Big 12 Men’s Basketball Preview: Baylor Bears

Baylor’s men’s basketball team might not have had as good of a season as their women’s team, but still did very well. They finished the season with an overall record of 30-8 and a Big 12 Conference record of 12-6.

Baylor started the season with a record of 17-0 before playing the Kansas Jayhawks. The Jayhawks defeated the Bears in that game. However, Baylor got their revenge in the Big 12 Conference Tournament as they defeated Kansas 81-72. Baylor lost to the Missouri Tigers in the conference championship.

Baylor also went on a decent run in the NCAA National Tournament last year. They made it all the way to the Elite Eight before losing to the Kentucky Wildcats. One of the players that helped Baylor in the NCAA Tournament was Brady Heslip.

Heslip is entering his junior year for the Baylor Bears and averaged 10.2 points per game for Baylor last year. In the NCAA Tournament during Colorado, Heslip hit nine out of twelve three pointers and scored 27 points as Baylor won by a score of 80-63.

March 10, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Baylor Bears forward Quincy Acy (4) is congratulated by guard Pierre Jackson (55) after scoring during the second half of the game against the Missouri Tigers in the finals of the 2012 Big 12 Tournament at the Sprint Center. Missouri won 90 – 75. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

One player that Baylor will need to do without this season is Perry Jones III. Last season, Jones averaged 13.5 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game, and 30.7 minutes per game. He left Baylor for the 2012 NBA Draft and was selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round.

Another player that the Bears will be without this year is Quincy Acy. Acy also left Baylor for the NBA Draft and was selected by the Toronto Raptors in the second round. Last season for Baylor, he averaged 12.0 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per games, and 1.8 blocks per game.

Despite losing two big players from last year, Baylor also has big players returning and one of them is Pierre Jackson. As a junior last year, Jackson averaged 13.8 points per game (led the team), 5.9 assists per game (led the team), and 1.8 steals per game (led the team). He will be the senior leader for the Bears without a doubt this season.

The biggest freshman for Baylor this season will be Isaiah Austin. While Austin was in high school, he averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds and 5 blocks on way to repeating as Fort Worth Star-Telegram Super Team Player of the Year. He participated in 2012 McDonald’s All-American Game, 2012 Adidas Nations, and 2012 Jordan Brand Classic.

In Baylor’s exhibition game against Abilene Christian, Austin scored 13 points, picked up 4 rebounds, and blocked one shot.

This season will most likely be Baylor’s most important season in recent history. This is because it is their chance to try to take the conference crown away from the Kansas Jayhawks. Kansas will be dealing with some personnel challenges this season as they will have eight freshman trying to find their place on the team.

If Baylor wants to make a name for themselves in the conference, this will need to be the year to do it. Will they pass Kansas for the Big 12 crown? Mostly likely not, but nobody knows for sure. Baylor will need to play their best basketball all season just in case Kansas has some kind of problems this season.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyWidmer.

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Check out my other writings on the Oregon Ducks blog, Autzen Zoo.

Topics: Basketball, Baylor Bears, Big 12, Isaish Austin, Pierre Jackson

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