Kansas Jayhawks at Baylor Bears – NCAAM January 18

No. 6 Kansas (10-3, 4-2) at No. 2 Baylor (12-0, 5-0)

Time:  6 PST – 8 CST – 9 EST
Place: Ferrell Center, Waco, Texas
TV: ESPN

Baylor-Kansas Series:

The addition of the series portal gives perspective to the history of college basketball. Well, you can throw that out the door and all the way across the street when discussing the Jayhawks vs. the Bears in the last couple of years. Both teams won on the road last season as the Bears are 2-3 in their last five against Kansas. Kansas holds a 33-6 lead in the series and they hold a 14-3 lead at Baylor.  The Bears picked up their first win at Kansas and their first win over a Top 5 program last season with a 67-55 thumping of the Jayhawks on Jan. 11, 2020.

Vs the Spread:

Kansas

  • The UNDER has been the play in 6 of the last 7 Bears-Jayhawks games at Baylor
  • The Jayhawks are 12-1 SU in their last 13 road games
  • KU is 10-5 ATS in its last 15 games vs, Big 12 competition

Baylor

  • The Bears are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 road games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Baylor’s last 5 vs. The Big 12
  • UNDER has been the call in 6 of Baylor’s last 7 games
Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Kansas +8½ (-110) +320 O 140 (-110)
Baylor -8½ (-110) -400 U 140 (-110)

Last Time Out:

Oklahoma State led by as many as 16 points as the Cowboys stopped the Jayhawks, 75-70, in Stillwater last Tuesday. David McCormack had 24 points for Kansas as KU was only 5-of-21 from the three-point line. Saturday’s game at Iowa State was cancelled due to covid protocols within the Cyclones’ program.

Davion Mitchell scored 19 points and Adam Flagler posted 15 with MaCio Teague contributing 14 as the Bears got past No. 15 Texas Tech, 68-60, on Saturday. Jared Butler struggled from the field as he was only 2-of-11 with seven points. The two field goals were key threes last that spurred the Bears to the win.

Jayhawks’ Stat Pack:
  • Freshman Jalen Wilson (13.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg) has had a big season overall for the Jayhawks, but is only 4-of-11 from the floor with 10 turnovers in his last two games.
  • Ochai Agbaji (14.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg) is No. 1 on the game plan when talking about outside shooter as he is at 43 percent from three and has made 10-of-22 in his last three games.
  • The Jayhawks average 11.5 offensive rebounds per game and score 12.5 points per night on the stick backs.

Jayhawks’ Grease Board:

Kansas Jayhawks LogoThe Jayhawks struggle in shooting inside the arc and that is certain to be a key point of contention in BU coach Scott Drew’s game plan. McCormack is 25-of-41 in his last three games, so coach Bill Self is likely to try and isolate him in the middle vs. the Bears defenses as it would be McCormack’s physicality vs. the length and athleticism of 6-10 Flo Thamba and 6-8 Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua. Baylor is playing at the quickest tempo it has worked since 2012 as the Bears average 15.8 minutes per possession. The question for Kansas is if the Jayhawks should engage the more athletic Bears in this time of pace.

Bears’ Stat Pack:
  • Davion Mitchell’s overall game may do as much to influence the outcome of a contest as he checks in at 1st in the Big 12 in assists with 5.9 per game, second in steals (2.2), and 5th fifth in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio.
  • Butler struggled on Saturday at Texas Tech, but odds are he will come out strong. He was 2-for-10 at Oklahoma with eight points and turned that around with an 11-of-17 performance with 28 points in a win over TCU.
  • Baylor is No. 1 in the nation in adjusted defensive field goal efficiency (86.3) per com. which is the number of points scored every 100 possessions. Kansas is going to look to run, but exploring the Baylor defense with some patients could be a huge key.

Bears Grease Board:

Baylor Bears LogoThe Jayhawks have been susceptible to turning the ball over as they average around 14 per game, so Baylor can get aggressive on the perimeter and force turnovers and potential run outs. However, KU scored 23 points off 15 Cowboys’ turnovers in the latest game. The Bears change defenses and use hybrid defenses and are as productive in those as any team in the country. Accounting for Agbaji on the perimeter is a must. Christian Braun is also only 3-of-14 from the three in his last three games and might start rushing his shots.

Winner: Baylor 78, Kansas (+8½) 71
O/U: Take OVER 140

The Bets
Baylor -8½
-110
UNDER 140
-110
Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.