2011 NCAA Basketball Previews: #5 – Baylor Bears
Baylor Bears Gambling Odds to Win NCAA Championship from Bookmaker: +1,500
Baylor Bears Gambling Odds to Win Big 12 Conference Regular Season from 5Dimes: +160
It won’t be long before gyms around the country are filling up for college basketball action once again. Most teams start their regular season around November 10. Over the next few days I will be taking a look at my top five teams in the nation. We’ll start out with my number five team, the Baylor Bears.
Last Year’s Results (18-13, 7-9 in Big 12)
The team went 28-8 and nearly advanced to the Final Four in the 2009-2010 season, but the 2010-2011 season was a real disaster. The Bears started out 7-0 against a ridiculously easy non-conference schedule, but they faltered down the stretch. Baylor lost five of its last six games, including a first round upset at the hands of Oklahoma in the Big 12 Tournament.
LaceDarius Dunn is the only major player that Baylor will lose heading into this season. Dunn was one of the more talented shooting guards in the country during his time with the Bears, but many believe he contributed to the team’s problems by shooting too often last year. Dunn took 33% of the team’s shots. He shot only 39.8% from the floor last year.
Quincy Miller was consistently ranked as one of the top two power forwards in high school basketball last year. Miller will be a factor right away for the Bears. Baylor is already extremely talented in the frontcourt, and adding Miller’s talents should make this one of the most athletic frontcourts in basketball. Pierre Jackson is a talented junior college transfer who will see a lot of minutes at the point guard spot.
As I mentioned above, there really aren’t many teams at all that will be able to match Baylor in the frontcourt. This isn’t a group that is going to overpower you down low, but they are long and super talented. Perry Jones was a star in his freshman year, and I expect even bigger things out of him this year. Quincy Acy and Quincy Miller will both be major contributors in the frontcourt as well, and J’Mison Morgan is a solid big man too.
Baylor’s biggest question mark comes at the point guard spot. A.J. Walton shows flashes of brilliance, but he also turns it over too much. Jackson should be a solid point guard, but will he be spectacular? The team also needs to find a consistent three-point shooter to help release some of the pressure off the interior players.
Baylor Bears 2011-2012 Schedule
The majority of the non-conference schedule is pretty easy, but there are a few tough opponents thrown in there. Baylor will take on BYU, San Diego State, St. Mary’s, and West Virginia during their non-conference portion of the schedule. The team’s January 16th trip to Fogg Allen Fieldhouse in Kansas will tell us a lot about how far they might be able to go this year.
Baylor Bears 2011-2012 Prediction: (#2 Seed in NCAA Tournament, Final Four Appearance)
The Bears will need to work out the kinks and figure out who they can trust in the backcourt, but their ultra-talented frontcourt should take them a long way this year. They have the most talented team in the Big 12, and the sky is the limit for this team. Look for Jones and Miller to be a tremendous combo down low. This should be a special year for Baylor.
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