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Providence heads to Waco, TX to play Baylor on Wednesday night with a trip back to Madison Square Garden for the NIT’s semifinal round at stake. Here’s what you need to know about Baylor:
Three Players to Watch:
1. Pierre Jackson – the senior point guard is a former 1st Team Junior College All American who is now the only player in major college basketball among the nation’s top 20 in both points (19.7) and assists (6.7). Both figures lead both Baylor and the Big 12. He’s hit at least one 3 pointer in 45 straight games. The 5’10 point guard was an AP Honorable Mention All American last season and led Baylor to the Elite Eight before falling to eventual national champion Kentucky.
2. Isaiah Austin – one of the most highly-regarded freshman coming into this season, the 7’1 Austin was both a McDonald’s and Jordan Brand Classic All American last spring. He’s had a solid freshman season, averaging over 13 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, while stepping out and making 29 three pointers. He had a 19 point, 20 rebound game against Oklahoma.
3. Brady Heslip – even in Texas you can find New England flavor. Heslip played at New Hampton Prep before heading to Boston College, where he transferred from to play for Scott Drew. On a team filled with length and athleticism Heslip is the outside threat – and a good one at that. He’s made 180 three pointers in his career at an impressive 42% mark.
Baylor Quick Facts:
1. They are currently 20-14 overall and finished 6th in the Big 12 with a 9-9 conference mark. Baylor is a good home team, but not unbeatable, as they finished 14-5 at home this season. They went 2-11 against teams with an RPI in the top 50, but 10-1 versus teams with an RPI in the 51-150 range.
2. Baylor is an explosive offensive team, led by Jackson. Their last game out was a prime example, as they scored 60 second half points against Arizona State with Jackson scoring 19 points and dishing out 11 assists in the second half alone.
3. This is Baylor fifth postseason appearance in six years. They’d seen the postseason just seven times in the program’s first 101 seasons. Under Drew, Baylor has won 20 games in five of the past six seasons after reaching that mark just three times prior to his arrival.
4. Baylor defeated then-#4 Kansas and Kentucky at Rupp Arena earlier in the year, making them the first team in NCAA history to defeat Kansas and win in Rupp Arena in the same season.