Big 12 Tournament 2013: Pierre Jackson, Isaiah Austin Will Lead Baylor to Title

Nick JuskewyczContributor IIIMarch 13, 2013

Mar 02, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears guard Pierre Jackson (55) reacts during the second half against the Kansas State Wildcats at the Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Many people have forgotten about the Baylor Bears, but that would be a huge mistake heading into the Big 12 Tournament this week.

Baylor stumbled down the stretch by losing five of its last seven regular-season games, but the dominance it showed against Kansas on Senior Day is the perfect surge the Bears needed heading into Kansas City.

It starts with the 5'10" senior point guard, Pierre Jackson. He doesn't just lead the Big 12 with 19.4 points a game, he dishes out 6.6 assists and still pulls down 3.6 rebounds with the height disadvantage. 

Jackson had a monstrous game against the Jayhawks on Saturday. He was four boards shy of a triple-double with 28 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. Furthermore, he was an efficient 11-13 from the field.

Then there's Isaiah Austin, who creates several problems for the opposition on both ends of the floor. On offense, he has incredible athletic ability at 7'1" in the paint and can still drain the outside shot.

Defensively, Austin protects the rim with teammate Cory Jefferson by combining for 3.62 blocks a game. Going along with Austin's 8.8 rebounds a game (second in Big 12), he is one of the best post players in the conference and can match up with someone like Kansas' Jeff Withey.  

The Bears also have a favorable first game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys to start the Big 12 Tournament. While the two teams split the regular-season series, Baylor was a last-second layup away in Stillwater from sweeping Oklahoma State. The Bears shot a higher percentage and out-rebounded the Cowboys in both games.

Baylor is a tough team to stop offensively with its 74.5 points a game on 45.3 percent shooting. The Bears will outscore the Cowboys on Thursday and have the necessary momentum to make a run and take the Big 12 Tournament trophy.