Isaiah Austin: Bill Self So Great Down The Stretch

Baylor is the fifth seed in the West region, but you have to admit that the Bears have a potentially favorable path to Houston.

Assuming the Bears get by No. 12 Yale in opening-round action Thursday, they’re looking at potential match-ups with No. 4 Duke, which has virtually no bench, and No. 1 Oregon, which received a 1-seed for the first time in program history, to get to the Elite Eight.

So, do the Bears (22-11) have a good run in them?

“I think that we’re going to be a contender this year for sure,” former Baylor star Isaiah Austin said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I think we have a great chance (of making the Final Four), to be honest. If you look at our season from top to bottom, we don’t have any bad losses. All of our losses are coming within five or six points. Even when we lost to Kansas, it’s within that range. So I think that we’re going to be a contender, and we have two seniors on our team in Rico Gathers and Taurean Prince who I came into Baylor with. They’re hungry like it’s their freshman year. They’re excited.”

Outside of his former team, Austin loves Kansas (30-4), which has won 12 consecutive Big 12 regular-season championships.

“They’re definitely a beatable team,” Austin acknowledged. “It’s just that Coach Bill Self, he’s so great down the stretch. He gets his team to really push away in the closing minutes of the game. They know how to close out games. I think that’s what really put them ahead of all the Big 12 teams. They didn’t fold under adversity. But I would definitely say Kansas is one of my top teams.”

Austin likes Cal, which is seeded fourth in the South region, as a sleeper team and believes that North Carolina, the No. 1 seed in the East, has the potential to go on a deep run.

“I think that they’re great in the very beginning of the game, but towards the end they start to unravel a little bit,” Austin said of the Tar Heels. “It’s something that Roy Williams is going to just really lock down with. He’s a great coach and I know he’s going to have a great strategy going into every game. I think those are going to be my two sleeper teams.”

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