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Everybody loves the Bears

Baylor tips off against Kansas State in 20 minutes, but regardless of what the Bears do tonight, there's no doubt they'll be in the NCAA tournament. That bridge has been crossed. Baylor could possibly improve their seed with a win -- certainly if they win the Big 12 tournament, the Bears can count on improving their Sunday considerably -- but the real work has already been done.

How far Scott Drew's team gets when they get there is another matter entirely. If the collective opinion of the average ESPN chatter is any indication, the Bears will be going very far indeed.

Of what do I speak? I've been hosting live chats on the site -- hence the lower number of posts from me, in case you're counting -- from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET the past three days. It's been a lot of fun. And if any consensus has emerged (other than that people really like to ask if their team is good enough to make the Final Four) it's that you, the ESPN.com reader, really, really likes the Baylor Bears. Comments to that effect are constant in the chats thus far. Commenters usually ask how far I think Baylor can go before referring to the Bears as "dangerous." Or they quickly hop on to say "look out for the Bears!" Or they just write "BAYLOR" in all caps, with or without dozens of exclamation points. People really seem to like Baylor. I can't explain it. But it's true.

Of course, this isn't the most scientific finding; I haven't been keeping track of Baylor-related comments. And it's entirely possible the same five commenters keep coming in under fake names, or something. Maybe it's some sort of secret pro-Baylor Internet organization that terrorizes chat participants with repetitive opinions. More likely is the possibility that Baylor has already turned into everyone's go-to "sexy" pick, a team so unheralded they become famous for being unheralded, at which point they're not very unheralded at all.

It's funny how consensus works this way. Baylor is completely worthy of this diagnosis, but so are plenty of other teams. What makes Baylor so special? I don't know. But I do know that when I log in to the next chat we run, the comments will be rife with Baylor discussion. You guys love the Bears. Weird, right?