Baylor Men’s and Women’s Basketball March Madness Preview
It’s March again, which means basketball fans from around the nation will tune into the NCAA tournaments, fill out brackets, and cheer for upsets. Luckily for Baylor fans, we have the luxury of cheering one of our teams onto a Cinderella run, while also rooting the other on as a legitimate contender.
Get your brackets ready, and let the madness begin.
Scott Drew’s Baylor squad is in the field of 64 as a #9 seed, facing off against the Syracuse Orange in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Bears are 19-13 on the season, but do not look to have much momentum going into their first-round matchup. Losers of four straight, including a first round upset to Iowa State in the Big 12 tournament, the Bears will look to reclaim some of their magic again against Syracuse.
Jim Boeheim’s squad, however, is also skidding. Losing 3 of their final 4 games coming into the tournament, the Orange (20-13) are also looking to get back on track. Earlier in the year they handed #1 Duke one of their five losses on the season, proving to the nation that they are nothing to be trifled with. However, since that point, the team has been riddled with inconsistency.
The key to Baylor winning against Syracuse, and perhaps every team after the Orange, is the three-point line. In their four-game losing streak, Baylor has taken 106 three pointers and made only 28, which amounts to an icy 26% clip. You do not win basketball games by throwing lots of deep balls unless they are hitting. This could prove difficult against a Syracuse defense that holds teams 32% beyond the arc on average. But, If the Bears can reignite their shots from deep, they may stand a fighting chance, and have a valid shot at taking down #1 Gonzaga.
The Lady Bears find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum. Placed as the #1 seed, Kim Mulkey and company are squaring off at home against the #16 ACU Wildcats on Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Bears haven’t lost a game since before Christmas, to the Stanford Cardinal. Since then, they have proceeded to tear through everyone in their path. They are 18-0 in conference play, and frankly, only a handful of games have even been close. Their dominance has lead most to believe that they are the favorites to win the entire tournament.
The frontcourt of Kalani Brown and Lauren Cox prove to be the best in the nation. That star power, combined with a team-first attitude, show just why the Lady Bears are so highly regarded by analysts, coaches, and fans alike.
Chances are that Kim Mulkey won’t face too much of a challenge at all until really the Elite Eight, where they could play Iowa, or perhaps the Final Four, where they expect to meet a surging Mississippi State.
It may be March, but let’s hope that the madness is reserved for other teams. If this season has shown us anything, it’s that the Lady Bears can bring a National Championship home to Waco.