Men’s basketball headed to NCAA tournament for 4th straight year
Ishmail Wainwright is the only senior on this year’s Baylor’s men’s basketball team — and as such, he is the first (and so far, only) Bear in program history to make the NCAA tournament each of his four seasons at Baylor.
Wainwright and the Bears are headed back to the NCAA tournament as a No. 3 seed, matching the best seed in program history. Baylor will face WAC tournament champion New Mexico State on Friday in Tulsa (11:40 a.m. CT, truTV). The winner of that game will face either 12th-ranked SMU or the winner of a Providence/USC play-in game in the second round on Sunday.
At 28-5, New Mexico State has already set a school record for wins in a season. The Aggies placed second in the Western Athletic Conference regular season, then clinched a spot in March Madness by winning the conference tournament on Saturday. NMSU is led by WAC Player of the Year Ian Baker, a senior guard who is averaging 16.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.
After opening the season receiving zero votes in the AP poll, the Bears won 20 of their first 21 games and reached No. 1 in the polls for the first time ever in January. Baylor then stumbled a bit down the stretch, going just 5-6 after that amazing start — though it’s worth noting that the six losses were by an average of just four points each. Head coach Scott Drew’s squad still matched its best-ever Big 12 finish, tying for second, and equaling program records for regular season (25) and conference (12) wins.
The Bears are led by national player of the year candidate Johnathan Motley, a junior forward who has averaged 17.3 points and 9.9 rebounds to become just the 16th All-American in program history. Junior point guard Manu Lecomte was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year after averaging 12.4 points and 3.9 assists.
Sic ’em, Baylor basketball!