After earning the first NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed in program history, the Baylor men proved worthy of that seeding with three double-digit wins to reach the Elite Eight. On Monday, victory came by only nine points, but the Bears advanced to the Final Four for the first time in 71 years.
In one week, they hope to be celebrating the program’s first-ever national championship. To get to the title game, Baylor (26-2) will need to take out Houston, the No. 2 seed from the Midwest Region, on Saturday.
Baylor eliminated Arkansas, 81-72, on Monday night after leading the entire way. The Bears jumped to a 15-3 lead, led by six at halftime, and held on late after Arkansas cut the deficit to four with 7:34 left to play.
Senior MaCio Teague led the scoring for Baylor, with 22 points and three 3-pointers. Two of those threes came as Arkansas threatened with under five minutes to go:
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 30, 2021
After the game, Teague was asked during his press conference if the Bears were appreciating their tournament run more this year because last year’s tournament — when Baylor likely also would have a No. 1 seed — was canceled due to the pandemic.
“All glory goes to God in these situations. Win or lose, God still brings us here and we’re here for His glory,” Teague said. “We’re just really happy that everything is working out the way it is right now. We’ve got a good group of guys in the locker room, guys who sacrificed a ton for the greater good.”
This group of guys is quite different than the group that head coach Scott Drew inherited in 2003, when he took over a program that was rocked by scandal and major NCAA violations. But he led it to the NCAA Tournament in his fifth year, and that 2008 appearance was Baylor’s first in the big dance since 1988.
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SOURCE: Sports Spectrum, Jon Ackerman