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Baylor might be back on the bubble after beating Kansas but likely needs Big 12 tournament title

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(AP)

Raise your hand if you thought Baylor was going to beat Kansas on Saturday.

Yeah, right.

The Bears entered the regular season finale against the fourth-ranked Jayhawks desperately in need of a win to have any hope whatsoever of gaining an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament. The reality is even though the Bears pulled it off and actually rolled Kansas 81-58, it's still really difficult to imagine a scenario in which Baylor returns to the tournament without winning the Big 12 tournament next week.

The Bears just haven't been good enough, consistent enough or disciplined enough down the stretch of the regular season to merit much consideration. The victory over Kansas was just their second in the final seven regular season games.

Baylor is 18-13 overall and 9-9 in the Big 12 and might need to beat Kansas again next week, along with several other conference opponents to earn the conference's automatic bid. Safe to say the Bears are in the bubble conversation but likely well on the wrong side of it by now.

But let's not rain on this feel-good moment for the Bears too much. They deserve credit for not fading to black. They redeemed themselves from the worst shooting performance in the Big 12 era of the program earlier this season when they made just 23 percent of their shots in a loss to the Jayhawks on the road. At least they showed some fight and that they still care enough to be a very dangerous opponent for any team that has to face them in the conference tournament.

Despite losing, Kansas was still able to celebrate a ninth-consecutive Big 12 regular season title thanks to Kansas State losing earlier in the day at Oklahoma State in a game of two ranked opponents.

Bill Self can't be happy to earn the top seed in the conference with such a dud performance. It has to be worrisome to enter postseason play that way as well. But it's more likely the Jayhawks rebound from the loss and make a run deep into March and maybe April than to expect that Baylor will be resuscitated by the win.

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