Baylor vs Iowa St.
When: 9:00 PM
ET, Saturday, March 15, 2014
Where: Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Baylor has put forth an impressive tournament run and No. 16 Iowa State is also playing superbly as the two teams clash in Saturday’s Big 12 championship game in Kansas City. The seventh-seeded Bears will try for a fourth win in four days after rolling to a convincing 86-69 victory over Texas in the semifinals. The fourth-seeded Cyclones are in the tournament title game for the first time since 2000 after producing a solid 94-83 win over top-seeded Kansas.
Georges Niang scored 25 points and DeAndre Kane added 20 as Iowa State recorded only its second victory in the last 20 meetings with the Jayhawks and the Cyclones are expecting the momentum to continue. “We’re really rolling right now and I think that it’s just going to continue in that direction,” Big 12 Player of the Year Melvin Ejim told reporters. Brady Heslip tied his season best of 24 points and the Bears also dominated the interior in their rout of the Longhorns as center Isaiah Austin blocked seven shots and has already set a tournament record with 17 rejections.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT BAYLOR (24-10): The Bears have won six consecutive games and 10 of 11 after a midseason swoon put them in jeopardy of missing the NCAA tournament. The squad has rebounded nicely and Jefferson has posted three consecutive double-doubles during the Big 12 tourney run. “We didn’t let it deter us from what we knew we were supposed to do,” Jefferson said of the struggles. “We stayed together as a team. We didn’t put blame on anybody when we went through that tough streak and we stuck through it and fought through it and this is where we’ve come.”
ABOUT IOWA STATE (25-7): Niang departed with 1:23 remaining against Kansas with blood pouring from his face after taking an elbow above the right eye. He reportedly had five stitches to close the wound and pronounced himself fit to participate against the Bears. “I knew I was OK,” Niang told reporters. “I just felt a warm feeling in my hand and the next thing my eye was bloody. I was actually pretty bummed out that I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my teammates. It’s a big win for us. I think we’re ready to compete for a championship.”
1. The teams split two regular-season meetings with Iowa State posting an 87-72 victory on its home floor and Baylor returned serve with a 74-61 home win.
2. The Bears are 14-0 when Jefferson scored 20 or more points in his career.
3. Kane has scored 20 or more points in six of the last eight games.
PREDICTION: Iowa State 82, Baylor 78
Stats and Records