging to every last Bracketology report issued by ESPN's Joe Lunardi and briefly had written off the folks at NITology.com. But, since the line in the sand was drawn sometime after the Kansas game in February, the Bears were frequently predicted to host a NIT first round game. Well, apparently, having an '-ology' is a good thing. So much so that when we held our rituatlistic afternoon blog roll today, we discovered a bit of self-indulged yet impressive boasting by NITology.com - NITology.com successfully predicted 64 of the 65 NCAA Tournament teams (98.5 percent) and 31 of the 32 NIT teams (97 percent). Now, THAT'S impressive. But, not as impressive as Baylor's magical-but-expected run at the Big 12 Championship last week.
Don't ask us which team they missed on in their projections...We're not going to split hairs at this point. But, we are going to talk about March Hoops. Wednesday's NIT first round game will mark only the ninth postseason tournament appearance by the Baylor Bears - the fourth NIT appearance. While the Bears may be only 3-10 all-time in postseason play, Baylor is hosting a NIT game for the first time and is in search of its first postseason win since the 1950 NCAA Tournament.That year, Baylor finished third in the Final Four, falling to Bradley 68-66 in the National Semifinals. City College of New York (CCNY) won the national title, defeating Bradley 71-68. Interestingly enough, CCNY also beat Bradley to win the 1950 NIT crown - the only time in history the same school won both the NIT and NCAA tournaments (at least according to Wikipedia, the most trusted source for accurate blog information...).
Let's see what else was happening in 1950, shall we?
Average Cost of New House: $8,450.00 Average Income: $3,210.00 Average Cost of a Gallon of Gas: 18 cents Average Cost of a New Car: $1,510.00 Stromburg Black and White TV: $249.95 Source: http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1950.html
Baylor exorcised a pair of demons, if you will, during last week's Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in Oklahoma City...For only the second time in school history, Baylor defeated the Kansas Jayhawks as the Bears became the first team in the Big 12 era to defeat KU in its opening game. Baylor is also the only school in the Big 12 era to defeat a No. 1 seed twice in the quarterfinals (see: 2001 win over Iowa State). The Bears then snapped their 24-game losing streak to Texas, sending the Longhorns home. From there, Baylor advanced to its first Big 12 Championship title game in school history and only its third conference tournament championship game (see: 1987 and 1988 Southwest Conference title game).
The last 96 hours or so have been crammed with NIT preparations - not to mention a tremendous lack in the sleep department. While Wednesday is considered a home game, it is still a NIT/NCAA event, so there are a few extra steps involved. But, there is gold at the end of the rainbow - FCP received his Big 12 Championship gift...An 8 GB iTouch.
Have you Twittered lately? You can get the latest updates, blog posts and other Baylor Bears meanderings on our Twitter page, but you have to be a Twitter member. It's FREE, so go join...And, don't forget to add Baylor Athletics, the official Twitter page of, well, Baylor Athletics, of course!
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
Saturday is All But a Blur 10:11 P.M. MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Pardon our tardiness, but after practically living out of a suitcase from nearly six days, our schedule has been - well - less scheduled. Baylor's historic run at the 2009 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship took its toll on the Bears by Saturday's championship game and certainly did a number or two on FCP and his merry band of Media Relations gypsies (Heath Nielsen and WWW's Brad Sheffield). Plus, three of Baylor's Athletic Media Relations Student Assistants - Ashley Dunn, Taylor Eastman and John Paul Charbonnet - even volunteered to work the tournament in OKC DURING SPRING BREAK. Now, that's what we call dedication. Or, just Baylor Proud (FCP's monthly Jeff Brown reference).
We broke the news nearly two months ago and it was confirmed Sunday night...Baylor's in the postseason. Not that FCP likes to rehash things (yes, we do when we are right), but FCP was right. While Baylor didn't make the NCAA Tournament (they almost did), the Bears are in the NIT for only the fourth time in school history. Baylor will host the Georgetown Hoyas Wednesday at 8:05 p.m. CDT on ESPN2 at the Ferrell Center. Brad Nessler (pxp) and Jimmy Dykes (color) will serve as the TV talent.
As for last week, the Bears finished one game short of becoming the first team in Big 12 history to win four games in four days en route to a Big 12 Conference tournament title. Roughly two weeks ago, the BaylorNation Bandwagon had plenty of good seats available, but by the time Baylor finished off Texas, 76-70, Friday night, Baylor's Bandwagon was overflowing...Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State fans were cheering for the Green and Gold. We even spotted some Kansas faithful - decked in blue and red Jayhawk attire - doing the Bear Claw during the Baylor Line. Not to mention, some of Baylor's fans from the beginning of the season who jumped off the bandwagon got back on after either Thursday or Friday...Let's hope those guys stay on for a while this time.
Syracuse May Have 6 Overtimes, but They Still Talk about Baylor Beginning Tuesday at 8 a.m., ESPN Classic will air some of the greatest college overtime games. Baylor's epic 5OT win over Texas A&M will air 8 a.m., followed by Texas vs. Oklahoma State 3OT game in 2007 at 11 a.m. Then, the 2005 NCAA Tournament Regional Final (2OT) between Michigan State and Kentucky will start at 1 p.m. before Syracuse's 6OT win over UConn from last week.
Unfortunately, that's what we've got for now as FCP will be putting the finishing touches on our Postseason NIT notes for Wednesday's game. Welcome back to the BaylorNation Bandwagon...
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
A Season to Forget is Now a Season to Remember for "The Cinderella of Cinderellas" 11:44 A.M. SATURDAY, MARCH 14, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
It's a time for BaylorNation to rejoice! And, for those fans that jumped off the bandwagon, say - oh around the beginning of February - welcome back. Tonight is going to be a fun ride. And, we guarantee that there will be a large amount of green and gold in attendance when the Big 12 Championship title game tips at 5 p.m. on ESPN.
NO TEAM HAS EVER GONE 4-0 IN A BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP. A Baylor win today vs. Missouri would make the No. 9-seeded Bears the 4-0 team and the lowest-seeded champion. Say, FCP, just how many times has a team won four games in a four days for a conference championship? Glad you asked; here's your answer:
FOUR GAMES IN FOUR DAYS FOR A CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
2008 Pittsburgh (BIG EAST) Coppin State (MEAC) Georgia (SEC)
2007 North Texas (Sun Belt)
2006 Syracuse (BIG EAST) Xavier (Atlantic 10)
2004 Xavier (Atlantic 10)
2002 Siena (MAAC)
2001 Iowa (Big Ten)
2000 Saint Louis (Conference USA) Arkansas (SEC)
1999 Charlotte (Conference USA)
1997 Marquette (Conference USA) UNLV (WAC)
1994 Auburn (SEC)
FRIDAY'S BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP SEMIFINAL PLAYER OF THE GAME: A three-way tie (Kevin Rogers, LaceDarius Dunn and Henry Dugat) Dos Tres scored a team-high 20 points, going 8-for-14 from the floor, while making several key plays throughout the game. Lace scored 16 points and made a clutch 3-pointer in the waning minutes of the game and later hit free throws down the stretch to salt the game away. And, Hendu broke his 2009 slump in a big way, pouring in 17.
What does Baylor, N.C. State (1983) and Villanova (1985) have in a common? According to ESPN's Jay Bilas, a lot. A Baylor win today would give the Bears their first automatic NCAA bid and would put them elite company. N.C. State and Villanova had similar regular seasons and finished as national champions. We're just saying...
Three Down, One to Go...
All Things Considered, FCP - or, as they say in Italia: Pressa Piena Della Corte - Told You So 10:22 A.M. FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Proud Baylor alumnus and former Baylor Athletic Media Relations student Justin Cange of Cuttin' in the Baylor Line fame beat us to the proverbial blog punch Thursday afternoon following Baylor's 71-64 upset of No. 11 Kansas in the Big 12 Championship Quarterfinals. While we intended to blog about Baylor's second-ever win over the Jayhawks on Thursday, we were a little swamped here at FCP'S ROAD HEADQUARTERS (the Ford Center Media Room). We were getting phone calls from all over the board; we even received an e-mail from loyal fans in Italy, congratulating the team on its win over Kansas. You know you've arrived when you are mentioned on Uni Watch AND have basketball fans in Italy. For the duration of the Big 12 Championship and NCAA Postseason, we hereby change our name to the Italian form: Pressa Piena Della Corte.
PPDC (it will catch on like wildfire, trust us) doesn't want to overload you with ALL the screencaps from yesterday's win, so we've linked you to the Baylor Newsstand.
All things considered, Pressa Piena Della Corte told you so. We did. We said Baylor still had fight left and that the Bears were poised for a deep tournament run. Guess what, BaylorNation? The time is now. The Bears will get one last crack at the Texas Longhorns tonight at 6 p.m. on THE BIG 12 NETWORK [Complete TV Listings]. Head coach Scott Drew is 0-13 vs. Texas and the Bears senior class is 0-9...It's about time to say good-bye to that 24-game losing streak to the 'Horns, right?
And, for those not in 'the know', Baylor is not only loaded with leading scorers Curtis Jerrells and LaceDarius Dunn; the Bears are apparently also blessed (this, according to ESPN.com) with phenoms Curtis Juhrells and LosDarius Dunn. Dude, where have these guys been? Don't believe us? Watch the video on yesterday's ESPN.com recap.
Two down, two to go...
One Down, Three to Go: Baylor Lives to See Another Day 11:20 P.M. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Tuesday morning's pre-practice pep talk appears to have paid dividends Wednesday afternoon. (Quick Side Story: Head coach Scott Drew brought the team to the main floor of the Cox Communications Convention Center, home of the Big 12 Women's Championship. Well, 11 years ago, the facility was known as 'The Myriad' and hosted the 1998 NCAA Midwest Men's Region...To make a long story longer, The Myriad was home to "The Shot", when Valpo's Bryce Drew hit a 23-foot 3-pointer as time expired to lift the Crusaders to an upset of No. 4 seed Ole Miss, 70-69.)...Now that we are up to speed, yes, Bryce Drew is Coach Drew's younger brother...Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as Santa Claus and, yes, miracle tournament runs do exist. See: Georgia's run in 2008 SEC Championship. Speaking of UGA, when the Bulldogs began the SEC Tournament at the Georgia Dome, they had lost 11 of their last 13 games. And, Baylor lost 10 of its final 12 before opening the Big 12 Championship Wednesday...
We're just saying...
If you watched the game or chatted with online guru Wednesdays With Webguy (aka Baylor Athletics on the in-game interactive blog), BaylorNation should be happy. Finally, for the first time in a while, the Bears played like - well, the nationally ranked Baylor Bears of two months ago. Curtis Jerrells and LaceDarius Dunn handled the offense effeciently, while Kevin Rogers (ahem, All-Underrated by The Oklahoman) cleaned the glass early and often. It was refreshing; it was fun; it was Baylor Basketball. Baylor's path to its first Big 12 men's basketball tournament title doesn't get any easier as the Bears face the No. 1 seed Kansas Thursday at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN2.
For those that were interactive blogging and such, we had over 600 unique users on today's edition. Well done, BaylorNation! Do it again, tomorrow.
We'll make this short, sweet and to the point.
WEDNESDAY'S BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME ONE MVP: Kevin Rogers. We don't feel that an explanation is needed, but for those that need documented proof, Rogers set a new Baylor Big 12 tournament record for career rebounds (now with 47); established a new Baylor record for rebounds in a Big 12 Championship game (shattered old mark of 14); moved into fourth place all-time on Baylor's career list with 810 career boards; set a new career high (former 18); recorded his 24th career - and seventh season - double-double; finished one short of tying Big 12 Championship record (Drew Gooden, 21). Do you need more?
Baylor's season continues Thursday against the top-seeded Jayhawks. Tip-off is set for 11:37 a.m. CT on ESPN2 with Ron Franklin (pxp) and Fran Fraschilla (color). One down, three to go.
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
BREAKING NEWS: CJ Named to USBWA All-District VII Team 10:50 A.M. TUESDAY, MARCH 10, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Baylor senior Curtis Jerrells was named to the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) All-District VII Team (Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana) Tuesday morning. Joining CJ on the All-District Team were A.J. Abrams (Texas), Josh Carter (Texas A&M), Aubrey Coleman (Houston), Stefon Jackson (UTEP), Damion James (Texas), Tasmin Mitchell (LSU), John Roberson (Texas Tech), Marcus Thornton (LSU) and Michael Washington (Arkansas). LSU swept the specialty awards - Thornton (Player of the Year) and Trent Johnson (Coach of the Year).
Now, it's off to practice we go...
On the Road to OKC: Baylor's Quest for a Big 12 Championship 11:21 P.M. MONDAY, MARCH 9, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
In case you missed it Sunday morning, former-Baylor-standout-turned-NBA-star-turned-student-manager David Wesley was the feature story on ESPN's Where Are They Now? segment that ran on the 11 a.m. edition of SportsCenter. IFHO (In FCP's humble opinion), it was an excellent story. Special thanks again to John Cunningham and his class for allowing ESPN to film last Wednesday morning.
While the 2008-09 season was filled so much promise and expectations for Baylor, the Bears fell short in the regular season, posting a 17-13 overall record with a 5-11 mark in the Big 12. FCP knows that BaylorNation is disappointed. However, there are three parts to a basketball season: Preseason, Regular Season and Postseason. Like we said before the Bears opened the Big 12 season vs. Texas Tech on Jan. 10, it's a new season. The slate has been wiped clean...The eight teams that will play on Wednesday in the opening round of the 2009 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Championship are 0-0, including the Bears.
So, what does that mean? Forget Baylor's loss to Nebraska on Saturday. That was LAST SEASON. Forget the Bears' run to the NCAA Tournament in 2008. That was THREE SEASONS AGO. It's March Madness, baby. These are the times that try college basketball team's souls. Like that reference? I thought so.
On the road to Oklahoma City... The Baylor team may a quick pit stop in Dallas at Cook Childen's Medical Center to visit "Big Ben" Ullman - one of the youngest (and biggest) Baylor basketball fans in all the land. Get well soon Ben!
During the four-plus-hour bus ride to OKC, we watched The Express: The Ernie Davis Story, the true and inspirational story of 1961 Heisman Trophy winner and Syracuse running back Ernie Davis. Two years after winning the Heisman, Davis passed away from leukemia at the age of 23. He signed to play professional football with the Cleveland Browns, joining former Syracuse standout Jim Brown. Despite never playing a down, the Browns retired Davis' No. 45.
Remember the Titans? Well, we sure do...One of the best sports movies in recent years. Another inspirational story. Are you noticing a pattern here?
The Bears Basketball Caravan arrived in OKC around 7:40 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel, adjacent to the Cox Communications Convention Center. After a quick change of clothes, we headed over to The Petroleum Club for dinner where we were greeted by Baylor alum Jim Daniel, former Baylor baseball coach Dutch Schroeder, Baylor Senior Associate AD for Development Doug Smith and Baylor Executive Director for Athletic Fundraising Rick Darnell. After dinner, the team was treated to guest speaker Colonel Russell, whose battalion captured Saddam Hussein on Dec. 13, 2003, in Iraq. While he provided the group with a great wealth of knowledge and determination, we left dinner with one of the most important messages - his battalion's motto: Deeds, Not Words. Such a powerful phrase.
In Case You Missed Anything, we've put it together in MONDAY'S CLOSING LIST:
Senior Curtis Jerrells was named to the All-Big 12 Third Team, while LaceDarius Dunn and Kevin Rogers were named All-Big 12 Honorable Mention on Sunday. Dunn also earned the program's first Sixth Man Award. In other Big 12 postseason honors, CJ was named to The Oklahoman's All-Big 12 third team...Lace and K-Rog were named All-Bench and All-Underrated, respectively, by The Oklahoman. Dunn (All-Reserve) and Acy (All-Freshman) were selected for specialty awards by a group of media who regularly cover the Big 12. Jerrells earned the latest Big 12 honor when he was named to the AP's All-Big 12 third team.
Tuesday is the "first day" of the 2009 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Championship as the Bears take the Ford Center floor at Noon for practice. We are nearing 36 hours until tip-off between Baylor and the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Wednesday's game WILL BE televised live on the Big 12 Network in Central Texas on CWTX/The CW (Time Warner Digital Channel 165/Grande Channel 15). It's been a long day...Time to turn out the lights. The fun starts tomorrow.
AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
The Ferrell Center: Where March Madness Begins 12:55 P.M. FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
The final home game for Mamadou Diene, Henry Dugat, Curtis Jerrells and Kevin Rogers is almost upon us. It's the day that none of us thought would ever come - or at least seem not so quickly. More commentary will follow Saturday morning, of course, but TOMORROW (MARCH 7) will be the Beginning of the Beginning. The Beginning of the Arrival of Baylor Basketball. The Bears are - without question - better today than their first game in 2006, right? After all, isn't that what a four-year senior class supposed to do? Leave the program in better condition than in which they found it? Remember to show your support and appreciation for these four on Saturday. They deserve a sell-out.
Saturday's Ferrell Center Regular Season Finale Multimedia Miscellanea Madness
Hopefully, we can add a nice TV icon above so you can click on it. You know, make it snazzy! Since we don't have that, we just have text - [Complete TV Listings].
GAME NIGHT STORY LINES In the regular season finale, Baylor will attempt to tie the Ferrell Center record for single-season home wins Saturday when the Bears host the Nebraska Cornhuskers for Senior Day. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. on the Big 12 Network. With Nebraska's win over Iowa State Wednesday night, Baylor has clinched the No. 9 seed in the 2009 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Championship. The teams will meet again in the opening game of the tournament at 11:30 a.m. on March 11. Over the last nine seasons, Baylor is 23-30 (.434) vs. Big 12 North schools. Tweety Carter has made at least one 3-point field goal in 17 consecutive games -- the seventh-longest streak in BU history. Baylor is 11-0 when shooting 50 percent or better from the floor this season. Baylor is 9-35 under Scott Drew when allowing 80-plus points (1-7 this season). Baylor has trailed at halftime in 11 of its 15 Big 12 games this season (1-10 in those games). Baylor has made at least one 3-point field goal in 541 straight games. Baylor seniors Curtis Jerrells, Henry Dugat and Kevin Rogers have accounted for 49.1 percent of the Bears' offense since arriving in 2005-06. The trio has scored 4,057 of Baylor's 8,268 points in 109 games. Henry Dugat is averaging 6.6 points over the last 12 games (13.4 points through first 17 games). Curtis Jerrells is one of six players in Baylor history to amass 1,600 or more points in a career. LaceDarius Dunn is 13-for-52 from 3-point range in his last 10 games (25.0 percent) -- Baylor is 2-8 over that stretch. Curtis Jerrells is Baylor's all-time career leader in games started (109) and minutes played (3,591). Four of the top seven 3-point shooters in Baylor history are on the current 2008-09 roster -- Curtis Jerrells (195), Tweety Carter (174), Henry Dugat (154) and LaceDarius Dunn (152).
SERIES HISTORY Baylor has won the last two meetings, but Nebraska leads the all-time series 11-7. Baylor leads the series 4-3 in Waco (4-2 at the Ferrell Center). Baylor has been held to less than 70 points in 14 of the 18 series meetings -- the Bears have reached the 70-point plateau only once in five games under head coach Scott Drew.
NEBRASKA SCOUTING REPORT Currently standing in eighth place in the latest Big 12 standings, the Nebraska Cornhuskers posted a 77-61 win over Iowa State Wednesday night that solidified Baylor as the No. 9 seed in next week's Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Championship. The Huskers, which are 4-4 in their last eight games, are led by leading scorer Ade Dagunduro, who is averaging 12.8 points in 28 games. In addition to leading the team in rebounding (4.4), Dagunduro is also Nebraska's best shooter at 53.5 percent from the floor. Paul Velander is the Huskers' best long-distance threat at 43.3 percent from 3-point range (58-of-134). Nebraska (17-11, 7-8) is 2-5 on the road in the Big 12 this season and has lost its last three conference road tests by an average of 15.0 points. The Huskers posted back-to-back road wins at Texas Tech and Colorado before their current three-game road skid. As a team, the Huskers have only 49 blocked shots in 28 games -- Baylor has 48 in 15 Big 12 contests. Three Bears have more blocks than Nebraska's leading shot blocker, Toney McCray (15) -- Quincy Acy (32), Kevin Rogers (27) and Mamadou Diene (17).
We've got your MARCH MADNESS right here! Baylor's March to March Madness begins Saturday.
For All Intents and Purposes, It All Starts Here 11:59 A.M. FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
MEMO TO FCPNATION: DON'T BRING A FRIEND TO TOMORROW'S GAME, BRING AN ARMY
The last 36 hours have been, well, hectic. It began with an all-day out-of-office marathon on Wednesday as an ESPN crew was on campus for its David Wesley featurette. We are a little more than 24 hours away from Baylor's regular season finale against the Nebraska Cornhuskers - tip-off is set for 3 p.m. on the Big 12 Network. Better get used to seeing the Huskers...Baylor plays them again on Wednesday in game one of the 2009 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Championship in O-K-C. Do you know the last time that occured for the Bears? A: 2003. Baylor defeated Texas Tech in the season finale, 74-68, but lost to the Red Raiders in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament in Dallas.
Before we head into our senior capsules, let's span the college basketball world for Baylor hoops news in FRIDAY'S OPENING LIST:
Aaron Bruce Named NBL Rookie of the Year. Former Baylor standout Aaron Bruce averaged 10.0 points, 5.1 assists and 2.6 rebounds, helping Adelaide return to the playoffs after a two-year hiatus and earning NBL Rookie of the Year honors.
CJ Named NABC All-District in Back-to-Back Seasons. Baylor senior guard Curtis Jerrells has been named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division I All-District 8 second team. It marks the second-straight year that Jerrells has been named to an All-District team by the NABC.
Prior to Saturday's game, Baylor will honor eight members of its senior class (Wait a minute! FCP, we only have four seniors. What an astute observation, but there are four others "behind the scenes" that we don't want to overlook. We'll start with that group first:
Alex Cho (Cupertino, Calif.), Student Athletic Trainer. He may have only been with the team for the 2008-09 season, but Cho has played an integral part in the day-to-day duties as an athletic trainer, assisting Associate Athletic Trainer David Chandler and fellow student assistant Hunt Whitten. Cho will graduate in May with a degree in athletic training.
Ty Beard (Midlothian, Texas), Stephen Perkins (Waco) and Will Phipps (Lubbock, Texas), Student Managers. For four years, these managers have worked countless hours as a key component in Baylor's basketball operation. Their behind-the-scenes contributions were appreciated at all Baylor home and away games, as an assistant on the managerial staff.
Mamadou Diene (Yeumbeul, Senegal). He ranks second in both career blocks (137) and career blocks per game (1.54) in school history behind only current L.A. Clipper Brian Skinner. A gregarious crowd and campus favorite, he is known as "The Mayor". He became the first Baylor male and first Big 12 men's basketball student-athlete to be named Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year in 2008. He graduated in December with a degree in communication. [Ferrell Center PA extraordinaire: Mama-dooooooooooooooooo Diennnnnnnnnnne]
Henry Dugat (Dayton, Texas). He is known for his highlight-reel quality drives, dunks and blocks, while also praised by the coaching staff for his defensive skills. He ranks sixth all-time at Baylor with 138 career steals. Earlier this season, he became the 21st player in school history to score 1,000 career points and currently ranks 14th all-time with 1,167. He ranks sixth all-time with 154 3-point field goals. He will graduate in May with a degree in General Studies.. [Ferrell Center PA extraordinaire: Henreee Duuuuuuu-goooooot]
Curtis Jerrells (Austin, Texas). He ranks sixth in school history with 1,658 career points. He is one of only two players in Baylor history to amass 1,000 points, 400 assists and 100 steals. A First Team All-Big 12 guard in 2008, he recorded only the fourth triple-double earlier this season vs. Hartford. He holds the Baylor career record for games started and minutes played. He will graduate in May with a degree in General Studies. [Ferrell Center PA extraordinaire: Curtiiiis Jeerrrrrells]
Kevin Rogers (Dallas, Texas). He ranks fifth all-time at Baylor with 784 career rebounds and sixth with 81 blocked shots. Earlier this season, he became the 22nd player in school history with 1,000 career points and currently ranks 10th all-time with 1,232. He is one of only seven players in school history with 1,000 points and 700 rebounds. He will graduate in May with a degree in General Studies. [Ferrell Center PA extraordinaire: Keeeeeeeeeeevin 'Dooos Tresss' Roooogers]
What a way to start Senior Day eve...You know? For All Intents and Purposes, the New Season Starts Here.
You Know You've Arrived When You're Mentioned on Paul Lukas' Uni Watch Blog 9:35 P.M. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Yesterday, we had two blog entries; you can see the latest one from Tuesday, but you can't see the first one. Why? FCP Error. In the process of providing you with a plethora of information, we managed to delete our first posting. For those that saw it, great. For those that didn't, we'll provide you with a rather not-so-brief summation: Saturday is Senior Day. These four seniors have helped resurrect the Baylor Bear basketball program, awaking a sleeping giant from hibernation. And, while this season hasn't lived up the preseason hype and expectations, these men deserve the utmost respect from BAYLORNATION on Saturday for their final home game as Baylor Bears.
Last week in his Colorado post-game press conference, Coach Drew asked fans to bring a friend to this Saturday's Senior Day game vs. Nebraska. DON'T BRING A FRIEND; BRING AN ARMY. Sell out the Ferrell Center and stand behind YOUR Baylor Bears as they drive towards the postseason. Baylor still has a chance to achieve a Big 12 championship (a tournament title, as pointed out by Baylor Media Relations Student Assistant Sean Doerre) and make a second-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.
For those of you who have labeled this season as a 'disappointment', shame on you. As we've preached all year long, you play AN ENTIRE REGULAR SEASON AND CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE for a reason. If you don't play well in the regular season, you have one more chance in your respective conference tournament (while it may still be hard for some schools trying to reach The Dance).
FCP TRIVIA: How many times has Baylor made back-to-back postseason tournaments? (Answer: Once. Baylor made the NIT in 1986-87 and the NCAA Tournament in 1987-88). If Baylor doesn't make the NCAA Tournament, the Bears will make the NIT. That isn't as bad as some claim. Translation: The possibility of a top-four seed and first-round home game. Don't believe us? Then, you haven't studied up on NITology.com.
L-I-V-I-N the ESPN Dream... FCP, it's pass your bedtime...Why are you blogging so late today? Good question, fellow FCPNationite (Ok, we made that one up.). FCP was M.I.A. from the Simpson Center all day Wednesday as ESPN was on campus to shoot footage for its SportsCenter Where Are They Now? featurette on Baylor's NBA-star-turned-student-manager David Wesley. A special thanks to John Cunningham and his Interviewing Class for allowing the ESPN cameras to film during class this morning.
After filming on campus (ESPN filmed a sequence of David walking from the shadows of Pat Neff to the sidewalk outside the Castellaw Communications Building where one unsuspecting student didn't know who Wesley was), the ESPN crew headed to the Lt. Jack Whetsel Jr. Practice Facility to set up shop in the men's practice gym. The piece is slated to air Sunday morning on SportsCenter. When we get a precise time, we will send out a 'Tweet' - see, you should be on Twitter.
You Know You've Arrived When You Are Mentioned on Uni Watch FCP is an avid reader of the Uni Watch Blog (Yes, we know - blogging about a blog; how cliché). And, this morning, what do you know? Baylor is mentioned in Wednesday's blog (hint: it's about the Bears covered-up NameOnBack). It's even complete with a picture of Curtis Jerrells' jersey.
Mark Your Calendars With Nebraska's 77-61 win over Iowa State Wednesday night in Lincoln, Baylor has solidifed the No. 9 seed in the 2009 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Championship next week in OKC. Meaning? Baylor will play in the 11:30 a.m. game on Wednesday at the Ford Center - most likely against Nebraska, but that will be figured out by Saturday night. Here's the Big 12's Official Tournament Page.
FCP'S SENIOR SPOTLIGHT Before we inadvertently deleted our first post on Tuesday, we began our four-part Senior Spotlight Series with center Mamadou Diene...We will catch up, starting Thursday when we highlight Mamadou (again) and guard Henry Dugat. CJ and K-Rog will post on Friday. Fair enough? Now, we're all square.
And now, for this week's Public Service Announcement (to replace 'BOOM...DYNAMITE' just for this week): DON'T BRING A FRIEND; BRING AN ARMY.
NITology Says What? A First Round Game May Be Coming to An Arena Near You... 11:55 A.M. TUESDAY, MARCH 3, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Baylor is still holding steady as a No. 4 seed, this time in the 'Michigan Region'. Obviously, Michigan would be the No. 1 seed, followed by No. 2 UAB, No. 3 Cincinnati, NO. 4 BAYLOR, No. 5 New Mexico, No. 6 Niagara, No. 7 Mississippi State and No. 8 Miami (Ohio). That would mean a Baylor/New Mexico match-up in the first round at the Ferrell Center. How well do you know your Baylor NIT trivia? The presumed first-round pairing would be a rematch of the 2001 NIT first round game in Albuquerque (New Mexico won, 83-73).
If the NIT started today, five Baylor opponents would make the 32-team field: Providence (No. 1 seed in Providence Region), South Carolina (No. 2 seed in Providence Region), Nebraska (No. 5 seed in Virginia Tech Region), Washington State (No. 7 seed in Virginia Tech Region) and Kansas State (No. 1 seed in Kansas State Region).
And, as of the latest NIT predictions, Baylor is a solid pick in the field, while all four No. 7 and No. 8 seeds are on the bubble, but in the projected tournament field - Northern Iowa, Wazzu, Mississippi State, Green Bay, Cleveland State, Miami (Ohio), Northeastern and UALR.
For those of you dying to know those teams on the NIT bubble that are likely to receive tournament bids to the CBI or CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (yes, there is a FOURTH postseason tournament): Evansville, Duquesne, UTEP, Nevada, Binghamton, Bradley, Houston, Hofstra, Wyoming, Wright State, St. Joseph's, Vanderbilt, Fairfield, N.C. State, Seton Hall, Boise State, Old Dominion, Iowa, Stanford, College of Charleston, La Salle, Akron, Portland, Drexel, St. Louis, Alabama, Portland State, New Mexico State, Troy, Arkansas, Mount St. Mary's and [The Fighting Wednesdays With Webguys of] North Texas.
Just Another Manic Monday? No, Just ESPN Big Monday 10:00 A.M. MONDAY, MARCH 2, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
It's a BE.A.Utiful Monday morning along the banks of the Brazos...
For the second time this season, Baylor fans get to enjoy the Bears in stellar primetime HD as the Baylor Bears visit long-time rival Texas tonight on ESPN's Big Monday at 8 p.m. Don't have HD or won't be around a TV? That's ok - the game is also available on ESPN360 or you can tune in to ESPN 1660 AM with John Morris and Pat Nunley, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
It's the final week of the regular season and, while some teams are jockeying for position atop the league standings, it appears as though Baylor may be a lock for the 8-9 game of the 2009 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Championship. That is an 11:30 a.m. tip on the Big 12 Network. If everything remained the same for the remainder of the week, Baylor would end its regular season at home vs. Nebraska and would open the Big 12 Championship against the Huskers in the first round. The winner of the 8-9 game would face the No. 1 seed (presumably Kansas, as of today) March 12 at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN2.
But, it's still early and we have two more games on the docket. So, without further conviction...Here's MONDAY [NOT SO ABBREVIATED] PRIMETIME OPENING LIST:
Monday's Primetime Multimedia Miscellanea Madness
No video icon? Yeah, we decided to forgo a video icon...but, there is video for the game for free on ESPN360.com. Pretty sweet, huh?
GAME NIGHT STORY LINES Baylor aims to snap its 23-game losing streak to Texas when the Bears visit the Longhorns at the Frank Erwin Center on ESPN's Big Monday. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. on ESPN. Monday marks the 230th meeting between Baylor and Texas, the most-played rivalry for both schools (UT leads 154-75). Baylor is 6-41 in its last 47 Big 12 road games, including a 5-10 mark dating back to last season (4-4 in 2008-09, 1-6 this season). Baylor has lost five-straight Big 12 road games (last Big 12 road win was Jan. 21 at Kansas State). Tweety Carter has made at least one 3-point field goal in 16 consecutive games -- the ninth-longest streak in BU history. Baylor is 11-0 when shooting 50 percent or better from the floor this season. Baylor is 9-35 under Scott Drew when allowing 80-plus points (1-7 this season). Baylor has trailed at halftime in 10 of its 14 Big 12 games this season (1-9 in those games). Baylor has made at least one 3-point field goal in 540 straight games. Baylor seniors Curtis Jerrells, Henry Dugat and Kevin Rogers have accounted for 49.1 percent of the Bears' offense since arriving in 2005-06. The trio has scored 4,030 of Baylor's 8,211 points in 108 games. Henry Dugat is averaging 6.6 points over the last 11 games (13.4 points through first 17 games). Curtis Jerrells is one of six players in Baylor history to amass 1,600 or more points in a career. LaceDarius Dunn is 11-for-45 from 3-point range in his last nine games (24.4 percent) -- Baylor is 2-7 over that stretch. Curtis Jerrells has started 108 career games and, with a start Monday, will become school's all-time leader. Four of the top seven 3-point shooters in Baylor history are on the current 2008-09 roster -- Curtis Jerrells (193), Tweety Carter (173), Henry Dugat (154) and LaceDarius Dunn (150).
SERIES HISTORY Texas leads the all-time series 154-75 and holds a commanding 83-26 advantage in Austin. Monday marks the 230th meeting between the schools, the most-played rivalry for both. Texas has won the last 23 series meetings. Baylor last defeated Texas, 80-75, on Feb. 21, 1998, in Waco. Baylor's last win in Austin was on Jan. 3, 1998 (BU won 87-81). Baylor is 0-12 vs. Texas under head coach Scott Drew.
TEXAS SCOUTING REPORT Since defeating the Bears 78-72 at the Ferrell Center on Jan. 27, Texas is 4-5 in its last nine games, including a 3-2 record at the Erwin Center. Saturday, Oklahoma State handed Texas a 68-59 loss at Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Cowboys held the Longhorns to 18 first-half points en route to a 12-point halftime lead. However, OSU held off Texas' second-half rally to take the nine-point win. Damion James led all Texas scorers with 18 points and 18 rebounds, while A.J. Abrams was held to nine points on 3-of-15 shooting. Dexter Pittman and Harrison Smith each added 12 points. Abrams leads the Longhorns with 17.0 points through 28 games, while shooting 39.5 percent (87-of-220) from 3-point range. James is second on the team with 15.8 points along with a team-high 9.4 rebounds. Gary Johnson is the only Longhorn averaging double figures with 11.3 points.
LAST TIME VS. TEXAS - JAN. 27, 2009 A.J. Abrams scored 19 points while matching the Big 12 career record for 3-pointers and No. 11 Texas defeated Baylor, 78-72 Curtis Jerrells, who is from Austin, led Baylor with 14 points in his 100th career start. He became only the fourth 100-game starter in Bears history, starting every game. Kevin Rogers added 13 points and 12 rebounds. LaceDarius Dunn had 12 points and Quincy Acy 11. The game was tied 13 times, but the 13th and final lead change came when Gary Johnson was credited with a basket when Kevin Rogers was called for goaltending with 4:20 left to make it 64-62. In the first half, Baylor and Texas each scored a season-low points (BU 24, UT 27). Baylor held Texas scoreless for 5:51 in the first half. Dunn made one 3-point field goal and extended his streak of consecutive games with a made 3-pointer to 25 games, the then-third-longest streak in Baylor history. Rogers recorded his sixth double-double of the season and the 23rd of his career. Rogers also moved into fifth place all-time at Baylor with 732 career rebounds. Acy scored in double-figures for the sixth time (Baylor sufferd its first loss this season when Acy scores 10+ points; BU was 5-0.).
WE'LL LEAVE YOU WITH THIS...Baylor basketball returned to the Ferrell Center last Saturday as the Bears crushed Colorado in the second half en route to a 75-57 win. Now, the Bears invade the capital city as they try to stop their 23-game losing streak to the Longhorns. You've Gotta Believe. AND, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
Sunday Morning Point Guard: The 24-Points-in-the-Second-Half Edition 12:05 P.M. SUNDAY, MARCH 1, 2009 CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
They're BAAAAAAAAAAAACKKKK. If you weren't one of the 7,000-plus fans on hand at the Ferrell Center to witness the return of Baylor Basketball, shame on you. While the first half was low scoring (BU led 26-24 at the break), the Bears rose from hibernation in the second half thanks to senior Curtis Jerrells. Colorado held Jerrells to only five points in the first half, but CJ was at his finest in the second period. Jerrells sliced and diced through the lane and picked apart Colorado's defense with precision. It was...AWESOME.
Jerrells scored 24 of his game-high 29 points in the second half, including 18 in the game's final 10 minutes. Wait, he scored 24 of his 29 points in the second half? That should sound familiar to Baylor fans...That's because he pulled the same second-half heroics on Dec. 20 vs. UT Arlington at the Ferrell Center. CJ scored 24 in the second half that game as well, while going 16-of-17 from the free throw line. Could this be the turning point? It very well could be and now the Bears face a very beatable Texas team that lost on the road at Oklahoma State Saturday (see, Baylor's not the only team to leave Stillwater without a win).
Saturday's outcome featured the Baylor team that excited fans through the first 18 games of the season...The run-and-gun offense that electrified the crowd and even those of us who aren't allowed to cheer at games (ahem). With that said, the final two games are upon us and we'll leave you with this: At 17-11 (5-9 in Big 12), Baylor still can reach its goal of winning a Big 12 title and return to the NCAA Tournament. You know why? Because It's March Madness. Anything is within the realm of possibility. And, quite frankly, if Baylor catches fire these last two games, we don't see very many teams eager to play the Bears in the Big 12 Tournament, do you?