Pierre Jackson, Isaiah Austin

Fitting end to a disappointing season for the Baylor Bears

Leave a comment

With the Bears down 74-72 and just a couple of seconds left on the clock, Pierre Jackson managed to get a decent look at a three point shot at the buzzer which, if he had made it, would have kept Baylor’s hopes of a longshot at-large bid alive.

But he missed.

So Baylor’s season will end with a trip to the NIT.

Except it’s just not that simple.

Thursday night was a perfect example of the frustrating conundrum that is this Baylor basketball team. The Bears dug themselves a 20 point hole in the first half. They looked, frankly, pathetic. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that opted to turn my attention elsewhere, until Pierre Jackson led a furious second half rally that resulted in Gary Franklin tying the game at 72 with 19.1 seconds left on a four-point play. It was a reminder: “Hey, we may not be headed to the NCAA tournament, but you see all this talent? It wasn’t a fluke we beat Kansas by 23.”

On the ensuing possession, however, Phil Forte drove and was “fouled” — it was as phantom of a foul as you’ll see — hitting both free throws to set up Jackson’s near-miss at the buzzer.

Baylor has as much talent on their roster as any team in the country. Jackson as dangerous as any playmaker with the ball in his hands. Cory Jefferson and Isaiah Austin comprise one of the nation’s biggest and most athletic frontlines, and that’s before you factor in Rico Gathers. With Brady Heslip and AJ Walton spreading the floor, there really is no reason that the Bears should be headed to the NIT.

Except for the fact that they just couldn’t muster the kind of effort that they needed on a consistent basis.

They lost to Charleston and Northwestern this season. They lost eight of their last 11 regular season games. And they closed out the regular season with a 23 point win over Kansas.

They dug themselves a 20 point hole in the Big 12 tournament and came within a phantom foul and a missed three of advancing.

It makes you wonder: how good would they be if they played well all the time?

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Big South moving 2016 conference tournament

Cliff Ellis
AP Photo
Leave a comment

The Big South is moving its 2016 men’s basketball tournament out of Coastal Carolina and a new site will be figured out by November. According to a release from the conference the Big South is using a league bylaw that stipulates that members leaving with less than two years of notice are not eligible to host championships. Coastal Carolina announced this summer that it would be leaving for the Sun Belt as of July 2016, so the Big South wants to find a new location that benefits teams staying in the league.

The Big South men’s and women’s conference tournaments are now also going to be split into two unique events, with the men’s championships being held Thursday-Sunday, March 3-6. The women’s event comes the next week from March 10-13. Bids for both events will come into the league and a new location will be selected in the next few months.

It will be interesting to see if the site of the conference tournament is moved to a campus site or placed at a neutral venue. That type of thing could alter how the NCAA tournament autobid gets played out. With Coastal Carolina coming off of back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, this obviously changes their approach to the postseason now that they have to leave their city.

Virginia Tech could redshirt sophomore guard

AP Photo
Leave a comment

Virginia Tech is trying to decide what to do with injury sophomore guard Ahmed Hill, who had surgery this summer to deal with a tear in his patella tendon in his left knee.

The 6-foot-5 Hill has still not been released to work out with the team, but he is about a week to 10 days ahead of schedule in his rehab. But the injury is still nagging enough that Hill might not be healthy enough to really contritbute this season. Head coach Buzz Williams is deciding soon whether he wants to redshirt Hill or not.

Hill started a team-high 30 games for the Hokies last season, averaging 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

“I don’t have a decision on (Hill),” Williams said to reporters on Monday. “I will make the final decision. I’ll let (him) and his mom be a part of it, but I want to make a decision using the wisdom of doing this for a long period of time. If you let a kid make the decision, they always want to play.

“Right now, I don’t feel comfortable that I would want to play him. It’s just too early to be able to have much more of an answer than that.”

It’s still a rebuilding year for Virginia Tech, but they do get Maryland transfer Seth Allen, who is a talented guard who can score. The Hokies were hoping to have Hill and Allen as complimentary perimeter scorers, but now the plans might have to be altered. Williams went on to say that he would like to make a decision on Hill’s status by Halloween.