While much of Scott Drew’s March success is focused on what he has been able to accomplish in the NCAA Tournament, what cannot be overlooked is the achievement of Baylor Basketball in the Big 12 Tournament. Selection Sunday is just around the corner, but the Bears’ first mission is to finally capture that elusive conference tournament championship.
2007 Big 12 Tournament
The Bears finished the conference season with a paltry 4-12 record, earning the No. 11 seed in the 2007 Big 12 Tournament. Still played in Oklahoma City at the time, Baylor opened against the heavily favored No. 6 Missouri. Behind a career-high 31 points from Curtis Jerrells and another 25 by Henry Dugat, Scott Drew and company put the Big 12 on notice for what was to come with a 97-83 victory over the Tigers. While it was the only win in the 2007 tournament for Baylor, the victory marked the program’s first conference tournament victory since its major upset of No. 1 Iowa State in 2001.
2009 Big 12 Tournament
After coming off of a disappointing double overtime loss to Colorado in the 2008 conference tournament, the No. 9 seeded Bears looked to rebound against No. 8 Nebraska. In the opening game of the Big 12 Championship Tourney, Scott Drew earned his revenge against the Cornhuskers, which beat the Bears in the regular season finale, destroying Nebraska 65-49. The next round saw a matchup with top-seeded Kansas, but the Jayhawks could not outlast Baylor, dropping the second round 71-64. For its third straight day of play, the Bears met fifth-seeded Texas, posting a 76-70 victory over the Longhorns. The dream run to its first-ever Big 12 Championship game appearance came to an end, though, when Baylor fell to No. 3 Missouri 73-60. The loss did, however, propel the Bears to a strong NIT run, losing to Penn State in the championship game.
2010 Big 12 Tournament
While this season is known more for its miraculous Elite Eight run, this team’s first accomplishment came by earning Scott Drew his first ever Big 12 Tournament bye, finishing the season as the No. 3 seed in the conference. In the quarterfinals Baylor once again beat No. 6 Texas 86-67, but fell in the semis to No. 2 Kansas State.
2012 Big 12 Tournament
Similar to the 2010 season, 2012 is known more for another deep NCAA Tournament run and the introduction of the flashy neon uniforms. However, the March success started with the No. 4 Bears defeating No. 5 Kansas State 82-74, setting up a date with the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks. Baylor shocked the conference, keeping control of the entire contest and defeating the Jayhawks 81-72. A rematch of the 2009 Big 12 Championship game awaited the Bears, as No. 2 Missouri manhandled its opponents to earn its spot in the championship. In the end, however, the results mirrored 2009, with the Bears losing the Tigers 90-75, despite a strong second half surge to take back the game.
2014 Big 12 Tournament
It only took two seasons this time around for Scott Drew to fight his way back to the championship game, but this run was much more impressive than the last. After finishing the season with a lackluster conference record, owing in large part to a 2-8 start to conference season, the Bears faced an uphill climb as the seventh seed. After fending off No. 10 TCU in the opening round, few picked the Bears to upset No. 2 Oklahoma, but upset the Sooners they did with a 78-73 victory. That Friday saw yet another matchup with Texas, but the third seeded Longhorns had no answer for this upstart Baylor Basketball squad. With its third Big 12 Tournament championship game appearance in six years on deck, the Bears took control of the first half versus No. 4 Iowa State. Even so, Baylor could not hold on in the second half and dropped another championship 74-65, despite having the leading scorer and rebounder of the tournament Cory Jefferson (59 points, 43 rebounds).