Baylor Ahletics Press release:
WACO, Texas – Baylor men’s basketball will host a marquee non-conference matchup against Villanova on Sunday, Dec. 12, at the Ferrell Center. The game will be part of the 2021 Big East-Big 12 Battle, with tipoff time and television network to be determined.
The game will be a rematch of the 2021 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, when the Bears overcame a 30-23 halftime deficit on their way to a 62-51 victory at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Villanova was the only team to hold a second-half lead against the Bears during their run to the National Championship, as Baylor had halftime leads of at least eight points in every other NCAA Tournament game.
This will also mark the third-consecutive season the Bears and Wildcats square off, and the first meeting at a campus site. The first matchup came on Nov. 24, 2019, when No. 24-ranked Baylor defeated No. 17 Villanova 87-78 to claim the Myrtle Beach Invitational title. Last season, No. 3 Baylor defeated No. 18 Villanova 62-51 on March 27, 2021, in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in Indianapolis.
Baylor will enter the Big East-Big 12 Battle with a 12-1 record against Big East teams under 19th-year head coach Scott Drew. The Bears are 8-0 in neutral-site games, 4-0 in home games and 0-1 on the road against Big East teams during the Drew era, and the Bears have claimed victories against seven different Big East teams – Xavier (3-1), Creighton (2-0), Providence (2-0), Villanova (2-0), St. John’s (1-0), Georgetown (1-0) and Butler (1-0).
BU won its only previous Big East-Big 12 Battle matchup when the No. 11-ranked Bears hosted No. 19 Butler at the Ferrell Center on Dec. 10, 2019. Baylor led the game wire-to-wire, and Mark Vital had a block in the final seconds to seal a 53-52 victory.
Baylor is 11-2 all-time in conference challenges, the best record of any Big 12 team. The Bears hold the best record of any team at 7-1 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, along with a 3-1 mark in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series and a 1-0 record in the Big 12-Big East Challenge.
The Bears could return eight scholarship players from the 2021 National Championship team, and every member of the 2021-22 Baylor squad will have at least two years of eligibility remaining. Adam Flagler, Matthew Mayer, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, Flo Thamba, LJ Cryer, Zach Loveday, Jordan Turner and Dain Dainja can all return from last year’s team, and the Bears have added two transfers and three highly ranked high school recruits.
James Akinjo joins the Bears after earning All-Pac 12 First Team honors at Arizona last season, and he’s joined by fellow transfer Dale Bonner from Fairmont State. Kendall Brown, Langston Love and Jeremy Sochan will join the program out of high school, with the trio combining to form the highest-ranked recruiting class in program history.
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2021 Big East-Big 12 Battle Schedule
Dec. 1 – Texas Tech at Providence
Dec. 2 – Kansas at St. John’s (UBS Arena)
Dec. 4 – Iowa State at Creighton
Dec. 5 – Xavier at Oklahoma State
Dec. 7 – Butler at Oklahoma
Dec. 8 – Marquette at Kansas State
Dec. 8 – Connecticut at West Virginia
Dec. 9 – Texas at Seton Hall
Dec. 12 – Villanova at Baylor Dec. 18 – TCU at Georgetown