The No. 10 Mountaineers locked up the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 tournament, which gives them a big leg up in Kansas City next week with a 69-58 win at No. 19 Baylor.
West Virginia used a balanced offensive effort as its defense forced 16 Baylor turnovers that led to a lot of easy baskets. Jaysean Paige led West Virginia with 14 points while Tarick Phillip scored 11 points. Freshman Esa Ahmad had some positive moments off the bench for eight points, including a big dunk.
With four straight wins entering the postseason, West Virginia has put itself in great position for a good NCAA tournament seed and a potentially deep run in both the Big 12 and NCAA tournament.
Baylor potentially drops to a No. 6 seed with the loss, which makes for a tough first-round game in the Big 12 tournament. Dropping two straight games, we’re back in that phase with Baylor where we’re asking ourselves which team we’re going to see.
Some nights, Baylor looks awesome and they get great play from their inconsistent backcourt and Jonathan Motley is scoring at a good clip. Then other games, the Bears just look out of it like they did on Saturday. Here’s the thing about this Baylor team: they beat who they’re supposed to beat, but they’ve been incredibly inconsistent against elite competition. All of Baylor’s 10 losses this season have come against teams ranked inside the top 26 of the RPI; they’re 4-10 against top 26 foes. (I say top 26 because the Bears split with Texas Tech, who is 26th in the RPI.)
Taurean Waller-Prince had a solid game for Baylor with 19 points and 10 rebounds but Rico Gathers (five points, five rebounds) once again struggled before fouling out and Lester Medford and Jonathan Mötley were mostly non-factors.
If Baylor is to make a run with either multiple wins in Kansas City or the NCAA tournament then multiple pieces have to step up around Prince.