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Take Five With Jerry


Director of Sports Journalism Jerry Hill gives his five takes for the Baylor men's basketball team playing in the Big 12 Championship that starts Wednesday in Kansas City. After a first-round bye, the sixth-seeded Bears (18-13) will face No. 3 seed and 18th-ranked West Virginia (22-9) at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Sprint Center:

1. Bubble watching. ESPN's Joe Lunardi has Baylor as one of the last teams in the field, but all it takes to knock the Bears off the bubble is a couple upset losses in other conference tournaments. A win over a top-20 West Virginia team would pretty much wrap it up.

2. Handling the press. Baylor turned it over 21 times in a three-point loss at Morgantown and then had nine turnovers in its first 12 possessions in a 71-60 loss to the Mountaineers in Waco. The Bears are not alone - West Virginia has one of the best defenses in the country - but they can't let it take them out of their game.

3. Accounting for Konate. The 6-8 sophomore center swatted away nine shots in the last meeting with the Bears, finishing one block shy of a triple-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Baylor's guards have to penetrate and dish rather than trying to take it right at the big man.

4. That Nuni. Streaky at times, Nuni Omot is coming off a career game in the Bears' 77-67 loss last Saturday at Kansas State. He hit five of his six 3-pointers in the second half and finished with a career-best-tying 30 points.

5. Someone else. Manu Lecomte, Jo Lual-Acuil and Terry Maston are fairly consistent double-figure scorers. To beat West Virginia, and particularly to win this tournament, the Bears need to get something special out of one of the role players. That could be Jake Lindsey, King McClure, Mark Vital or Tristan Clark, and they're certainly capable.



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