Everyone checking Big 12 basketball scores last week had the same two questions after seeing this score: Baylor 81, Huston-Tillotson 61.
1. Who did the Bears beat?
2. Why were they playing an unknown opponent on a night typically reserved for a conference game?
The answers are more bizarre than you might expect.
Let’s start with the who. Huston-Tillotson is a NAIA university located in Austin that is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Their nickname is the Rams.
Now onto the why. Baylor scheduled a NAIA opponent in the heart of Big 12 play in hopes that footage of the game would be used in a movie, potentially a sequel to “Coach Carter,” a 2005 film starring Samuel L. Jackson. The main character in the movie is Ken Carter, a real-life high school basketball coach who famously stressed grades as much as winning. The biopic depicts him locking players out of the gym due to poor grades midway through their season.
Carter, now 56, apparently had planned to take advantage of loose NAIA age rules and suit up for Huston-Tillotson this season. Plans for the sequel included filming Carter playing in a big-time basketball environment, and Baylor coach Scott Drew agreed to supply the venue, though Carter has not actually played this season.
“Coach Carter, from the movie ‘Coach Carter’ is from around here and he is in the process of having ‘Coach Carter 2’ made,” Drew said Monday. “He is trying to play this year, but hasn’t because of an appeals process that hasn’t been finalized. The plan was he would be playing in the game. The movie will definitely come out, it just won’t have Baylor in it.”
File that away as a scheduling first.
Neither Carter nor Jackson took the floor, but it was still a positive night for Baylor. Because the game was against a team not associated with the NCAA, its strength of schedule and RPI ratings did not take any damage.
Plus, forward Rico Gathers put up a stat line for the ages — 25 points and 28 rebounds — against Huston-Tillotson’s small front court and broke the Bears’ single-game rebounding record.
“At the end of the day we won and were able to rest some guys and play some guys that wouldn’t normally play,” Drew said. “There were a lot of positives. Coach Carter promised to make the Baylor Bears look good if we made the movie. So it’s all good.”
Players of the week
Kansas State senior forward Nino Williams was named Big 12 player of the week for the second time, sharing the honor with Gathers. Williams has averaged 20 points and seven rebounds in his past three games, but he was particularly strong against Oklahoma State by making his first eight shots.
Kansas forward Cliff Alexander won Newcomer honors after averaging a double-double in wins against Oklahoma and Texas.
Quote of the week
“It can mean a lot. Certainly we have a tough test ahead of us, but anytime you get a win like that againt a talented team like that, it is huge for our confidence.”
Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith on the value of beating Iowa State
1. Kansas (16-3, 5-1): Jayhawks starting to look like prohibitive favorites in this race.
2. Iowa State (14-4, 4-2): Texas Tech loss could haunt the Cyclones.
3. Kansas State (12-8, 5-2): Schedule has been favorable, but the Wildcats are playing well.
4. West Virginia (16-3, 4-2): Lucky to beat TCU at home.
5. Baylor (15-4, 3-3): Nice bounce-back win against Oklahoma.
6. Oklahoma (12-7, 3-4): Sooners have been overrated in the national polls.
7. Texas (14-5, 3-3): Longhorns aren’t playing up to their talent level.
8. Oklahoma State (13-6, 3-4): Phil Forte and Le’Bryan Nash are good, but others must step up.
9. TCU (14-5, 1-5): Did everything but beat West Virginia on the road.
10. Texas Tech (11-9, 1-6): With Tubby Smith, Red Raiders can be dangerous in Lubbock.