The Baylor Men’s basketball team enters the postseason on a three-game losing streak, but they get a fresh start as they head to Kansas City for the Big 12 Tournament.
The Bears have had to play much of the final stretch without their senior leaders Makai Mason and King McClure, as both have been held out of several games down the stretch, but that has cleared the way for youngsters like Jared Butler and Devonte Bandoo to show what they can do.
“Yeah he wants to play all our games at Allen [Fieldhouse],” Head Coach Scott Drew said. “So I thought he was outstanding and really, he’s a competitor, competes, some people get intimidated in big moments, and Jared is one of those guys that embraces them.”
Devonte Bandoo has averaged 8.5 points per game this season and has shown the ability to score when his name is called.
“We can have any guy that can go off one night, and it makes us very tough to guard so, especially when a guy like Makai is not playing well,” Bandoo said. “Makai will sacrifice that and stay on the bench, and let like Jared or myself keep playing, and that’s one thing that’s great about us”
The Bears will enter the tournament as a four seed, and while the Bears have had a variety of experiences in the Big 12 tournament, but Coach Drew has never seen Kansas City results correlate to the big dance.
“We’ve done it both ways, when we were ranked number one in the nation, a couple years ago, we lost to K-State in the first round, then went to the Sweet 16 and played well, then lost to South Carolina, then went to the Final Four so,” he said. “We’ve done well in the tournament where we’ve gone to Championship game, then gone to the Elite Eight, gone to the Sweet 16, we’ve lost in the semifinal, gone to the Elite eight so I don’t know if there’s a guarantee. Either way, coaches always prefer winning over losing though.”
Baylor and Iowa State play at 11:30am on Thursday morning in Kansas City, Missouri.