Baylor Opens Open Big 12 Tournament against Texas

The 2016 Big 12 basketball tournament kicks off Wednesday, but the Baylor Bears don't being their championship journey until Thursday, when they face off against the Texas Longhorns.

The Baylor Bears begin their postseason run Thursday at 11:30 against fellow Top-25 team Texas in a Big 12 Quarterfinal matchup.  Baylor (21-10, 10-8) is seeded 5th, while Texas (20-11, 11-7) is the 4th seed. Their even year runs of success in the postseason is not just limited to the NCAA, as the Big 12 tournament has been kind to the Bears in recent years, with trips to the finals in 2012 and 2014.

The Bears are also firmly in the Field of 68, as they are well outside of the soft bubble this year.  A winning record in BIg 12 play, the toughest conference this year, assured the Bears of that.  What is left to answer is their seeding. Currently, most brackets have them as a 6-seed. However, a loss to Texas could shuffle them down a line to a 7th seed. A victory probably won't due much, other than put them in position for a possible win over top-ranked Kansas.  

Either way, the postseason magic starts today in Kansas City.  

Three Keys to a Long Big 12 Run

  1. Use their Road Focus - One great thing working in the Bears favor for a long run in the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments is their success away from home. Baylor was 6-3 in Big 12 play on the road, an incredible mark for any team, and the best in the Big 12 this year.  Baylor has played with an edge and focus away from Waco that has given them a huge boost in performance.  With victories over ranked teams like Texas and Iowa State on the road, the Bears are confident they can go to any neutral court and come away with a victory. 
  2. Hit those Open Shots - When the Bears lose, it is usually because they missed too many shots, and that had a negative effect on their defensive effort.  The Bears are not a great defensive team, nor even a good one at times.  However, they do play with much better intensity and purpose when the shots are falling.  Baylor has to shoot well, and more than likely, they will.  This is a top-10 offense in terms of effeciency, carried by a bruising attack on the offensive glass and a very good attack from behind the 3-point arc.  
  3. Get Into Transition  - There are really two things the Bears are great at on defense, and that is getting steals and avoiding offensive rebounds. Baylor is 13th in the nation in steal percentage, led by senior point guard Lester Medford.  They are also very good on the glass, with Rico Gathers and JOnathan Motley both being very good defensive rebounders.  Either of those situation can lead to fast break points for the Baylor offense.  When they can get the ball going the other way off of a turnover or long defensive rebound, that fuels their transition games and lets their athletes run the open floor.  

Dates to Remember

Quarterfinal match-up: Texas (20-11, 11-7) at 11:30 a.m. Thursday on ESPN2

Potential semifinal match-up: Kansas or Kansas State/Oklahoma State at 6 p.m. Friday on ESPN2

Big 12 tournament championship game: 5 p.m. Saturday on ESPN

The Big 12 Tournament Bracket

Wednesday, March 9

G1 #8 Kansas State vs #9 Oklahoma State 6:00 p.m. Watch Live
ESPNU Live Stats
G2 #7 Texas Tech vs #10 TCU 8:00 p.m. Watch Live
ESPNU Live Stats

Thursday, March 10

G3 #4 Texas vs #5 Baylor 11:30 a.m. Watch Live
ESPN2 Live Stats
G4 #1 Kansas vs G1 Winner 1:30 p.m. Watch Live
ESPN2 Live Stats
G5 #2 West Virginia vs G2 Winner 6:00 p.m. Watch Live
ESPNU Live Stats
G6 #3 Oklahoma vs #6 Iowa State 8:00 p.m. Watch Live
ESPNU Live Stats

Friday, March 11

G7 G3 Winner vs G4 Winner 6:00 p.m. Watch Live
ESPN2 Live Stats
G8 G5 Winner vs G6 Winner 8:00 p.m. Watch Live
ESPN2 Live Stats

Saturday, March 12

G9 G7 Winner vs G8 Winner 5:00 p.m. Watch Live
ESPN Live Stats

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