#8 Baylor Bears NCAA Men’s Basketball Associated Press Poll
Bears – Big 12, 28-2
The defending national champions were ranked just behind Gonzaga for most of the season after matching them win for a win until suffering two losses in their final six games to fall to third in the polls entering the NCAA Tournament.
The Bears’ loss to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 tournament dropped them from many brackets, but they were dominant on their way to the title, with only Arkansas in the Elite Eight managing to come closer than 11 points to Baylor in their championship run.
Baylor lost their entire backcourt that was comprised of their top three scorers, who collectively accounted for over 56% of their points on their way to the program’s first national championship.
Head coach Scott Drew has filled the holes with a combination of transfers and recruits who could carry the Bears to another Big 12 title and a deep run into March Madness if they blend in.
A pair of guards who made big contributions off the bench, Adam Flagler and Matthew Mayer, who averaged 9.1 and 8.1 points, respectively, will be counted on to step into increased roles as they join transfer James Akinjo to fill the shoes of the departed Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, and Davion Mitchell.
Fortunately for Drew, Baylor eases into the season, with three games against Southland Conference teams, followed by contests against unranked Stanford, Arizona State, and Arkansas State before their December 12th clash with Villanova.
* All odds provided by Action247 Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
**All views expressed are my own. My picks are my own and are not a guarantee, bet at your own risk.