It took 19 games for Baylor to finally get into the loss column, but on Saturday – against the schedule that had held a stranglehold on the Big 12 for the past two decades – the Bears, ranked No.2 in the Ferris Mowers Coaches Poll finally succumbed to defeat.
It was 19th-ranked Kansas, a program that had won 16 of the last 17 Big 12 regular-season titles, that withstood a late push to defeat Baylor, 71-58. No.1 Gonzaga is now the only undefeated team in the country.
The Bears (18-1, 10-1) have been impressive in their winning streak throughout 2020-21, playing in the third-best conference in the country according to the NCAA’s NET metric.
David McCormack paced Kansas with 20 points. Kansas managed to win despite 14 turnovers (against three from Baylor) and a 3-for-16 (19%) three-point shot. Baylor’s top scorer, Jared Butler, finished just 2 for 9 off the floor with five points.
The loss won’t stop Baylor’s NCAA tournament hopes as the Bears are set to be stranded as the No.1 seed on Selection Sunday given all of their work which includes the nation’s second-best NET score and six Quadrant 1s (top-25 home wins, top 75).
The victory will certainly bolster the Kansas tournament qualifiers. It’s been a sluggish year for coach Bill Self’s squad. The Jayhawks haven’t gone without a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament since 2000. With the win and other teams stumbling, KU could be in the mix for a No.3 seed on the 14th. March – a feat that seemed impossible at the start of the month when KU lost five of seven.
Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson