Houston Scott Drew took on the daunting challenge of rebuilding a tattered program at Baylor nearly seven years ago with what seemed, at least to everyone else, to be an unrealistic vision.
At the only private school in the powerful Big 12 and stifled by significant scholarship restrictions in the aftermath of a tragedy and scandal of unprecedented proportions, Drew still envisioned having an elite program. Part of his plan when he arrived was to become “the Duke of the Southwest.”
Drew’s hopes certainly don’t seem so far-fetched now.
The third-seeded Bears (28-7) are within one victory of the Final Four. To get there, they must beat top-seeded Duke (32-5) in the South Regional final today.
“When anyone takes over any program you have to figure out, what is your niche? Where do you fit in in the grand scheme of things? Not try to be like somebody that is not in your niche, but to fully develop your own identity,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “He’s done a really good job of figuring that out at Baylor, and they’re very good. ... They could win the whole thing. They’re that talented.”
This won’t be the only Baylor-Duke matchup with a Final Four berth on the line.
On the women’s side, Baylor and Duke are also playing in a regional final, marking the first time that two schools have met in the round of eight in both tournaments during the same season, according to STATS LLC.