Aside from a difficult road game over the weekend, Baylor's schedule hasn't provided much of a test.
That's likely about to change.
In the first of three straight matchups versus formidable non-conference opponents, the undefeated Bears face Saint Mary's in the Las Vegas Classic on Thursday night in a rematch of their 2010 NCAA regional semifinal meeting.
Sixth-ranked Baylor (10-0), enjoying its best start since opening a program-best 12-0 in 2000-01, had hardly been challenged until posting an 86-83 win at BYU on Saturday. The Bears continued to dominate lesser opponents Monday, cruising to a 95-54 victory over NAIA team Paul Quinn.
"This game was part of a four-game tournament. We beat Bethune-Cookman, we beat Paul Quinn, now we play Saint Mary's (10-1) and West Virginia. We win both of those we win the championship, so two steps down, two to go," coach Scott Drew said.
Drew knows those next two steps likely won't prove as easy as the first two.
"Saint Mary's (has a high) RPI and (is) getting votes in the coaches' poll. They are a very good team and very well coached. Obviously I think they will be excited to play us," he said. "Then you have West Virginia who started the year off as a younger team, but they have really been jelling and playing really good basketball ... coach Huggins always does a great job.
"It should be two very good games for us, good tests for us."
The following two should be as well, as the Bears face No. 18 Mississippi State on Dec. 28 in Dallas before opening conference play against Texas A&M on Jan. 2.
The Gaels didn't put up much of a fight in a 72-49 loss to Baylor in the 2010 NCAA tournament - the teams' only meeting - but they might be able to hold their own Thursday. Saint Mary's recorded its eighth straight victory Tuesday, 77-61 over Eastern Washington.
The Gaels, who have outscored opponents by 22.8 points per game during their run, are led by senior Rob Jones and junior Matthew Dellavedova. They are averaging 14.6 and 14.1 points, respectively, and continued to produce Tuesday.
Jones registered his eighth double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds while Dellavedova matched a career best with 25 points to go along with six assists.
"Saint Mary's has two outstanding players," Eastern Washington coach Jim Hayford told the school's official website. "Jones was very hard to guard in the first half ... then Dellavedova really stepped up in the second half. They are really, really good players."
Jones and Dellavedova, however, could have a hard time turning in big performances against a Baylor team holding opponents to 34.6 percent from the field - among the top five in the nation.
Keeping the Bears from scoring won't be easy, either.
Baylor, averaging 80.0 points and 50.5 percent shooting, has five players averaging double figures in points. Senior Quincy Acy scored a season-high 24 and shot 10 of 12 on Monday.
Perry Jones III has scored a team-best 16.2 points per game in five contests after completing an NCAA suspension to start the season.
Saint Mary's has lost four straight and 11 of 14 versus Top 25 foes.
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