Saturday, March 14, 2009

Big 12 Championship Preview: Leo Lyons, Tigers and Bears

Somewhere over the rainbow, the Baylor Bears are just 40 minutes from the NCAA Tournament. Where were these guys this season? They're not losing to Kansas anymore.

Baylor was picked 3rd in the Big 12 in the preseason. After reaching the NCAAs last season for the first time in 20 years, with a trio of senior leaders, expectations should have been high.

They jumped out to a 15-3 start with impressive wins (Providence, Arizona State, Washington State) in the non-conf before falling flat on their face in Big 12 play. But just as suddenly, they flipped the switch back on with upset wins over Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas on consecutive days.

Missouri quietly has taken off to a 27-6 mark, and are favorites to take their first Big 12 Championship. In this tournament, all 5 starters are averaging double figures. And the frontline seniors DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons should have a big edge over Baylor's guard-based attack.

Missouri Head Coach Mike Anderson stresses "shutting off the water" - if you take out the opponents' point/lead guard, the other guys can't drink. Holly Rowe will have more on that.

As March unfolds, Missouri is a very dangerous tournament team with their balance and pressure defense. But for today, the story is Baylor because the shoe still fits.

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