The No. 3 Baylor men’s basketball team overcame adversity, and COVID-19 struggles, to win its first conference title since 1950, but No. 6 West Virginia didn’t make it easy. The Bears beat the Mountaineers in overtime to clinch the title.
“It means a lot, especially for Coach Drew and Coach Tang, all the guys who passed through Baylor,” Jared Butler, a guard for the Bears, said in a post game interview.
With his success at Baylor, Scott Drew completed one of the biggest turnarounds in college basketball history. He’s coached the Bears in 262 games in 18 years as a ranked team. In the 97 years prior to his arrival, Baylor played just two games as a ranked team.
“First I learned from my dad, a Hall of Fame coach. He always says you’ve got to adapt to your personnel and to be honest our staff has done a great job putting our players in position to be successful and then obviously, if you don’t have a capable players,” Drew said.
The Mountaineers were able to dig out of a double digit deficit in the first half of the game. WVU went shot for shot with the Bears in the second half. Head coach Bob Huggins said his team had plenty of opportunities to win and hand Baylor it’s second-straight loss, but the Mountaineers just made too many mistakes.
“Guys, that’s a very well coached basketball team and we had every opportunity to win and we just didn’t finish,” Huggins said.
West Virginia wraps its season against Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Baylor closes out the regular season on Sunday hosting Texas Tech.
Texas lost to in-state rival No. 18 Texas Tech on Sunday. The No. 15 Longhorns are in the middle of an unprecedented finish to the regular season, with four consecutive road games. Texas bounced back Tuesday in Ames, beating Iowa State, and avoided becoming the Cyclones first conference win of the season.
“We talked about Iowa State being a team that really, really, wanted to win. They’ve been close. They played Baylor really tough a week ago. They were up on TCU late,” Shaka Smart, the Longhorns head coach said. “When you play those types of teams you know at some point if you don’t come in here on edge, they can break through on somebody.”
It was back-to-back bedlam in Oklahoma this week for the first time in 100 years. No. 16 Oklahoma and No. 17 Oklahoma State played each other in back-to-back games. The Cowboys won both matchups, completing their first sweep of the Sooners since 2017.
K-State wraps up its season this weekend at home against Iowa State. They’re trying to rebound following a blowout loss to West Virginia.
Meanwhile, No. 13 Kansas picked up a non-conference game and played UTEP Thursday. So far, KU is the only team in the Big 12 to play it’s entire conference season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
All sights now turn toward Kansas City and the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship. The Men’s tournament tips off Wednesday evening.