KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Four observations from Baylor’s 76-68 victory over TCU in the first round of the Big 12 tournament:
Fast start, then fade
Out to a 15-3 lead before the 16-minute media timeout, Baylor threatened to make this the runaway everyone anticipated. (After all, the Bears captured the two previous meetings by 26 and 33 points.) But the margin remained only 12 at half despite the Bears owning a 23-9 edge in rebounding and outshooting the Frogs 51 percent to 37.
Sloppiness played a part as Baylor committed nine turnovers and expected the game to go too easily against a TCU squad that finished 0-18 in league play.
Somehow, the outmanned Frogs trimmed the deficit to 69-63 with 2:32 left, and the “Baylor’s gonna be Baylor” mumbles began circulating. But not even the bipolar Bears could figure out a way to lose a game to TCU.
“Our guys are happy with the win, but know that we have to play better,” said coach Scott Drew, whose team faces OKlahoma on Thursday. “We weren’t nearly as good as we’ve been nor need to be.”
As for whether the sluggish second half might wake up his team for the rest of the tournament, Drew replied: “I’ll let you know after tomorrow.”
Dunk you very much
Baylor pushed the ball inside to forward Cory Jefferson, who scored 20 points and made seven dunks among his eight baskets. His 16 shots were a career-high.
Fear no Frog
TCU became the poster team for depleted rosters and wound up as only the third power conference program since 2000 to go winless in its league.
“For the most part, all year long I think everybody understands the situation we’re involved in,” said TCU coach Trent Johnson. “I wish we could have broke through, but it is what it is.”
Baylor dressed to excess (nearly)
The “Sic ‘Em Bears” uniforms Baylor planned to unveil Wednesday didn’t meet NCAA specs after all, so the school shelved them. The rulebook restriction cited by the NCAA? Jerseys may only contain school names and mascots, not a school yell.
Too bad the NCAA didn’t exert its fashion authority to prevent last year’s Zubaz shorts from taking—and defiling—the floor.
It’s hard to fathom adidas investing development and resources into a design without first gaining NCAA clearance. Maybe the apparel-maker figured the day of denial would only mean more pictures, articles and tweets of the banned uniform.