6. Baylor Bears (24-11, 9-9 Big 12)- Baylor’s NCAA Tournament hopes looked to be dead in the water when the Bears started out 2-8 in the Big 12. But Baylor rallied to win 10 of its final 12 games, sweeping Oklahoma State and beating Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa State in the process. The Bears then advanced to the Big 12 title game to put a stamp on their tournament bid.
Senior Cory Jefferson (13.5 ppg, 8.4 rpg) leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. 7-1 sophomore Isaiah Austin is one of the most unique players in the country because he’s got big-man size and (incredibly) guard skills. He can shoot the 3 and drive the lane from the perimeter like a guard. Not that he should–he’s 7-1 for crying out loud–he should be developing his game under the basket.
Senior Brady Heslip is a tremendous three-point shooter, knocking down treys at a ridiculous 47% clip. If he gets hot, he can carry the Bears by himself. He’s part of an all-Canadian backcourt with guard Kenny Cherry (11.6 ppg), who leads the team at 5 assists per.
24th Rebounds per Game (38.7)
24th Three Point Percentage (39%)
46th Assists Per Game (15)
11. Nebraska Cornhuskers (19-12, 11-7 Big Ten)- Head coach Tim Miles has done a remarkable job with these Huskers, bringing them to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998. 6-6 guard Terran Petteway has gotten plenty of attention from NBA scouts and could potentially be a first-round draft pick. He’s a potent playmaker and shoots the 3 at 34%. The 6-6 guard may be the most improved player in the nation.
The Huskers started off 0-4 in the Big Ten but rebounded to win eight of nine and upset Michigan State on the road. Nebraska also beat Ohio State and Wisconsin. They’ve won 11 of 14 heading into the NCAAs.
53rd Points Allowed per Game (64.9)
257th Field Goal Percentage (.427)
342nd Assists (9.6)