College Gameday returns for MBB clash of the Big 12 titans

After losing on the road, the Bears face Kansas again at home in a battle of the top teams in the Big 12. Brittany Tankersley | Photo Editor

By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer

ESPN College Gameday returns to Waco for the second clash of the season between Big 12 titans No. 10 Baylor men’s basketball and No. 5 University of Kansas at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the Ferrell Center.

The Bears (23-5, 11-4 Big 12) will look for redemption against the Jayhawks (23-4, 12-2 Big 12), as the last time the two faced off on Feb. 5, the defending champs suffered a crushing 24-point loss, 83-59, on the road.

“We didn’t play our best basketball, and [Kansas] had a lot to do with that, they’re a very good team,” head coach Scott Drew said. “As competitors go, you want to put your best foot forward. In the Big 12 you can play well and lose. We didn’t feel we played our best and to our fullest capability, so we’ll try to definitely correct some things.”

This is the 43rd contest between Baylor and Kansas. The Bears are 3-5 in their last eight meetings and started off 4-30 in the series. Baylor is looking to split the season matchup with KU for the fourth time in the last five seasons. The green and gold are 9-1 against top 10 teams over the past two seasons, and both teams have won four of their last five games going into Saturday.

College Gameday host Seth Greenberg said Baylor and Kansas set the bar when it comes to programs in the Big 12.

“You think about the Big 12 right now, obviously Texas Tech is having a great year, but Baylor and Kansas have been the standard recently,” Greenberg said. “We try to go places where the games aren’t just games, they’re events. Even with the injuries that [Drew]’s team has, they continue to compete and put themselves in a position to potentially win a Big 12 Championship.”

In terms of injuries, sophomore guard LJ Cryer is dealing with a foot injury, and still remains a game-time decision for this one. Junior forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (Knee) remains out for the season. Senior forward Flo Thamba said the team is confident despite missing players.

“We always feel confident in our guys,” Thamba said. “It’s more so about the gelling of playing different positions, but besides that we’ve had time to practice and figure out certain things that we feel will best equip us for Saturday. Overall, the confidence is definitely there, especially with Adam [Flagler] being back.”

In his first game back from injury, junior guard Adam Flagler erupted for 29 points, tying his career-high. However, Flagler said that performance won’t impact his mentality going into Saturday.

“Confidence, regardless if I make shots or missing, it’s not going to change,” Flagler said. “I’m going to have a target on my back. It’s my job to just go out there and continue to play a solid game all around whether it be taking charges, finding open guys like Flo and just playing the right way.”

Friday night there will be a campout at the Ferrell Center for students and it’s shaping up to be a big crowd on Saturday. Flagler said he wants to see the stadium “rocking” because it helps the team a lot. Drew said he is excited to see the atmosphere and wants to see a different outcome than their last showing on Gameday.

“One of the best memories was the last College Gameday showing up,” Drew said. “The line wrapped around the building, the ‘whiteout,’ and the energy. It was electric and it was outstanding, and it was really fun. Everything was great except for the ending, hopefully we can have a better ending.”