The Baylor Bears overcame the odds to win a national title last season. Despite canceled games, a global pandemic and other quality teams, the Bears had a nearly-perfect season that culminated in a dominant performance against Gonzaga in the national championship.
Baylor was led by veteran leaders, but they still have plenty to look forward to next season. They have a talented returning roster and excellent coaching.
Still, the Bears will be without almost every star from their championship run. Davion Mitchell and Matthew Mayer have both declared for the NBA Draft after producing quality seasons this past year. MaCio Teague and Mark Vital will both be gone as well after extended collegiate careers. Fans also expect Jared Butler’s time to be done after boosting his NBA draft stock this past season.
College basketball is all about turnover, and Baylor will have to do a lot to ensure they are successful next year. However, they should be confident that it will all work out. Here’s why the Baylor Bears have what it takes to make it back to the Final Four next season.
Few head coaches have championship experience, but Scott Drew proved that he has what it takes to lead a team last season. He’s led the Baylor Bears to six of the last seven NCAA Tournaments. His record isn’t perfect, but he’s improved in each of the past few years.
Baylor was unranked in 2019, but they still made it to the NCAA Tournament. In 2020, they were in the mix to be a one-seed. Unfortunately, that postseason never happened because of COVID-19. Still, they went from that to making it in the tournament as a one-seed.
To be fair, Baylor has only made the Final Four once with Drew. It’s also hard to make it to the Final Four in back-to-back postseasons. That being said, Baylor has been on an upward trajectory, and it seems like they’re not coming down any time soon.
Quality players can make a good team. Quality coaches make a good program. This is Drew’s first true test with roster turnover, but he seems to have what it takes to carry Baylor back to the Final Four. As crazy as college basketball can be, Drew’s quality of coaching seems constant.
Changing of the Guard
Before, you could count on a few teams dominating college basketball. Duke always had a top class. Kentucky would win the SEC, and UNC would be in the running for the Final Four. In the Big 12, Kansas was the top team each and every year.
Now, we’ve seen a changing of the guard. With a shift in recruiting and talent, those blue-blood programs have failed in recent years. UNC barely made the NCAA Tournament, and Duke and Kentucky missed the dance entirely.
With this swing, every conference is up for grabs. Baylor is no longer battling to be a second-tier program. They can fight with the big dogs inside and out of the conference.
This means that Baylor has an easier path in the regular season and the postseason. Without being dominated by Kansas and other top teams, they can simply run the table until the NCAA Tournament. This boosts their seeding, but it will also keep them fresher.
This is easier said than done, but that is what quality programs do. They take advantage of opportunities, and Baylor has one right in front of them.
Kendall Brown Is Joining the Team
The best way to stay relevant is to recruit, and the Bears did just that. Their class wasn’t necessarily deep, but they landed one of the best players in the country by signing Kendall Brown. Brown is one of the highest-rated recruits in Baylor history and a top-10 player in the 2021 class.
Behind Brown, Baylor also added two four-stars and a top transfer from Arizona. These four players can contribute early if everything works out, and they will be crucial as Baylor tries to repeat as national champions.
Baylor has +2200 odds to win the national title, which is one of the top NCAAB odds in the country. This proves that they have a great chance of reaching the Final Four, and these are three reasons why.