Weekend Homework: Baylor's stretch run


Baylor doesn't have the resume.

The Bears don't have momentum.

They don't have much to show for the talent they possess.

But that’s the beauty of the Big 12 this season. The Bears are 14-8 and second-to-last in the conference standings, but opportunities are still plentiful in the final month of the regular season.

Baylor, losers of six of its past seven games, plays at Oklahoma on Saturday in yet another chance to redirect its season.

The Sooners, fresh off an exhausting trip to West Virginia, which included an overtime loss to the Mountaineers, already beat Baylor by two in Waco three weeks ago.

"We lost by two to Oklahoma and were 10-of-20 from the free throw line,'' Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "We've had close games but we've got to make our free throws.''

Only two of Baylor’s six losses during this stretch -- Oklahoma (66-64) and West Virginia (66-64) -- were within a possession. Surprisingly, the Bears’ one win was on the road at then-No. 8 Oklahoma State. The Bears also have an early December win over then-No. 6 Kentucky on their resume.

Point guard Kenny Chery was hurt (foot) for the Oklahoma State win and returned for Tuesday’s loss against Kansas, but played 11 largely ineffective minutes.

"Kenny hasn't been able to practice since the injury,'' Drew said. "We'll try to get him the next few days.''

The Bears are unpredictable whether they’re playing at home or on the road. They've got nine games left. They have the talent to be able to knock off a team like Oklahoma with players like Isaiah Austin, Cory Jefferson, Rico Gathers and a three-man rotation on the perimeter in Brady Heslip, Chery and Gary Franklin.

"Every game is extremely important because we have not left much margin for error,'' Drew said.

The Bears haven't shot well in the Big 12, at least not like they did in the nonconference. Their defense hasn't been the same, either.

Baylor might pass for an NCAA team in the airport, but if it doesn’t get out of its current slump, the only traveling it will be doing in March will be for the NIT.