Transfers strengthen for Baylor, Creighton in March Madness


DENVER — There’s some good-natured debate over who’s the better Baylor — Scheierman or the Bears.

Some replies come on Sunday when Baylor Scheierman and Creighton, No. 6, meets third-ranked Baylor in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

One thing both schools agree on is the importance of a transfer stepping in to fill a missing piece to an otherwise solid program. There are schools that use the transfer portal to get good quickly. Then there are schools like Baylor (23-10) and Creighton (22-12) that use the portal to stay good for a while.

The Bears brought in two players in Jalen Bridges (from West Virginia) and Caleb Lohner (BYU) to Fill in the gaps and try to get a second title in three seasons.

For Creighton, the big signing was Scheierman, the highly sought-after player who left the state of South Dakota and chose to stay close to home (he’s from Nebraska).

He’s definitely on Baylor coach Scott Drew’s radar.

“I love his name,” Drew snapped. “Hopefully this Baylor will do better than this Baylor tomorrow.”

Scheierman made a big impression in a first-round win over North Carolina State, sealing the game with a late basket and blowing a kiss to the crowd in celebration.

It’s safe to say that he’s settled into his new surroundings.

“Ever since I walked on campus, the guys have welcomed me in and treated me like I’ve been there the whole time,” said Scheierman, who was South Dakota State’s 2021-22 Summit League Player of the Year. “The entry process went smoothly and the chemistry in the team is very good and currently at a very high level.”

Same goes for Baylor (the school).

As Bridges pondered a new program for this season, he had a definitive checklist of warm weather, engaging culture and family atmosphere to guide him.

Check, check and check with the bears.

“It was pretty easy to see me here because they played in a way that suited my style,” said Bridges, who is averaging 10.2 points and 5.6 rebounds this season. “I’m just trying to do my best to make a game.”

The same goes for Lohner, who appeared in 62 games for BYU before joining Baylor this season. He scored a season-high 13 points in a first-round win over Santa Barbara on Friday.

“For me (the transfer portal) was great”, said Löhner. “One of those situations that is all lined up and I’m really grateful and blessed to be in a place like this.”

In the state of South Dakota, Scheierman was counted on for his score (more specifically, his 3-point shooting).

At Creighton he has a lot of company. The Bluejays have a big man Ryan Kalkbrenner and guard Trey Alexander to help carry the scoring burden.

“When I arrived, I knew my role was going to be very different than it was in the state of South Dakota, and I accepted that,” said Scheierman. “I knew that if we put it all together and have a deep run, it would ultimately help achieve all of our individual goals.”

Bearing the same name as the school the Bluejays will play at was “a lot of fun,” Scheierman said.

A bit of confusion about that.

“In the last 24 hours, the coaches have said a lot about Baylor, and that threw me off a bit,” said Scheierman. “I didn’t really follow them much growing up and stuff like that. Of course, I always knew we shared the same name, but at the end of the day it’s just another basketball game.” ___

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