After the final buzzer had sounded late Saturday and Baylor had taken its first loss of the season — unsurprisingly inside Allen Fieldhouse, where, historically, just about all visitors lose to Kansas, especially on Senior Night — Bears coach Scott Drew hopped on Zoom and summarized things perfectly.
“We had three weeks where we got worse, and they had three weeks where they got better,” Drew said. “Even Superman has kryptonite. And I guess COVID protocols are ours.”
It certainly seems that way.
The final score was 71-58, the final minutes never in doubt. The Jayhawks controlled things the entire second half, never relinquishing the lead they held at the break. For the second straight outing, Baylor looked nothing like the team that started 17-0 before a 21-day pause for COVID-19 issues within the program disrupted its season after a victory at Texas in early February.
Whether it’s fatigue or rust or something else entirely, I’ll let others debate. Undeniably, though, it’s something — and it’s something that, among other things, has turned the best 3-point shooting team in the country into a bad 3-point shooting team. Before the season was paused, Baylor was shooting a national-best 43.9% from 3. In two games since returning from the 21-day layoff, the Bears are shooting just 27.5% from beyond the arc, which means one offensive thing Baylor was great at is suddenly a liability (at least temporarily).
Drew said after last Tuesday’s too-close-for-comfort win over Iowa State that most coaches he’s spoken with who have already gone through what he’s now going through told him it takes two or three games to get right again after such a long layoff. So, perhaps this was to be expected. Either way, the dream of a national championship game between two undefeated teams is now officially over — blown up forever on the final weekend of February. Baylor has left Gonzaga as the nation’s only undefeated outfit and obvious No. 1 in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. And now the question in Waco is simple: Can the Bears, suddenly with a double-digit blemish on their record, become a great team again?
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Sunday’s Top 25 And 1 rankings
In: ClemsonOut: Tennessee