Baylor went 13-0 against nonconference opponents this season and started the year with 15 consecutive victories. After an opening-game loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 Tournament, the Bears want to get back to that old feeling when they tip off in the NCAA Tournament.
“It was a time where we looked at it more of like a little — like a job and we wasn’t having fun,” Baylor senior forward Ish Wainright said. “But now I mean we’re back to having fun.”
Wainright, who’s from Kansas City and played at Raytown South, didn’t have the Big 12 Tournament finale he was hoping for as the Bears lost 70-64 to the Wildcats in the quarterfinals at the Sprint Center. Wainright scored seven points on 3-of-7 shooting and grabbed four rebounds.
He’s looking forward to Friday, when the third-seeded Bears (25-7) play No. 14 New Mexico State (28-5) in a NCAA East Regional first-round game at 11:40 a.m.. Baylor will be trying to get to the round of 32 for the first time since 2014. Baylor beat the Western Athletic Conference champion Aggies in 2014 and 2015 nonconference games.
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If he gets on the court, Wainright will become the first Baylor men’s basketball player to appear in four NCAA Tournaments.
“Lately we’ve been having a lot of fun, so that’s going to carry over to the court,” he said. “So you’ll see a lot of smiles and a lot of laughs on the court.”
No. 3 seed Baylor vs. No. 14 New Mexico State
What: NCAA, East Region first-round game
Where: At Tulsa, Okla.
Time/TV: Friday, 11:40 a.m. on truTV