Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports

Baylor tops the AP Poll for the first time in program history

The Baylor Bears are ranked at the top of the AP Poll, a program first for Baylor and another milestone for Scott Drew.

The Baylor Bears are ranked at the top of the polls for the first time in school history.  Baylor, 15-0 and just one of two undefeated teams, received 55 first place votes.  Jumping up from the 2nd spot last week after Villanova fell on the road to Butler last week.  The Bears are the fastest team to go from unranked to the top of the polls in history.

It is another program first for Baylor basketball under Scott Drew, hired in 2003 to rebuild a team torn apart by scandal.  All Drew has done in his 14 years is turn the Bears into a tournament mainstay, bringing two Elite-Eight appearances and a Sweet Sixteen appearance to Waco.

Now he gets to add another first.  The Bears have never seen this type of success on the hardcourt, at least with the men.  Kim Mulkey and the Lady Bears have made the top of the Big 12 standings and national polls their home the past decade.  With two national championships and 6-straight Big 12 titles, the Lady Bears are the elite team in the Big 12. 

The men's climb under Drew has been substantially more difficult.  With blueblood Kansas reigning over the Big 12, room at the top of the conference has been impossible to make.  The Jayhawks are ranked 2nd in the nation, looking up at a Baylor program for the first time, well, ever.  

This is not the end of the journey, or even the goal.  Being ranked #1 in the nation during the regular season is a random footnote in the history books.  However, it is an important and critical step to achieve if the goal is a true marquee program. It is another item to cross off the "will never happen at Baylor" list, similar to winning in football, winning a Heisman trophy, and dancing on campus. 

With 15 Big 12 regular season games left, and a random non-conference game against Ole Miss in late January, the Bears still have a long road ahead of them, starting with two tough road tests at 10th ranked West Virginia on Tuesday night and 25th ranked Kansas State on Saturday.

Bears Illustrated Top Stories