No. 6 Baylor braces for up-and-coming TCU (Feb 11, 2017)
WACO, Texas -- Baylor coach Scott Drew began his Friday press conference by acknowledging that his Bears' schedule takes them "from one hot team to the next hot team" this week.
Sixth-ranked Baylor held off a charge against Oklahoma State on Wednesday, handing the Cowboys their first conference loss in five games.
On Saturday, TCU brings its three-game Big 12 winning streak into Baylor's Ferrell Center for a 1 p.m. CT tip.
The Horned Frogs (17-7, 6-5 Big 12) appear poised to land their first NCAA Tournament berth since 1998 as they're tied for fourth in a conference tha has been projected to send as many as seven teams to March Madness.
The one thing missing from TCU's resume to this point is a win over a Top 25 opponent. The Horned Frogs have only played three games versus ranked foes, all in the first half of Big 12 action, and lost all three.
Baylor (21-3, 8-3) thumped TCU 62-53 in January, handing the Horned Frogs their worst home loss so far this season.
Even so, it doesn't seem far-fetched that this TCU vs. Baylor game could add to the Big 12's already lengthy list of one-possession games. The conferences has seen 29 of 55 games so far this season that were within three points in the final minute.
That, more than anything, has been the Big 12's narrative.
"You go into it just thinking about the game plan and you execute it," Baylor guard King McClure said. "You hope it doesn't come down to one possession, you hope it can be greater than that. But it's just the reality that you just grind it out. It's a tough league to play in, so every game you have to bring forth your best effort or, like we did against West Virginia, you're going to get beat by (21)."
After Baylor's victory at TCU in January, Drew remarked when he came into the postgame press conference that he hoped the fans enjoyed the game, because it was such hard work for the players and coaches involved.
Perhaps the reason it was taxing for Drew is his team struggled to deal with TCU forward Vladimir Brodziansky, who had 19 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks that night.
"(Brodziansky has) had monster games and a lot of NBA scouts are looking at him for a reason," Drew said.
Baylor has a great counter to Brodziansky, though, as Bears forward Johnathan Motley averages 16.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. He's on the short list for Big 12 Player of the Year as well as several national awards.
One factor that has to concern Baylor fans, however, is that guard Al Freeman likely won't play against TCU. Freeman was suspended for Wednesday's game at Oklahoma State for violating team policy. Drew said the issue is being evaluated day to day.
Baylor got along all right at Oklahoma State without Freeman, who is averaging 9.5 points and is second on the team in 3-pointers made. McClure got the start, went 2 of 4 from beyond the arc and scored 10 points.