Baylor men’s basketball coach Scott Drew, whose second-ranked Bears (14-0) are one of two remaining undefeated major-college teams this season, acknowledged Thursday that he would welcome the No. 1 ranking in the weekly polls if its is bestowed on the Bears next week.
Top-ranked Villanova (14-1) fell to Butler, 66-58, on Wednesday night to clear an opportunity for the Bears to take the top spot for the first time in program history if Baylor wins Saturday’s game in Waco against Oklahoma State (10-4). The new polls are released Monday.
“Every coach would tell you they’d rather be ranked No. 1 than 351,” Drew said during Thursday’s conference call with Big 12 coaches. “But everyone realizes the fluidity of college basketball and is more interested in where you are at the end of the season. We’ll be happy to be recognized by whatever comes. But the end-of-the-year polls are more important.”
Baylor, at No. 2, already holds the highest ranking in the history of its program. The last team from Texas to hold the top spot in the men’s basketball polls was Texas, which climbed to No. 1 in consecutive polls released Jan. 11, 2010, and Jan. 18, 2010, before posting a 23-8 finish.
No. 5 Gonzaga (14-0), the nation’s other undefeated team, is scheduled to face San Francisco in a late game Thursday night.
Baylor’s start is its second-fasted to any season under Drew, now in his 14th year at the school. The Bears were 17-0 in 2012 before suffering their first loss that season.