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Hats Off to the Baylor Bears: The Most Underachieving Team In Recent Memory

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If last year on March 28th, the Baylor Bears could hit a free throw or manage to box out and grab a board against any one of the overachieving Duke frontcourt players, they could’ve very easily been National Champions. They couldn’t, and they weren’t. Things weren’t all bad for the Bears though. Yes, they were losing mighty-mite point guard Tweety Carter and one of their bigs, Ekpe Udoh, but they were returning their most talented player in LaceDarius Dunn and bringing in super-freshman Perry Jones. They were ranked in the preseason top 15, a foregone conclusion to be a top 5 seed, and many experts thought they were primed to make a deep run in March. Sometimes teams peak too early, but seldom do they peak in preseason the way that Baylor did. In seemingly the blink of an eye the Bears went from National Title contender to one of the most underachieving college basketball teams in recent memory.

Things started to turn in October when Dunn was arrested for aggravated assault and subsequently suspended. The charges were dropped and he was reinstated to the team, but things never felt right. The Bears started 7-0 carving up the worst non-conference schedule I’ve ever seen (Grambling, LaSalle, Jacksonville State, Lipscomb, Prairie View A&M, Arizona State, Bethune-Cookman) before dropping a close game to Gonzaga.

From there the wheels really fell off. The next week they dropped back to back games to Washington State and Florida State. Baylor, despite having Jones, a top-3 pick in the upcoming NBA draft along with the ultra-talented Dunn and Quincy Acy, seemingly forgot how to play basketball. Inexplicably they couldn’t score (152nd nationally), they refused to pass  (265th in assists), had no interest in rebounding (166th nationally), and played as collection of individuals rather than a team. They were essentially the Miami Heat of college basketball, finding a way to play far worse than their talent. Truth be told, at least the Heat aren’t a bad team, Baylor on the other hand, is pathetic.

After losing to Iowa State in January, then getting blown out at home by Kansas, the Bears seemed more interested in raising their draft stock instead of on-court team success. They finished the season by losing 5 out of 6, and 10 out of 16 overall. Prior to last night’s Big 12 tournament lidlifter Jones was suspended for accepting benefits… not that it would’ve mattered; they wouldn’t have won anyway and got drilled by a bad Oklahoma team.

In reality, I’m glad Baylor won’t be a part of March Madness. They would’ve been this year’s Georgetown or Villanova; I would’ve ended up picking them to go way too deep purely based on talent. That alleviates my worries, but not Baylor’s. Depending on how the NCAA reprimands them for the Perry Jones incident, they are teetering on the verge of reclaiming their throne as the doormat of the Big 12. While Gonzaga is an example of how to build and sustain a program, Baylor is a cautionary tale of what high expectations can do to a team not ready for them.

Discussion

7 Responses to “Hats Off to the Baylor Bears: The Most Underachieving Team In Recent Memory”

  1. You must be unfamiliar with the 2009-10 Texas Longhorns.

    Posted by Jason | March 10, 2011, 2:32 pm
    • Your memory must be short.
      I clearly remember the 09-10 Longhorns being #1 before everything fell apart for them.

      Posted by Dumbass | March 10, 2011, 3:10 pm
    • Agreed, but at least Texas made it to the dance and had their 1st round game won before blowing those two free throws. A perfect setup and failure was the unofficial motto for Texas basketball last year.

      Posted by Jason Marlo | March 10, 2011, 3:14 pm
  2. How can anyone forget the University of Texas football team? From national championship contender to not even a bowl game? That is the most underachieving team in recent memory. Huge state school with unlimited resources can’t beat Baylor? At home???

    Posted by marco | March 10, 2011, 4:01 pm
  3. Baylor was a bogus charge call away from being in the final four. And the year previous, can anyone who saw it ever forget the generosity of the officials toward Penn State in the NIT Championship game?

    There is an obvious bias in the system that is perpetuated in the media by jokers like Jason Marlow.

    Posted by Baylor Bear | March 10, 2011, 5:42 pm
  4. A team pre-ranked in the Top 15, not getting hit by a slew of injurries, losing to major conference teams (went 2-4 against top 4 teams), getting bounced in the first round of their conference tourney by a team with a conference record of 5-11….To say the team under-achieved, after being a Final Four team a season ago, is an understatement.

    Also, consider many casual fans were pulling for Baylor to be relevant (like THIS GUY) because they were a fresh program, making noise in a major conference where they were always considered bottom feeders….MAJOR DISSAPOINTMENT.

    Posted by Bobby Digital | March 11, 2011, 10:13 am
  5. Baylor goes from a nothing bball program to suddenly getting top 10 talent yearly. Hmm.

    There’s a reason they have no chemistry. THey’re getting the NBA-first players with issues, giving them (illegal) incentives and selling them on the NBA. How do you form a team with that kind of make-up? Good riddance. F’ing cheating filthy program filled with bottome feeders who think they’re future superstars.

    Posted by Guy | March 22, 2011, 7:13 pm

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