Thursday, January 20, 2022

College basketball rankings: Baylor’s run at No. 1 continues with favorable schedule up ahead

College basketball rankings: Baylor's run at No. 1 continues with favorable schedule up ahead

The Bears are No. 1 in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 and are expected to win the rest of their games this month

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Baylor moved to No. 1 in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings the morning after Purdue lost at Rutgers. It was Dec. 10. Since then, Scott Drew’s Bears have won five more games, improved to 13-0, and are now No. 1 basically everywhere.

They’re No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, in the Coaches poll, in the NET, at KenPom.com — and they also have the nation’s best strength of record. This weekend, they added a third Quadrant 1 victory by going on the road and eliminating Iowa State from the list of unbeatens. It really has been just a fabulous start to the season. And, believe it not, even though the Bears are playing in college basketball’s best conference, KenPom currently projects them to be favorites in every remaining game this regular season besides the Feb. 5 contest at Kansas.

Will Baylor really still be undefeated heading into that game?

It seems (and is) unlikely.

There are plenty of obstacles between now and then — most notably road games at West Virginia (Jan. 18), Oklahoma (Jan. 22) and Alabama (Jan. 29). But the fact that the question can even reasonably be asked on the third day of 2022 speaks to the job Drew and his staff have done after losing four starters from last season’s team that won the national championship. These Bears have seven players averaging between 13.5 points and 8.6 points per game. Sometimes they’re led by James Akinjo. Other times it’s L.J. Cryer. Other times it’s Kendall Brown. Other times it’s Matthew Mayer. No one person is the key to anything they do — but, collectively, they’re great. And that’s the biggest compliment you can give Baylor’s program right now, that he and his staff have gotten it to a place where players are able to comfortably step into new and bigger roles and keep things operating at the tip-top of the sport.

Baylor might not win back-to-back national titles.

That’s hard to do.

But, it’s already clear, the Bears are good enough to do it.

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Top 25 And 1 rankings

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