One of college basketball’s last two undefeated teams has fallen.
No. 2 Baylor lost in shocking fashion to Kansas on Saturday, ending an 18-game unbeaten run to open the season. The loss positions No. 1 Gonzaga as the last undefeated team in the country, and the clear choice for the No. 1 overall seed of the NCAA tournament.
After a back-and-forth first half, Kansas opened up a 10-point lead early in the second half and never let go. It was a miserable game for Baylor, which shot only 34.8% from the field and 42.9 percent from the free-throw line.
Only two players — Macio Teague and Davion Mitchell — ended up scoring in double digits for Baylor, and needed 35 combined field goal attempts to do it. Leading scorer Jared Butler, a Big 12 Player of the Year favorite, scored only five points on 2-of-9 shooting.
That’s a stunning fall for a team that led the nation in 3-point field goal percentage entering Saturday, ranked sixth in total field goal percentage. Baylor coach Scott Drew blamed the team’s long lay-off due to COVID-19 issues, per ESPN. The Bears only started practicing again last Sunday after nearly three weeks off.
“We were the No. 1 shooting team in the country and we’ll get back to that,” Drew said. “But even Superman has kryptonite. And I guess COVID protocols is ours.”
David McCormack led the way for Kansas, scoring 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Kansas exacerbated Baylor’s shooting woes by dominating on the boards, outrebounding the Bears 48-28 and hauling in nearly as many of their own misses as Baylor (14 offensive rebounds vs, 15 defensive rebounds).
One loss doesn’t end Baylor’s status as a contender, especially one with extenuating circumstances like the Bears’ COVID-19 woes, but it could effect where Baylor sits among the rankings for the No. 1 seeds in March Madness. Of course, there’s plenty more basketball to be played between now and Selection Sunday.
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