The Baylor Bears are once again making a run in the NCAA Tournament.
A decade ago, the idea of Baylor becoming a consistent men’s basketball contender seemed outlandish. The school was known more for football, from Art Briles’ innovative offense to Robert Griffin III’s dual-threat skills that earned him the Heisman Trophy.
But, the Bears are roaring yet again. With a spot in the Sweet 16 secured and a chance to make the Final Four not seeming unrealistic, let’s look at if the Bears ever won a national championship in men’s basketball.
Baylor is back in the Sweet 16 once again
Here come Scott Drew and the Baylor Bears once again.
Although they haven’t reached the National Championship game recently, Baylor has nonetheless become one of the country’s most consistent men’s basketball programs. Much like Kansas and Syracuse, the Bears are seemingly always in the mix as a top-25 team that later gets a chance in March Madness.
The 2020-21 campaign has been no different, even among the coronavirus pandemic. Baylor opened the year with 18 straight wins before losing to Kansas on February 27.
The Bears reached the NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed and routed Hartford, 79-55, in the first round. Facing a feisty Wisconsin team in the second round, Baylor clinched a spot in the Sweet 16 with a 76-63 victory.
The Bears have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years
From the spring of 1950 through that of 2007, you can count how many times Baylor reached the NCAA Tournament on the one hand.
A first-round loss in the 1988 NCAA Tournament was the only time in that span that the Bears, spending most of that time in the Southwest Conference, played in March Madness.
Everything changed when Scott Drew took over after the 2002-03 season. Although Baylor didn’t reach the NCAA Tournament until March 2008, Drew laid the framework for Baylor to become a consistent contender.
Baylor has posted a winning record every year since the 2007-08 campaign, and they’ve made nine NCAA Tournament appearances in that stretch.
Has Baylor ever won a national title?
The good news for Scott Drew and Baylor is that they’re always in the mix to make the NCAA Tournament and, in theory, compete for a national championship.
If Baylor ever makes it that far, they’ll have an opportunity to bring home the men’s team’s first title. Despite playing their first game in 1907, the Bears have never won a championship.
Their closest chance came in 1948, when Baylor lost to Kentucky, 58-42, in the National Championship game. Baylor hasn’t even made it back to the Final Four since 1950, a streak they’re desperate to break.
Baylor can continue working toward ending that drought on Saturday, March 27, when they face No. 5 Villanova in the Sweet 16. The winner of that game will play either No. 3 Arkansas or No. 15 Oral Roberts in the Elite Eight.