Baylor beat Louisville 66-63 in Friday's Battle 4 Atlantis title game.
The Bears came from 22 points down to win.
Here are three things to know:
1. That was some kind of comeback
Baylor trailed 25-5 after 13 minutes and 32-10 after 16 minutes. So it looked like the Bears would be settling for second in this eight-team event -- especially considering Louisville entered the with the nation's best defensive efficiency rating. But, somehow, Baylor shot 65.4 percent from the field in the second half, erased the massive deficit and won. Considering the stage and opponent, it's reasonable to suggest this was the best comeback of this college basketball season. And that the Bears completed it without the 3-point ball -- Baylor finished just 2-of-13 from beyond the arc -- made it even more impressive. Also amazing: King McClure scored a team-high 15 points. The sophomore guard came into the game averaging 0.6 points. He had gone scoreless in each of Baylor's four previous games.
2. Baylor's NCAA Tournament resume is already strong
The Bears now own victories over N0. 10 Louisville, No. 13 Oregon, No. 24 Michigan State and VCU -- and the season only started two Fridays ago. That's four top-40 KenPom wins; nobody else in the country has more than two. So, obviously, Baylor is off to an amazing start and already in possession of more quality wins than some on-the-bubble teams will have on Selection Sunday. Let that sink in.
3. Give Scott Drew the credit he deserves
Scott Drew inherited a program in disarray and on probation back in August 2003 after one player's murder of another player prompted an NCAA investigation that uncovered multiple major violations and cost Dave Bliss his job and reputation. It really was the worst. And now here Drew is, 13 years later, standing as the man who turned that mess into one of college basketball's consistently good programs. He's well on his way to his fourth straight NCAA Tournament, which will double as his fifth in six years and sixth in eight years. The 46-year-old Butler graduate has made two Elite Eights. He's won an NIT. And, as Sam Vecenie mentioned on Twitter recently, Drew has had Baylor ranked at some point in each of the past 10 seasons. For context, consider that Baylor wasn't ranked even once from 1969 to 2007.
Simply put, Scott Drew is damn good at his job.
And, no, he is not just doing this thanks to great prospects.
That used to be the narrative connected to Drew -- that he could recruit well enough to be respectable but ultimately underachieved relative to the talent enrolled. I have no interest in debating, in November 2016, whether that label was fair or unfair. I'm just here to tell you that it's not even close to true anymore.
Yes, Drew used to enroll five-star prospects -- Perry Jones in 2010, Quincy Miller in 2011 and Isaiah Austin in 2012. But his past four recruiting classes haven't included any five-stars. And there are barely any four-stars on the current roster. Baylor's leading scorer is Johnathan Motley -- a three-star recruit ranked 130th in the Class of 2013. The second-leading scorer is Manu Lecomte -- a three-star recruit ranked 304th in the Class of 2013. The third-leading scorer [Al Freeman] was a 4-star recruit ranked 69th in the Class of 2013. The fourth-leading scorer [Jo Lual-Acuil] was a JUCO product. The fifth-leading scorer [Terry Maston] was a 3-star recruit ranked 298th in the Class of 2014. So on and so forth.
Baylor's roster features zero top-50 national recruits.
And yet Baylor's record still features zero losses.
And wins over three ranked teams.
So I don't care what you used to think of, or what you've heard about, Scott Drew. Because here's the truth: Scott Drew will someday retire as the architect of one of college sports' best rebuilding jobs.
I can't promise he'll ever win a national title.
Or even make a Final Four.
But he's already done more than anybody could've reasonably predicted when Baylor hired him, and just this week he took a team that was unranked in the preseason and beat two Hall of Fame coaches [Tom Izzo and Rick Pitino] on his way to a Battle 4 Atlantis championship and 6-0 record.
Again, Scott Drew is damn good at his job.
I tried to tell you this two years ago via this column that included even more details about the job Drew is doing. Since then, he's only gotten better. His remaining skeptics would be wise to finally become believers.