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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Baylor's Week of Sports

January 23, 2023
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MBB continues surging, and Football finds another QB, plus a mixed bag of early season results on the spring circuit. 

Here’s a look at The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from the past week in Baylor Athletics. 


The Good 

Men’s Basketball —  Way to shut up the cactus people and SEC elitists. A massive week for the Bears, taking down Texas Tech in Lubbock and escaping with a win in Norman against the Sooners to win their fourth straight. Jalen Bridges’ growing impact has been a fun storyline to follow. He and Flagler hit huge threes to bury the Sooners late as the Bears dominated the offensive boards. Now, a huge Big Monday matchup at home against Kansas. Just in case the promotional message was lost, they are asking for Monday night (tonight!) to be a ‘white-out,’ so dress accordingly. Back home, hot crowds would go a long way as the Bears also host Arkansas on Saturday. 

RJ Martinez — A welcome surprise and much-needed addition at quarterback appeared last week with the pickup of Austin native RJ Martinez from Northern Arizona. Hopefully, the staff has received a similar amount of praise compared to previous criticisms surrounding their handling of the position. Regardless, there are many positives to recognize here, starting with the Bears’ having a full quarterback room. And, in plenty of time for spring ball. Also, all three quarterbacks have more than one year remaining. That should alleviate further depth concerns moving forward and allow for some healthy long-term competition. No matter what, the days of gambling on not taking at least one QB a class are likely over. Knock on wood, but given Baylor’s health history over the last few years, Martinez better be ready to play at some point. 

Football Hires — Dave Aranda answered two more critical questions by hiring Oregon State RB coach A.J. Steward as the Bears’ new RB coach and, notably, Assistant Head Coach. I love what Steward and Oregon State did with Texas products BJ Baylor and Damien Martinez under his tutelage over the past couple of years. Then, of course, there’s also the BYU connection and familiarity with OC Jeff Grimes and OL coach Eric Mateos. Meanwhile, the hire of Tyler Hancock also answers the special teams’ questions and provides some focus.

Ben Sims — The now former Baylor TE was added to the upcoming NFLPA Bowl on January 28th at the Rose Bowl. Sims joins Mark Milton and Dillon Doyle as participants, and the game will be aired live on NFL Network. I don’t know what to expect Baylor-wise in the Draft, but they’ve had a healthy amount of all-star participants. 

Elsewhere: 

Men’s Tennis — The No. 11 Bears crushed William & Mary on the road, 7-0. However, their first road swing ended with a 4-0 loss to No. 1 Virginia. Losing doesn’t mean you always belong in the ‘Bad’ category, and given it was the No. 1 team in the country on the road, there’s some substantial leeway here. The Bears will host Arizona State on Friday -- as part of the ITA Kickoff Weekend -- and then either Florida State or San Diego on Saturday, also at the Hurd Tennis Center. 

Track & Field — Out in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ben Conacher won gold in men’s pole vault, and transfer Annamaria Kostarellis had a successful Baylor debut, winning gold in the mile with a time of 4:54. Cole Hardan broke his own school record in the shot put with a mark of 18.19 meters. Koi Johnson won silver in the women’s triple jump after a new personal best. Up next is the Razorback Invitational starting Friday in Fayetteville. 

WBB — The Baylor women bounced back from back-to-back Big 12 losses with a convincing win over Kansas State, 69-48. Unfortunately, that’s not how the week ended. 

Softball — Junior outfielder and leadoff hitter McKenzie Wilson earned preseason All-Big 12 honors. 

Women’s Tennis — The program opened its spring season on Saturday with a 6-1 win over Houston and a 7-0 victory over UTRGV. They’re hosting both Rice and DePaul on Monday at the Hurd Tennis Center. 


The Bad 

WBB Falls to Texas — The Bears made it interesting at points, but the No. 25 Longhorns ultimately won by double-digits, 68-55, after controlling much of the second half and fending off any comeback attempts. Unfortunately for the Bears, even the dominance over Texas is waning this season. They’re off until Saturday’s road contest at Texas Tech. 


The Ugly 

The Hypocrisy — What bothers me about the Horned Frogs’ hiring of Kendal Briles as OC is, simply put, the extreme levels of hypocrisy. I felt similar with Kaz Kazadi and, to a much lesser extent Carlton Buckels, but this is on a much grander scale, given the last name. Given all the extreme vitriol and mudslinging over the years, for that school to hire another Baylor assistant from that staff and time period is maddening and hypocritical, but so very college football. Crossing paths with Kendal Briles was inevitable. But in this arrangement? Yuck. 

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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Baylor's Week of Sports

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