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Growing up in Louisiana’s bayou country, Jared Butler was a basketball-loving kid who became enamored with a local high school star named Tweety Carter.

As a sophomore for Carleton College two years ago, Freddie Gillespie felt considerable disappointment when his team wasn’t selected to play in the NCAA Division III basketball tournament before he transferred to Baylor.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After missing the regular season finale last Saturday against Kansas with a bruised right toe, Baylor guard Makai Mason made it clear that he wanted to play in Thursday’s Big 12 tournament opener against Iowa State.

Jarrett Culver was named player of the year and Chris Beard coach of the year by the Big 12 coaches after Texas Tech won a share of the men’s basketball title.

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Troubled by foot problems, Kansas State’s Dean Wade has struggled to live up to his billing as preseason Big 12 player of the year.

Mired in last place in the Big 12, West Virginia played precisely the kind of game it needed to have a shot against Baylor: A rough, ugly, foulfest filled with free throws.

The first time Baylor played Iowa State, all hands were on deck as the Bears pulled off a 73-70 win over the nation’s No. 20 team.

After embarrassing Oklahoma by 30 points two weeks ago in Norman, Baylor knew the Sooners would play more inspired basketball in Round 2.

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After a rugged start to the season, Baylor was finally beginning to develop into the kind of team Scott Drew envisioned as Big 12 play got underway.

Shortly before tipoff, Baylor announced sophomore forward Tristan Clark was out for the season after he was diagnosed with a left knee injury on Wednesday following Tuesday night’s win over No. 20 Iowa State.

After watching No. 20 Iowa State blow out No. 7 Kansas last weekend, Baylor knew it needed energy, laser-like focus and perhaps a sense of desperation to have a shot to win Tuesday night.

Baylor came into Big 12 play confident that its array of zone and man-to-man defenses could handle anything. Then TCU came along.

FORT WORTH — Watching TCU slip into a rare free throw shooting funk, Baylor found a window to rally from a double-digit deficit in Saturday’s Big 12 opener.