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The Bears entered this season under a lot of scrutiny because of how last year played out, but the talent-laden team responded this year and played much closer to its potential. There is a great mix of youngsters and veteran players who give Baylor a varied attack, particularly on the offensive end of the floor.
While Baylor is at its best when the entire rotation is contributing, there are certainly a couple specific players who need to stand out in the NCAA tournament in order for the Bears to go a long way. If they aren't on top of their respective games, then Baylor simply isn't going to last very long.
As a transfer from the College of Southern Idaho, point guard Pierre Jackson has made a huge difference in his first year at Baylor. It didn't take long for the diminutive junior to get acclimated to Division I play as he may already be the Bears' best player.
Not only is he their leading scorer with 13.5 points per game, he is also the leader in assists by a wide margin with 5.6 per contest. He is extremely efficient on the offensive end as he shoots 48 percent from the field and 45 percent from beyond the arc.
Baylor was in desperate need of a floor general, and Jackson has stepped into that role seamlessly. To say that he has been the single most important player for the Bears this season wouldn't be a stretch. Guard play is always of the utmost importance come tournament time, so Jackson will have to carry over his stellar regular-season play.
Perry Jones III
While Pierre Jackson may be the straw that stirs the drink for Baylor, Perry Jones III is the player who sets the Bears apart from the opposition.
Although he has an unfortunate penchant for disappearing at times, Jones is among the best big men in the country when he is on his game. His averages of 13 points and 7.5 rebounds per game are solid, but they don't tell the entire story with regards to how good Jones can be.
At 6'11" and 235 lbs, Jones can afford to add some bulk, and since he's only a sophomore that is understandable. His lack of girth tends to get him into trouble against physical post players on the defensive end, but as long as he is contributing offensively, it isn't a huge issue.
Baylor will need Jones to play consistently well on offense and step up on the defensive end in order to be a contender.