Baylor is coming off its second Elite Eight appearance in the last three years but must replace its three front court players from last season. Senior guard Pierre Jackson was selected as the Big 12's pre-season player of the year and he'll team with 3-point marksman Brady Heslip to give the Bears one of the top backcourts in the country. To challenge for the top spot in the Big 12 and make another deep run in the NCAA Tournament, Baylor needs for two freshmen to develop. Isaiah Austin is a 7-1 freshman center who has impressive offensive skills while 6-8 freshman Rico Gathers is powerful and will be counted on to add rebounding and toughness.
Coach: Scott Drew, 9th season at Baylor, 157-124 overall record.
Last season: 30-8 overall, 12-6, tied for 3rd in Big 12.
NCAA Tournament: Lost to Kentucky in regional final.
Senior guard Pierre Jackson (13.8 ppg, 5.8 apg), junior guard Brady Heslip (10.2 ppg, 45.5 percent on 3-pointers); senior guard A.J. Walton; freshman center Isaiah Austin, freshman forward Rico Gathers, junior forward/center Cory Jefferson; junior guard Gary Franklin; sophomore guard Deuce Bello.
Coach Drew says:
"Any time you lose three quality players like that, it's going to hurt. Only two schools lost more than we did. And when you lose players like that, you've got holes to fill. We've been able to bring in high-character kids to have this kind of run, and we're going to keep doing that. Now that we've had some success, it's easier to bring in talented players. Players all want to play with good players."
Baylor recorded the first 30-win season in school history last season, advanced to the regional finals for the fifth time and the 2nd time in the last 3 seasons. ... The Bears won a school-record 12 Big 12 games last season. Over the past five seasons, Baylor has won 44 Big 12 games. In their first 11 seasons in the conference, the Bears won a total of 45 games. ... Baylor senior point guard Pierre Jackson, had 223 assists last season, the second-most in school history in a single season. His assists-per-game average of 5.86 was the third-best in school history and in Big 12 history. ... Freshman Isaiah Austin, who is 7-foot-1, has a wing-span of 7-foot-5.
Nov. 9: vs. Lehigh
Top non-conference games
Dec. 1: at Kentucky
Dec. 4: Northwestern
Dec. 21: BYU
Dec. 28: at Gonzaga
Jan. 5: vs. Texas