Big 12 College Basketball Picks: Baylor Bears at #4 Kansas Jayhawks

Baylor Bears at #4 Kansas Jayhawks
Monday, January 14, 2013, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Allen Fieldhouse – Lawrence, Kansas
Opening Line: Kansas -11
Current Line: Kansas -10
Opening Total: 141
Current Total: 142 1/2
Opening Money Line: Kansas -600 / Baylor +475
Current Money Line: Kansas -600 / Baylor +475

Kansas is a 10 point favorite against Baylor Monday night. Both teams are undefeated in the Big 12 so far.

The #4 Kansas Jayhawks are 14-1 this season and 2-0 in the Big 12. They host the 11-4 Baylor Bears who are 3-0 in conference Monday night. Kansas leads the series 18-3 against Baylor, including 10-0 in Lawrence. The Jayhawks won both meetings in the regular season last year, but Baylor upset them 81-72 in the Big 12 semifinals in Kansas City.

Baylor is coached by Scott Drew. The Bears have losses to Colorado in a tournament in Charleston, home losses to College of Charleston and Northwestern, and at Gonzaga. Baylor has key wins over Boston College and St. Joseph’s in Charleston, at Kentucky, and Texas Tech, and home wins against BYU, Texas, and TCU Saturday 51-40. Baylor has won 3 straight games. The Bears are 5-6 ATS and the total is 5-5 this season.

Kansas is coached by Bill Self. The only loss for the Jayhawks this season came against Michigan St in Atlanta early in the season. Kansas has won 13 straight games since then. The Jayhawks have key wins over Washington St, Saint Louis, and Oregon St all in Kansas City, along with a road win at Ohio St and Texas Tech  60-46 Saturday, and home wins over Colorado, Richmond, Temple and Iowa St. The Jayhawks are 6-8 ATS and the total is 7-4 this season.

Baylor is outscoring teams 77-65. They are #37 in scoring. The Bears are shooting 47.2% from the field and 34.3% from 3 point range. Baylor is #33 in field goal percentage. The Bears make 70.6% of their free throws. Baylor averages 37.3 rebounds per game and give up 31.2 per game. Baylor opponents are shooting 41.6% from the field and 35.3% from 3 point range. The Bears average 15 assists, 8 steals, 4 blocks and 12 turnovers per game.

Baylor guard Pierre Jackson averages 19.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. Center Isaiah Austin averages 14.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game. Forward Cory Jefferson averages 14.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game. Guard Brady Heslip averages 8.9 points and 1.4 rebounds per game. Guard A.J. Walton averages  6.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 2 steals per game. Rico Gathers, Gary Franklin, and Deuce Bello make up the rest of the rotation.

Kansas is outscoring teams 78-60 this season. The Jayhawks are #28 in scoring. Kansas is #11 in field goal percentage at 49.7% and #38 in three point shooting at 37.7% from beyond the arc. The Jayhawks are #35 in free throw shooting 74.2% from the free throw line. Kansas averages 38.9 rebounds per game, and gives up 29.7 per game. The Jayhawks are #42 in rebounding nationally.  Kansas opponents are shooting 34.9% from the field and 31.3% from 3 point range. Kansas is #2 in opponent’s field goal percentage. The Jayhawks average 17 assists, 7 steals, 8 blocks and 13 turnovers a game.

Guard Ben McLemore averages 16.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Center Jeff Withey averages 13.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 4.8 blocks per game. Guard Travis Releford averages 13.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Guard Elijah Johnson averages  9.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. Kevin Young averages 8 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game. Perry Ellis, Naadir Tharpe, Andrew White III and Jamari Taylor make up the rest of the rotation.

Baylor is 4-0 ATS in road games, and against teams teams with winning home records, 8-2 after failing to cover, 13-27 against Big 12 teams, 8-20 after a straight up win, and 1-4 after allowing less than 50 points. The Bears are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 trips to Lawrence. The road team is 13-1 ATS and the underdog is 6-2 in this series.

Kansas is 18-8 ATS in Monday games, 2-5 after failing to cover, and 1-4 in Big 12 games. The under is 4-1 overall and 5-1 in Lawrence in this series.

Kansas is without question the best team in the Big 12. The Jayhawks could run the table in the Big 12, but probably won’t. I give Baylor a better shot at pulling off the upset when these two teams close out the regular season in Waco. I like Kansas tonight at home though.

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