No. 4 Baylor still seeking a share of Big 12 Basketball title vs West Virginia. Can the Mountaineers get a massive win this weekend?
TV Schedule: ESPN+ 1:00pm ET
Morgantown, WV WVU Coliseum
The two defensive titans met back on February 15th in Waco. The Bears got the best of the Mountaineers at home, leading the whole game and finishing with a score of 70-59.
Once again both teams meet while rating in the nation’s top 4 in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. But this time, the dynamic in the pregame locker rooms may be a little different.
Baylor was riding a league-best 21-game winning streak and looking to tie the Big 12 record with a win.
West Virginia, despite coming off a loss vs Kansas, in a game which they lead by 7 late into the second half, was filled with momentum as the program just the week before had debuted as a No. 2 seed in the NCAA’s first Top 16 Committee Ranking.
Now, it’s March. Not only is it March, but it’s the last game of the regular season. It’s the last chance for both squads to put a final cherry on top of their regular season resumes before the Big 12 Tournament starts in Kansas City on Wednesday.
This time Baylor’s record-breaking winning streak has been snapped and West Virginia is just 2-6 since that early committee ranking came out. So both teams could really use a win to help momentum heading into the playoffs.
Scott Drew’s team should certainly still be filled with hope and would love to make history with a win and get a share of the Big 12 regular-season title. Unfortunately, they no longer control their own fate. After falling to rival TCU on the road by three points last weekend.
The only chance the Bears have of hanging their first-ever conference title banner is by winning in Morgantown and hoping Texas Tech can host, and beat, the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks.
That game is set to start just an hour after this battle tips-off, at 2:00pm ET on ESPN.
With all that said, West Virginia should not go down without a fight. They have a huge opportunity to beat the nation’s No. 4 team, which would be a resume-boosting win and rocket them into the conference playoffs with possibilities to do more of the same.
A win would get them to 9-9 in the Big 12 regular season and could tie them at 2nd or 3rd in the Big 12 standings, depending on what else happens around the league on Saturday.
In the last meeting Jared Butler for Baylor had a game-high 21 points, but WVU’s Taz Sherman wasn’t far behind with 20 points of his own. So be on the lookout for them to repeat and have big games.
Although, points won’t come easy in this one once again, as has been the trend in the Big 12 all year.
A close game from start to finish, big-man Oscar Tshiebwe and the fans keep the Mountaineers in this one until the end. But Baylor’s depth and experience with all 4 of their guards will be too much to handle in the final minute.
Baylor will eagerly enter the visiting locker room to anxiously see if the Red Raiders can stun the nation and take down the current No. 1 team. Bold Prediction: The defending National Runner-ups build their own momentum heading into the playoffs take down the Jayhawks at home! Thus, giving Scott Drew’s team reason to celebrate all the way home, as they make program history.