Kansas vs. Baylor Prediction: Can the Bears Slow Down a Red-Hot Jayhawks Offense?

Kansas vs. Baylor prediction and pick for this game between two of the best teams in the Big 12. College basketball expert Mike Spector takes a look at the "College Basketball Game of the Day" between Kansas and Baylor.
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Kansas vs. Baylor Prediction: Can the Bears Slow Down a Red-Hot Jayhawks Offense?

Easily the weekend's best college basketball game is in Waco tonight as the Kansas Jayhawks and Baylor Bears meet in the day's only top-ten matchup. But based on the Division I Men's Basketball Committee's early top-16 seed reveal, it is more like a matchup between two potential No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, as the Jayhawks and Bears were their fourth and fifth-rated teams. 

If Baylor has any chance to win the Big 12 regular season championship, they must beat Kansas as they start the night two games behind the Jayhawks with two games left to play. Will the Bears avenge their 24-point loss at Phog Allen Fieldhouse from earlier this season, or will the Jayhawks once again prove too talented?

Here are our picks and predictions for the Big 12 battle between Kansas and Baylor.

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Kansas vs. Baylor Total Movement

Kansas vs. Baylor Prediction

Kansas (23-4, 12-2) has won four straight games and six of its last seven. They are coming off one of their best offensive performances of the season, as their 102 points scored against Kansas State tied a season-high.

The Jayhawks are seemingly indefensible when they get consistent production from big man David McCormack to go along with the usual stellar play of Christian Braun and Ochai Agbaji. By his standards, McCormack had an underwhelming start to the season as he averaged just nine points and less than seven rebounds per game through the season's first 22 games. However, McCormack has averaged 14.5 points and 8.5 rebounds during the four-game winning streak while shooting 55% from the field.

The fact that Baylor head coach Scott Drew has kept his team in the hunt for a conference championship and No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament despite a myriad of injuries is nothing short of remarkable. The dynamic guard duo of Adam Flagler and LJ Cryer has missed a combined 12 games, and the Bears also recently lost starting forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua to a season-ending injury. However, Baylor enters the day 23-5 (11-4 in conference play), and only they and Kansas have ten Quad 1 wins to their name.

In Kansas' 83-59 win over Baylor in their first meeting, Baylor point guard James Akinjo picked a lousy time to have his worst game in a Bears uniform. Akinjo went 0-for-11 from the floor and committed three turnovers in 25 minutes. In addition, the team missed LJ Cryer in the first matchup, as Baylor is not at their best when relying on Matthew Mayer and Dale Bonner for consistent offense. As of this writing, Cryer is listed as a game-time decision as he has missed back-to-back games and six of the last seven with a foot injury. If Cryer cannot go again, the Bears will struggle to find offense, especially as Akinjo is not likely to bounce back from a scoreless game.

Kansas torched Kansas State largely because the Wildcats were willing to run-and-gun with the Jayhawks, playing into their up-tempo style by routinely jacking up shots early in the shot clock. However, defending national champion head coach Scott Drew is too smart for that, as he will make Kansas defend long into most possessions, especially while playing shorthanded. 

With a third matchup in the Big 12 championship game possible, look for these two teams to play this game closer to the vest. In addition, Kansas has played many "clunkers" after games where they scorch the nets, as oddsmakers often inflate their totals the next game. The under is 8-2-1 in Kansas' last 11 games following a 90+ point output and is 15-5-1 in Baylor's last 21 games against teams with a winning record. Therefore, a 150-point total is much too high in this game.

Kansas vs. Baylor Pick

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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