‘Maybe 75%’: Baylor Bears’ Jared Butler Reveals Team Is Still Not in Complete Shape After COVID Break

Published 03/05/2021, 3:00 PM EST
Jan 18, 2021; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears guard Jared Butler (12) reacts to a made basket in the closing moments of the game against the Kansas Jayhawks during the second half at Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports


The Baylor Bears missed three weeks of action because of COVID-19 protocols. They returned to practice last Sunday and had a game just two days later against the Iowa State Cyclones. They won despite a rusty performance, but their unbeaten streak ended against the Kansas Jayhawks in their next game.

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The Bears have now bounced back with two strong wins against the WVU Mountaineers and the Oklahoma State Cowboys. But junior guard Jared Butler still feels they aren’t back to their best yet. After the game against the Cowboys, Butler revealed they are only 75%.

He said, “I don’t think we’re all the way back. I think the West Virginia game gave some more stamina. It was almost like a workout. It got us back in shape and playing hard.

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“Iowa State game, my legs were going at about the 12-minute mark in the second half. West Virginia game, my legs were going as soon as I fouled out. I think tonight we’re stretching out a little more. I think we’re back at maybe 75%.”

Jared Butler wins battle of the star guards vs Cade Cunningham

The Bears facing the Cowboys was a highly anticipated fixture due to the Jared Butler vs Cade Cunningham matchup. They are two of the best guards in the country right now, and this battle lived up to the hype.

Mar 4, 2021; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears guard Jared Butler (12) reacts after a made three-point basket against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the second half at Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Cunningham did his best and poured in with 24 points while shooting 10-19 from the field and 4-8 from three. He also had seven rebounds, but his five turnovers proved costly. Butler scored 22 points and shot 8-14 from the field and 4-7 from three. The Bears won because they supported Butler while the Cowboys failed to rally behind Cunningham.

Mar 4, 2021; Waco, Texas, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Cade Cunningham (2) works past Baylor Bears guard Davion Mitchell (45) during the second half at Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

While Butler may be the better player now, Cunningham is likely to be the #1 overall pick, and Butler could be a late first-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

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Can Baylor Bears finish their regular season with a win?

In their final game of the season, the Bears will now face the Texas Tech Red Raiders. This is the fourth-ranked opponent they are facing in a row, but it won’t cause too many issues for them. They will be expected to cruise to a win after already sealing the Big 12 title. That one loss against the Jayhawks is a minor blemish in their record, but they will aim to ensure it is their only loss of the season.

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Mar 2, 2021; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; Baylor Bears guard Mark Vital (11) celebrates with teammates after defeating the West Virginia Mountaineers in overtime at WVU Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

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Aaron Mathew

1543 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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