The first day of the 2010 NCAA men’s basketball tournament featured upsets all over the board. Thankfully, the Bears were not one of those, as they survived with a victory over Sam Houston State, 68-59, to advance. Head coach Scott Drew’s No. 3-seeded squad now faces 11 seed Old Dominion — one of those aforementioned bracket busters, having knocked off No. 6 seed Notre Dame — Saturday at 4:45 p.m. CT.
This one was more of a nail-biter than Baylor fans had hoped for. But a win is a win, and in this case, it was much more than just a win for the Bears. For starters, it was their 26th victory of the season, breaking the old school record set in 1945-46, when Baylor won its second Southwest Conference title and made its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance (at a time when the tournament included just eight teams).
Even more important than setting that record, however, Thursday’s success gave the Bears their first NCAA tournament win in 60 years. That’s right; Baylor’s last tourney win came in 1950, when the Bears (fresh off their third SWC title in four years) upset a favored BYU team in the NCAA quarterfinals, 56-55, before losing to Bradley, 68-66, in the Final Four.
Between 1950 and 2003, when Drew was hired, the Bears only made one NCAA tournament appearance, losing in the first round in 1988 to Memphis (then Memphis State). In the last three years under Drew, Baylor has made the NCAA tournament twice (2008 and 2010), not to mention the Bears’ run to the NIT finals last year. A new era, to be certain, and one to celebrate as Baylor continues its run this year!
Saturday will be a fun day for Baylor basketball fans, starting with the men vs. Old Dominion at 4:45 p.m. on CBS and followed by the Lady Bears taking on Fresno State in the first round of the NCAA tourney at 9:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2 and ESPNU (TV coverage map here).
Sic ’em, Baylor basketball!