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There are many teams in the Big 12 who won't be too sorry to see Missouri leave, especially after the way it played last season en route to the conference championship. No team should be happier about Mizzou's departure than Baylor.
As a top-5 team in January of last season, Baylor was knocked off, at home, by Missouri. In February, the Bears lost to the Tigers, in Columbia. That wasn't all however.
In March, Baylor knocked off Kansas—a team it had lost to twice in the regular season—in the Big 12 semifinals. That set up a matchup with—you guessed it—Missouri for the Big 12 tournament title. Once again, the result would not go in Baylor’s favor. They lost to the Tigers by 15, for a second straight time.
Now, Missouri is in the SEC, where they will look to wreak havoc on some new foes. Meanwhile, Baylor will look to seize an opportunity to take their place as the primary threat to Kansas’ annual reign on the league’s regular-season title.
Despite losing plenty from last year’s Elite Eight team—namely forwards Perry Jones III and Quincy Acy—Baylor has an infusion of talent coming in to go with some quality backcourt experience.
Seven-footer Isaiah Austin—a McDonald’s All-American—should make an immediate impact, along with fellow freshman Ricardo Gathers. Pierre Jackson—who led the Bears in scoring, assists and steals last year—is primed for a breakout senior season. Brady Heslip should once again be a deadly weapon from outside.
Baylor may have trouble knocking off Kansas in Lawrence on Jan. 14, but by the time the two play again in Waco at the end of the regular season, it could very well be for the Big 12 title.