Baylor had their chance to knock off No. 8 Kansas on Tuesday night.
Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, the two superstars on the Kansas roster, did not score in the first half until Wiggins his a halfcourt shot at the buzzer. They finished a combined 5-for-19 from the floor. Wiggins had 14 points, seven boards, five assists, three steals and two blocks on the night, which is ridiculous when you consider that he played pretty poorly outside of a seven or eight minute stretch in the second half.
Embiid? He had five points, four fouls and three turnovers.
In other words, the Jayhawks were primed for an upset, and Baylor could do nothing about it, shooting 29.1% from the floor in a 69-52 loss. Take away Brady Heslip’s 4-for-5 start from three in the first 10 minutes, and Baylor shot 12-for-50 from the field.
That ain’t good.
And it puts them in an even bigger hole when it comes to the NCAA tournament.
Baylor is 14-8 on the season and 2-7 in league play. But they beat Colorado and Kentucky in non-conference play and the Big 12 has enough good teams that the Bears are still going to have plenty of chances to land the wins they need to win to go dancing. I’m just not convinced that they can get there, not when their zone is about as effective as using a coffee filter as a coffee mug and half of the roster has apparently already checked out.
As far as Kansas is concerned, this game was just another example of the growth of Naadir Tharpe. He had 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting and handed out four assists with just two turnovers, hitting a number of big shots in the process. He’s come up huge in a lot of big games this season, and it’s certainly a comforting sign for Bill Self that he can count on Tharpe to play like this on the nights that his best players are off.