Baylor beats Arkansas 81-72 for first Final Four in 71 years
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)INDIANAPOLIS – Baylor had been on the cusp of the Final Four twice before under coach Scott Drew, falling to the eventual champion both times. Baylor is headed there for the first time in 71 years, getting 22 points from MaCio Teague and a dominating defensive performance from Davion Mitchell to beat Arkansas 81-72 on Monday night. The top-seeded Bears (26-2) appeared to be barreling toward ending their Final Four drought with a dominating start. That left the Bears short of the Final Four dating back to when the bracket was only eight teams. He gave Arkansas all kinds of trouble on the pick-and-roll in the second half, finishing with 12 points and six assists.
Close range: Baylor grinds to Elite 8 in 62-51 win ova 'Nova
Davion Mitchell, a 46% shooter from 3 this season, went 0 for 3 from long range on a 14-point day. Jared Butler scored nine points on 1-for-9 shooting from 3, and MaCio Teague had five points without a 3. The guards did a great job of not settling and probing more.”Because of that, Baylor shot 53% in the second half, even though it made only one 3. Constantly harassing Villanova shooters who'd carved out space in the first half, Baylor held Villanova to 37.5% shooting in the second and 0 for 9 from 3. Forward Brandon Slater left the game about midway through the second half after landing awkwardly during a fight for a rebound.
No. 1 seed Baylor beats Wisconsin 76-63 to reach Sweet 16
The Bears answered the run with a dash of more D to reach the Sweet 16 for the fifth time under coach Scott Drew. Dominant Baylor showed up in the opener after a shaky start, hitting 11 3-pointers in a 79-55 win over Hartford. The Sweet 16 bid fell short when the shots wouldn't fall down the stretch. Baylor showed glimpses of the dominating D from its fast start to the season. The Bears let up a little in the second half, but it was plenty good enough to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2017.
Gonzaga, Baylor dominate AP All-America teams
(AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)Gonzaga and Baylor spent almost the entire season holding down the top two spots in the Top 25. Makes sense they'd hold down a bunch of spots on The Associated Press All-America teams. The Bulldogs' Corey Kispert and the Bears' Jared Butler led the way with first-team nods Tuesday from the national panel of 63 media members that vote each week in the AP Top 25 poll. Just like the first- and second-team All-Americans, their teams also will be playing in the NCAA Tournament this week. ___AP Basketball Writer John Marshall and AP Sports Writers Michael Marot and Stephen Hawkins contributed to this report.
Pick Six: Veterans to watch as NCAA Tournament begins
(AP Photo/Chase Stevens)INDIANAPOLIS – There has never been a better time to have senior leadership in the NCAA Tournament than this season. AdVirginia intends to play after withdrawing from the ACC Tournament because of COVID-19 protocols, which means fans will get to say Sam Hauser running the show. Dru Smith is their leading scorer and Jeremiah Tilmon finally reached his potential this season, and both aim to help Missouri snap a four-game NCAA Tournament skid. Herb Jones is an All-American candidate and Jaden Shackelford is Alabama's leading scorer, but John Petty Jr. makes the SEC Tournament champs go. Then there's Tennessee forward John Fulkerson, who sustained facial fractures in an SEC Tournament win over Florida and underwent surgery Sunday.
Baylor headlines South Region bracket with first No. 1 seed
Second-ranked Baylor (22-2) headlines the South Region and opens against 16th-seeded Hartford, the America East Conference champion. 2 seed in the South after losing in overtime to Illinois in Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament final. The Raiders (14-1) won the Patriot League title and entered Selection Sunday averaging 86.3 points, led by Jordan Burns' 17-point average. When his eighth-seeded Tar Heels (18-10) face ninth-seeded Wisconsin, Williams will look to improve to 30-0 in first-round NCAA Tournament games. CONFERENCE WATCHThe Big 12, Big Ten and Southeastern Conference combined to take six of the top seven seeds in the South bracket.
No. 12 Oklahoma St beats No. 2 Baylor 83-74 in Big 12 semis
– Confidence has never been a problem for Oklahoma State freshman Cade Cunningham. 12 Cowboys trying to rally from a second-half hole against second-ranked Baylor in the Big 12 Tournament, Cunningham calmly responded with back-to-back 3-pointers to give his team the lead. Ad“You have to give Oklahoma State a lot of credit," Drew said. The Bears did get off to a quick start, but Oklahoma State answered and gradually pulled ahead. Oklahoma State split the season series with the Longhorns, losing a 77-74 nail-biter in December before winning a 75-67 double-overtime thriller early last month.
Big 12 champ No. 3 Baylor beats No. 17 Oklahoma State 81-70
Two days after the Bears clinched their first Big 12 title with an overtime win at No. 17 Oklahoma State on Thursday night, ending the Cowboys' five-game winning streak. “You want to be content with winning the Big 12, but at the same time you don’t want to lose a game,” Butler said. AdFreshman standout and Big 12 leading scorer Cade Cunningham had 20 of his 24 points after halftime for Oklahoma State (17-7, 10-7), whose winning streak was the longest active in the Big 12. I didn’t see anything unusual other than stepping on a guy’s foot,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said.
No. 2 Baylor returns with 77-72 win to stay undefeated
Baylor then had six consecutive games postponed because of COVID-19 issues in the program, and hadn't even had another full practice until Sunday. With 6-foot-8 forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua out of the Baylor lineup, Mark Vital had 15 rebounds and three blocks. “Congrats to Baylor for figuring our a way to win, that’s why they’re No. But to come away get a win and be able to perform like we did, very very pleased with that. Coming into the game second in the Big 12 averaging 17 points, Butler had three turnovers and took only one shot before halftime.
No. 2 Baylor still undefeated after 84-72 win over Auburn
(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)WACO, Texas – This Baylor win was for Davion Mitchell, and the junior guard did his part against his former team. Mitchell swished a 3-pointer after losing a shoe and finished with 13 points and seven assists, helping the Bears stay undefeated with an 84-72 win over Auburn in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday. “And that’s OK, because Butler, and Teague and Davion Mitchell and Flagler are all really good,” Pearl said. "That conversation down the court, that was pretty cool.”AHEAD TO STAYButler made two free throws with 4:50 left in the first half for a 23-22 Baylor lead. Baylor: Baylor is 7-1 in Big 12/SEC Challenge games, the best record by any team in either league in the annual showdown.
Butler’s 22 lead No. 2 Baylor past Oklahoma State 81-66
(AP Photo/Justin Rex)STILLWATER, Okla. – Baylor’s depth and experience eventually overwhelmed an Oklahoma State team that was missing star freshman Cade Cunningham due to COVID-19 protocols. Jared Butler scored 22 points, and the second-ranked Bears rallied from a halftime deficit to beat Oklahoma State 81-66 on Saturday. Key reserve Rondel Walker also sat out with an arm injury, leaving Oklahoma State with eight players available. STAT LINESOklahoma State outrebounded Baylor 23-12 in the first half, but Baylor won the matchup 22-14 in the second half. Oklahoma State visits Iowa State on Monday.
Butler scores 30, unbeaten No. 2 Baylor tops No. 9 Kansas
Baylor guard Jared Butler (12) shoots a three-point basket past Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Waco, Texas. Butler had a season-high 30 points and eight assists as the Bears remained undefeated with a 77-69 victory Monday night over No. 9 Kansas, which has lost consecutive Big 12 games for the first time in nearly eight years. “To win the Big 12, we’re going to need all 15 guys, we need everybody, we need the staff. “They were real focused, like we’ve been for every game,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said.
No. 2 Baylor up to 12-0 after 68-60 win at No. 15 Texas Tech
Baylor head coach Scott Drew watches from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. 15 Texas Tech 68-60 on Saturday in their closest game this season. Mac McClung had 24 points for Texas Tech, while Kevin McCullar had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Texas Tech led 45-44 after Marcus Santos-Silva made a free throw with 7:14 left. Texas Tech missed a chance for its highest ranking this season (that was 13th last month).
No. 1 Zags: Gonzaga begins season atop Top 25 for first time
FILE - Gonzaga players celebrate after defeating Saint Mary's in an NCAA college basketball game in the final of the West Coast Conference men's tournament in Las Vegas, in this Tuesday, March 10, 2020, file photo. Gonzaga will begin the college basketball season No. 1 for the first time after coach Mark Few's bunch earned 28 first-place votes in the preseason AP Top 25 poll released Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
No. 1 Zags: Gonzaga begins season atop Top 25 for first time
Iowa was picked fifth behind national player of the year front-runner Luka Garza, its highest preseason ranking in school history. The Bears, who also have their highest preseason ranking, spent five weeks at No. THE REST OF THE POLLCreighton lost Ty-Shon Alexander to the NBA and Davion Mintz to Kentucky but still landed the highest preseason ranking in school history at No. 17, its highest preseason ranking since the final Phi Slama Jama team of Hakeem Olajuwon began the 1983-84 season at No. 6 in the final poll last season but losing Mountain West player of the year Malachi Flynn and two other elite producers.