Joe Lunardi: Baylor must beat West Virginia to avoid possibility of being on ‘outside looking in’ for NCAA Tournament

March 08, 2018
  • By Dean Straka
  • Diehards

Baylor men’s basketball’s Big 12 Tournament date with West Virginia on Thursday night could have major NCAA Tournament implications.

ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi said during a broadcast on Thursday that it will be critical for the Bears to knock off the Mountaineers if they intend to avoid any further scare with the NCAA Tournament bubble — one that could have them on the wrong side of the equation.

From Lunardi:

“I think the real key for Texas, as strange as it may sound, is Baylor. Baylor swept the Longhorns, which is big for me, but I think if Baylor loses to West Virginia in the nightcap, I think the Bears will be the Big 12 team that’s on the outside looking in.”

Texas, who finished the season in a 4-way tie at 8-10 in the Big 12, was eliminated from the Big 12 Tournament earlier on Thursday after falling to Texas Tech, 73-69. The Longhorns had been on the NCAA Tournament bubble entering the week, projected as one the last four teams in. 

The Bears also finished the season at 8-10 in conference. A five game win streak late in the season, which included wins over Texas, Kansas and Texas Tech, resurrected Baylor’s once lost NCAA Tournament hopes.

And just like the Longhorns, Baylor was also among the last four teams to make the field in Lunardi’s latest bracketology.

So will their only be room for one of the two Big 12 foes once Selection Sunday arrives? Lunardi seems to indicate that it’s now a real possibility, and that’s an unnerving thought for both Bears and Longhorns fans heading into the weekend.

West Virginia swept the regular season series vs. Baylor. With Lunardi’s latest prediction, Thursday might just be the right time for coach Scott Drew and the Bears to change that trend.

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