WACO -- Baylor Bears coach Scott Drew has been reminding those who might have forgotten that during the preseason the Big 12 coaches picked his team to finish 10th in the conference.
Oops, after tying for second place in the Big 12, the Bears are now one of 16 teams in the NCAA tournament still standing. Third-seed Baylor faces No. 10 Saint Mary's in Houston on Friday for the right to advance to the Elite Eight against either No. 1 Duke or No. 4 Purdue.
"I think everything happens for a reason, but at the same time when you see that and you know what type of team you have, especially as a leader of this team, I took it as disrespect," Bears senior point guard Tweety Carter said. "They just didn't give us any respect coming into this season. It's something that you've got to take."
Drew is quick to note that surely the Big 12 coaches took into consideration Baylor's loss of three starters in Curtis Jerrels, Henry Dugat and Kevin Rogers from a team that went 5-11 in conference last season -- although it rebounded to make the Big 12 tournament title game and the NIT title game. Baylor went 11-5 this season in conference play and has won a school-record 27 games. It has not lost a game this season by more than seven points.
Baylor advanced to its first Sweet 16 in modern history and pundits are giving the team a fighter's chance to get to the Final Four.
"I don't play this game to worry about what anybody else thinks," Carter said. "As long as this family here is tight, I'm all right. But, at the same time it comes up in the back of your mind that we've got to come out here and show them we're better than 10th."