Baylor MBB Makes Final Four for First Time in 71 Years

Baylor MBB moves on to Final Four
Photo credit: AP Photo – Michael Conroy

Only two days ago the No. 1 seeded Baylor Men’s Basketball team booked their slot in the NCAA Elite Eight round after a close victory over No. 5 Villanova, 62-51, and today the Bears proved their seed correct as they defeated No. 3 Arkansas with a final score of 81-72. And although the margin of victory for both games was the same, today’s match up that propelled Baylor to the Final Four felt much easier on the Bears’ end. The Bears are advancing to the Final Four for the first time in 71 years since, like Baylor Athletics’ Jerry Hill (papa) said, “the 1950 team defeated BYU in an eight-team tournament after a runner-up finish in ’48.” Last season’s unexpectedly abrupt ending was devastating for a Baylor team that should’ve received its first ever No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, so this squad’s Cinderella season is even more thrilling to watch now that we know “what could’ve been” is happening in real time! Villanova exploited the Bears’ weaknesses in Saturday’s game where the men in green and gold were shooting their worst game all season in “an uncharacteristically terrible 3 point shooting day (remember they’re the best 3 shooters in the country), making only 15.8% (3-19) with 44.1% (26-59) of their field goals and 70% (7-10) of free throws.” Today, Baylor jumped ahead quickly as opposed to their usual lethargic or slow start and never lost their lead no matter how close the Razorbacks got. The Bears shot 48.4% (30-62) of their field goals, 53.3% (8-15) of 3s, and 76.5% (13-17) of free throws. Four of the Bears’ guards scored in the double digits led by senior MaCio Teague who had another fantastic game, notching 22 points and 5 rebounds. Junior Jared Butler had 14 points and 3 rebounds, junior Davion Mitchell scored 12 points and 1 rebound, and sophomore Adam Flagler had 10 points and was 2-2 for 3s. Baylor’s difference maker was their 21 points off of Arkansas turnovers (they had 6 points off of the Bears) and adding 25 points from the bench helped as well!