It has long been known at Baylor and around much of the Big 12 that Baylor women’s basketball was a force to be reckoned with, but as Dick Vitale might phrase it, "There’s a new big man on campus, baby!"
That new force is Baylor men's basketball.
The Bears (14-2) (2-0) are off to their first 2-0 start in Big 12 play since 1998 and off to its best start in 62 years.
As a member of the Baylor men’s basketball spirit group known as the "Bear Pit," I am not surprised by this team. Last year came to a disappointing end and I, along with many of the team’s followers, have high expectations for this team.
Early in the year Baylor faced Washington State (15-1, 3-1) and, although leading most of the game, allowed the Cougars to climb back into the game in the second half and steal a victory.
The Baylor faithful showed up in droves. Everyone who showed up to the Ferrell Center expected a win. That game, though disappointing, set a positive tone for the rest of the year. Baylor also let one slip in the second half against Arkansas in Dallas on January 5th.
Not to take away anything from any other talented team in college basketball, but if Baylor can shake its habit of finding a way to lose games late, then they can and will hang with anyone in the nation.
Baylor will face some great Big 12 opponents in the upcoming weeks, but two teams will truly prove if Baylor is a contender or a pretender this season. Texas and Texas A&M are perennially two of the most talented teams in college basketball and, regardless of the success the Bears have had this year already, those games will be the litmus test for whether this Bears team is the real deal or not.
Either way it has been one hell of a year so far, and anything but a post season at this point is a slap in the face for a team with as much talent as Baylor.
The Bears face the Nebraska Cornhuskers today in Lincoln at 5 PM.