Baylor hopes to break pattern after Sweet 16 again (Yahoo Sports)

Baylor has gotten into quite a pattern over the past few seasons, with deep NCAA tournament runs every other year.

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Heart issue derails Baylor ex’s unlikely NBA bid

Heart condition derails Baylor-ex Isaiah Austin’s bid to play in NBA despite partial blindness

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Heart issue derails Baylor ex’s unlikely NBA bid (Yahoo Sports)

Baylor's Isaiah Austin adjusts his glasses during the first half of a second-round game against Nebraska in the NCAA college basketball tournament Friday, March 21, 2014, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Isaiah Austin’s attempt to play in the NBA despite his partial blindness has ended because of a rare genetic disorder that affects his heart. The former Baylor center, who left school early to enter this week’s NBA draft, has been diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, which affects the body’s connective tissue. Baylor made the announcement Sunday. According to the Mayo Clinic, complications from Marfan syndrome can weaken the aorta, the artery that supplies blood from the heart to the rest of the body.


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Baylor routs Creighton, ends Doug McDermott’s career

The likely national player of the year scores 15 points in his final college game.

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Baylor shuts down McDermott and Creighton, 85-55 (Yahoo Sports)

Baylor forward Cory Jefferson shoots over Creighton forward Doug McDermott during the first half of a third-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 23, 2014, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Isaiah Austin and Brady Heslip each scored 17 points and Baylor shut down Creighton’s Doug McDermott with suffocating defense, ending the career of one of college basketball’s most prolific scorers with an 85-55 win Sunday night in the NCAA tournament West Regional. Baylor’s size and speed overwhelmed the third-seeded Bluejays (27-8) and their national scoring leader, earning a third trip to the Sweet 16 since 2010. McDermott, who averaged 27 points this season, finished with 15 but had just three in the first half as Baylor built a 20-point lead. McDermott ranks fifth on the NCAA career scoring list.


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Baylor vs. Nebraska: Live Score, Highlights and Reaction for Round of 64

The No. 6 seed Baylor Bears meet the No. 11 seed Nebraska Cornhuskers in Friday’s first game of West Region play in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

Both teams had to scramble just to qualify. After reaching the Elite Eight in 2012, Baylor missed out in 2013, then had to win 10 of 11 on its way through the Big 12 tournament to earn a spot at this year’s show. Nebraska secured an at-large berth, making its first March Madness appearance since 1998.

Coach Tim Miles has been named the Big Ten coach of the year in just his second season with the team, putting together a 10-3 record in their last 13 games to earn their place at the table. The Cornhuskers have never won a tournament appearance in six previous tries.

Since both teams have gotten hot at just the right time, it should be an interesting matchup. Bleacher Report’s experts give the edge to the big bodies of Baylor.

Play gets underway at 12:40 p.m. ET. Join us here for all the action, starting at 12:25. 

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No. 6 Baylor vs. No. 11 Nebraska: March Madness Preview

The quest for the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship has officially arrived!

In the second round, its the Baylor Bears with the No. 6 seed facing off against the Nebraska Cornhuskers with the No. 11 seed.

The Bears went 24-11 overall thanks mostly to senior forward Cory Jefferson’s 13.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. 

On the other side of the court, Nebraska posted a 19-12 record; the production from junior Terran Petteway (18.1 PPG and 4.9 RBG) is a big part of their entrance to the tourney.

See who our experts think will win and how far they’ll go!

Who do you think will win? Let us know in the comments below!

Bleacher Report will have around-the-clock coverage of the tournament as March Madness celebrates its 76th year of competition!

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Baylor vs. Iowa State: Live Score and Analysis for Big 12 Championship 2014

No. 4 ISU 74, No. 7 Baylor 65 (Final)

Iowa State didn’t get solid contributions from just one player–no, it got great efforts from just about everyone during its Big 12 Tournament title win over Baylor. 

Five players scored in double figures, despite a 0-for-13 start from the field. 

The Bears jumped out to an 11-1 lead in the opening minutes and continuously pestered Cyclones shooters. 

“They were playing hard, but we knew we could take it up another gear,” Melvin Ejim said during a televised post-game interview with ESPN. The senior scored 10 points and had nine rebounds. 

Georges Niang had two key free throws and a late bucket that topped his 13-point, nine-rebound night. 

Kenny Chery led the Bears with 16 points. Brady Heslip had 14. 

Baylor has never won the Big 12 tourney. Neither has a team from Texas. Iowa State won it in 2000. 

 

Follow Bleacher Report’s Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.

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No. 16 Iowa State beats Baylor 74-65 to win Big 12 (Yahoo Sports)

Iowa State's Georges Niang, right, passes around Baylor's Isaiah Austin during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big 12 men's tournament final, Saturday, March 15, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

In the days after DeAndre Kane decided to transfer to Iowa State, the former Marshall guard sent a simple, five-word text message to new teammate Georges Niang. Niang had 13 points, and together they helped the No. 16 Cyclones rally for a 74-65 victory over Baylor and their first Big 12 tournament title since 2000. ”Even when we get down,” he tournament’s most valuable player said, ”we trust one another. We keep fighting and we find a way.” The Cyclones were buoyed by a group of supporters dressed in red, eager to see whether coach Fred Hoiberg – who has already restored Hilton Magic – could start bringing home trophies, too.


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Baylor vs. Iowa State : Grades and Recap for Big 12 Championship 2014

Holy Marcus Fizer.

The No. 16 Iowa State Cyclones are Big 12 tournament champions for the first time since 2000, following a 74-65 win over the Baylor Bears in Kansas City on Saturday night, per Iowa State Athletics:

This win is also huge for head coach Fred Hoiberg, who’s really come full circle at the school, per Sports Illustrated‘s Seth Davis:

Oh, and he’s also $100,000 richer, per Steve Berkowitz of USA Today:

There was also an emotional connection with the win for Hoiberg, per The Associated Press (via USA Today):

When the final buzzer sounded inside Sprint Center, Hoiberg rounded the court with his finger raised — No. 1, as in the top of the Big 12, for only the second time in school history.

“The fist pump was such an emotional feeling for me,” said Hoiberg, who dedicated the win to his beloved mentor, Johnny Orr, the former Cyclones coach who died in December.

“This one is for him,” Hoiberg said. “The fist pump was in honor of Coach, and also to thank the fans as well. I just wanted them to know how much we appreciated what they brought.”

Hoiberg also saluted his former coach on Twitter:

Coming into this game, you were expecting something resembling an Old West shootout. Both teams had some of the more efficient offenses in the country. Baylor ranked sixth in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted offense, while Iowa State was a little further down at No. 17.

In short, the Cyclones and Bears knew how to score and score efficiently.

So of course defense won the day in the Big 12 final.

Iowa State and Baylor split the regular-season series, and the gulf between the two rapidly closed as the Bears continued their late-season resurgence into the Big 12 tournament.

Baylor enjoyed a healthy first-half lead after getting up 11-1 in the first seven minutes. The Bears’ lead eventually shrunk to two points, 29-27, but three free throws from Kenny Chery would put Baylor up 32-27 going into halftime.

Jake Shaw of SicEmSports.com brought up what was a worrying sign for Baylor. Iowa State shot the ball terribly in the first half, but the Bears weren’t much better. Sooner or later, you’d expect some regression to the mean from the Cyclones:

Into the second half, Iowa State kept hanging around, but it couldn’t find the breakthrough. That is, until Naz Long tied the game at 50 with 6:33 to play. Then Melvin Ejim hit a three-pointer to put the Cyclones up 53-50.

The teams would exchange the lead four more times before Iowa State went back on top for good.

The trio of Ejim, DeAndre Kane and Georges Niang combined to score only 40 points, down from the 64 they contributed in the semifinal win over Kansas. Ejim in particular struggled against the Baylor defense, shooting only 3-of-8 from the floor. Niang also had a lot of problems, going 5-of-15.

The AP brings Kane’s thoughts on his Cyclones team (via ESPN):

“We play with each other. We fight with each other. We’re brothers on the court,” said Kane, who was dismissed from Marshall for unspecified reasons, but has made the most of his second chance with the Cyclones.

“Even when we get down,” he tournament’s most valuable player said, “we trust one another. We keep fighting and we find a way.”

Luckily for the Cyclones, Naz Long and Dustin Hogue scored 12 points apiece on a combined 8-of-13 shooting.

After shooting 32 percent from the field in the first half, Iowa State got hot in the second, ending at 50 percent for the game. Look at this ridiculous stat below, courtesy of College Basketball Talk’s Rob Dauster:

Iowa State also buckled down on the defensive end, and did a great job of limiting Cory Jefferson to outside shots, per ESPN.com’s Myron Medcalf:

Coming into the game, Jefferson was the Bears’ leading scorer, but he finished with five points on 2-of-9 shooting.

Isaiah Austin was similarly bad, missing 11 of his 15 attempts, putting a damper on his 10 points.

As a result, Baylor will have to wait another year to get that elusive first Big 12 tournament title.

 

Key Player Grades

Melvin Ejim, Iowa State: B

Until the final six or so minutes of the game, Melvin Ejim was largely absent on the offensive end. Then the three-pointer he hit to give Iowa State the lead changed everything. His confidence seemed to grow, and that bucket sparked the run that would see the Cyclones through to victory.

What can’t be overlooked, though, is how well Ejim played defensively. He didn’t let his shooting woes affect his play on defense, and that has to be commended.

 

Naz Long, Iowa State: B+

For the third time in four games, Naz Long scored in double figures.

The sophomore guard made four of his six shots, all of which came from behind the arc.

You can expect that teams are going to harass Ejim, Georges Niang and DeAndre Kane all game, so Iowa State needs players like Long to step up in critical scenarios, and that’s exactly what he did.

 

Cory Jefferson, Baylor: C-

Cory Jefferson’s poor performance was not only a big reason Baylor lost this game, it also likely cost him a place on the Big-12 tournament team:

You never would’ve guessed that Jefferson would have more rebounds (9) than he would have points (5). This game was very similar to the Bears’ regular-season loss to Iowa State, when Jefferson scored only seven points.

 

What’s Next?

Baylor can at least count on being in the NCAA tournament despite this loss. Winning the Big 12 tournament simply would’ve helped their seed. The Bears could’ve jumped up to a No. 5 seed, but now they’ll likely drop to a No. 6 or No. 7 seed.

Iowa State should be a No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the Big Dance and could possibly move up to a No. 2. Cyclones fans might want to avoid that, though, as the last time the team was a No. 2 seed (2001), it lost to No. 15 Hampton in the first round.

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