Charlie Riedel/Associated Press
On Feb. 8 after a 16-point loss to Oklahoma, Baylor was 14-9 on the season and only 2-8 in the conference. The Bears were staring down the barrel of an NIT berth.
However, a run of 10 wins in their last 12 games, including four victories over ranked opponents, has made Baylor a team to watch this month. The Bears lost in the Big 12 final to Iowa State on Saturday but will still be full of confidence heading into the field of 68.
As ESPN.com's Myron Medcalf reported, Baylor's turnaround has been all about defense, focus and confidence—the close games the Bears lost earlier in the season have turned into emphatic wins.
Per Medcalf, senior forward Cory Jefferson had this to say after his team's win over Texas in the semifinal:
Basically, we've just tightened up on our defense and working on closing out the game.
Most of the games we have lost, when we went through the early part of the conference play, they were within, like, one to two possessions. So we were there throughout the whole game for the most part, but we just [weren't] finishing out the game, and that's basically what we've been working on.