Kansas St.-Baylor Preview
Baylor bounced back after consecutive losses to Big 12 rivals in
its most recent contest.
Kansas State could use a high-profile victory to bolster its
NCAA tournament resume while avenging an earlier defeat.
The ninth-ranked Bears seek a regular-season sweep over the
Wildcats when the teams meet Saturday in Waco, Texas.
Baylor (22-4, 9-4) suffered its second string of back-to-back
losses to conference co-leaders Kansas and Missouri recently, but
it recovered with a 79-64 victory over Iowa State on Monday.
The Bears shot 60.0 percent and got a game-high 18 points from
Perry Jones III, who went 3 for 20 with nine points in the losses
to the Jayhawks on Feb. 8 and Tigers last Saturday.
“The coaching staff and my teammates kept me confident even
though my shot didn’t fall the past week or so,” Jones said. “They
still kept me shooting the ball. It’ll go in. It’s just not going
in right now. At first, I was sort of down because I felt like I
wasn’t making nothing and hurting my team, but they kept me in the
Freshman Quincy Miller added 16 points.
“We definitely needed to bounce back,” Miller said. “Our
confidence was still up, but those were very hard blows.”
Kansas State hasn’t seemed to recover since its 75-73 loss to
Baylor on Jan. 10.
The Wildcats (17-8, 6-7) entered that matchup 12-2 and ranked
18th, but Rodney McGruder’s game-high 30 points weren’t enough to
guide them to another victory.
It marked the first of six losses over their next 11 games, and
they’re coming off a 59-53 home defeat to Kansas on Monday.
Coach Frank Martin’s squad sits in sixth place in the Big 12 and
has to face No. 3 Missouri in its next contest Tuesday. He said
Kansas State has a tough task ahead.
“It is not fun. But you are encouraged when a young man
continues to show fight and shows up the next day eager to get
better,” Martin said. “You will be with those guys at the end.”
Martin believes the conference is good enough that more than
half of the 10 teams should get NCAA tournament bids.
“… I said that if this league does not get six teams in, it is
a crying shame,” Martin said. “I do not waiver on that. I am not
saying six now because we are in sixth place. Two weeks ago when we
were in fourth place, I said six teams because that was my opinion
and that has not changed.”
McGruder said the Wildcats control their own destiny and remain
positive heading into Saturday’s matchup.
“You have to be confident because when you lose confidence, what
are you playing for? If you have lost confidence to go to the NCAA
tournament, then why would we be going to Baylor this weekend?,”
McGruder said. “You still have to have confidence within yourself
because if you do not, the rest of this season does not even
Kansas State won the most recent meeting in Waco 76-74 on Jan.
26, 2010, as McGruder scored 10 points off the bench.
Baylor lost the previous three meetings prior to last month’s