A day and a half after Oklahoma State left Waco following the 61-57 loss to Baylor on Jan. 7, the Bears were promoted to the top spot in the polls. We've already seen how things can turn in the Big 12 as Oklahoma State avenged a huge 17-point conference opening loss at home to West Virginia by coming back last Saturday and beating the seventh-ranked Mountaineers on their home floor 82-75.
Well, a little like that as Baylor visits Stillwater on Wednesday night as the Bears are trying to overcome back-to-back losses. Before anybody starts thinking the Bears are ripe for the upset they are still ranked sixth and eighth in the polls and are 20-3 on the season and 7-3 in the Big 12.
This will be the first time the Cowboys have faced back-to-back top-10 teams since the 2004 NCAA Tournament.
The Cowboys are hoping for help as the 6 p.m. tip in Gallagher-Iba Arena will be televised on ESPNU, but head coach Brad Underwood said they would appreciate the rowdiest of residents to be at home for the Baylor battle.
The Cowboys have been close to hitting on all cylinders and are getting contributions from up and down the roster and the bench. This past week as the five-game winning streak continued with road wins at Oklahoma and as mentioned West Virginia, starters Phil Forte and Juwan Evans have been that celebrated back court everybody was hoping for.
Forte has been clutch on the 3-point shooting and also has been rebounding as well as a 5-11 guard could ever be expected to. Evans has scored when needed and assisted when needed.
Jeffrey Carroll continues to excel on offense and defense as he went from having the defining defensive stop in Norman to scoring the first 13 points at West Virginia. Mitchell Solomon has been clutch with rebounds, defense, and key passes. Davon Dillard has been explosive off the bench. Lindy Waters was perfect last week on threes and earned the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week. Brandon Averette and Cameron McGriff came up big in reserve at West Virginia.
Baylor comes to Stillwater with a No. 6 ranking in the AP poll. All-time, OSU has 48 wins over top-10 teams, including 29 victories against teams ranked sixth or better in the AP poll.
Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. is one of the nation's top shot blockers. The 7-footer from Melbourne, Australia is averaging 2.7 blocks per game, which leads the Big 12 and ranks 13th nationally. His rim-protecting accolades and Baylor's length in their patented zone defense have helped the Bears hold opponents to 61.4 points per game, which ranks seventh nationally.
Baylor head coach Scott Drew has secured a sixth consecutive 20-win season with the Bears. Drew and the Bears have taken down 16 ranked opponents over the last three seasons. Since his arrival in Waco, OSU is 15-13 against Drew, although Baylor has taken the last three meetings. The Pokes hope to change that tomorrow night.