The Baylor Athletics department is in no shortage of successful sports and Sunday saw the victories of six teams: Softball over Houston, Baseball over Texas, Women’s Tennis over Oklahoma State, Women’s Golf in a top five finish, Women’s Basketball over Jackson State, and Men’s Basketball over Wisconsin (try and name another school with sports like these!). The Women’s and Men’s Basketball teams have already had immensely successful regular seasons (both earned Big 12 Championship titles, which you can read about here and here) and a fantastic postseason conference championship for the Lady Bears as well. With the teams’ wins over their tournament opponents, the men and women both earned their tickets to their respective next rounds as the former enter the Sweet Sixteen and the latter is in the round of 32!
Advancing to the next rounds is difficult for any team no matter what their seed (which we’ve seen numerous times already during March Madness with at least four male Cinderella teams), though the No. 2 Lady Bears made their victory over No. 15 Jackson State look like a walk in the park. Five of the Lady Bears scored in double digits and junior F and Big 12 Player of the Year NaLyssa Smith recorded a double double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Senior G Moon Ursin had a career-high 24 points and 6 rebounds, sophomore G Jordyn Oliver had 14 points and 7 rebounds, junior C Queen Egbo notched 10 points and 4 rebounds, and senior G Dijonai Carrington had 10 points and 3 rebounds. The team overall shot 49.4% (38-77) of their field goals, 40% (6-15) of 3s, and 70.4% (19-27) of free throws.
The No. 1 seed Men’s Basketball team had a slightly more difficult time making it past the No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers as they made it to their first Sweet Sixteen since 2017 and fifth in the last 12 seasons. The Bears had offensive shooting issues and were in foul trouble early into the game. However, with a roster like Baylor’s, it’s easy to throw in the next star guard when starters aren’t nailing their shots. Sophomore G Adam Flagler nailed a buzzer-beater 3 to close the first half, stunning the Badgers fewer than 3 seconds after they made a 3 as the shot clock expired themselves. And when Wisconsin took control offensively and went on a near-uninterrupted second half scoring run, the Bears fought back to keep their lead. Junior G/F Matthew Mayer led the team with 17 points and 6 rebounds and team-best junior Gs Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler each recorded 16 points. The Men shot 45.5% (25-55) of their field goals, 47.1% (8-17) of 3s, and 78.3% (18-23) of free throws to move on to the next rounds.