College Basketball Handicapping: #24 Baylor Bears at #8 Kansas Jayhawks

#24 Baylor Bears at #8 Kansas Jayhawks
Allen Fieldhouse – Lawrence, Kansas
Monday, January 20, 2014, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Kansas -11
Current Line: Kansas -10
Opening Total: 140
Current Total: 142
Opening Money Line: Kansas -600 / Baylor +450
Current Money Line: Kansas -550 / Baylor +425

Kansas looks to remain unbeaten in the Big 12 as they host Baylor Monday.
Kansas looks to remain unbeaten in the Big 12 as they host Baylor Monday.

The 13-4 Kansas Jayhawks lead the Big 12 with a 4-0 record by a half game over 4-1 Kansas State. The Jayhawks host the 13-4 Baylor Bears Monday night. Baylor is 1-3 in conference and is ahead of only 0-5 TCU. The Bears have lost 3 of their last 4 games after a 12-1 start.

Kansas leads the series 19-4 against Baylor, including 11-0 in Lawrence. Baylor has won 2 of the last 3 games against Kansas. The two schools split the season series last year with each routing the other on the winner’s home court. The Jayhawks won in Lawrence 81-44, and Baylor won in Waco 81-58.

Baylor is coached by Scott Drew. The Bears have losses to Syracuse in the Maui Invitational, road losses at Iowa State and Texas Tech, and a home loss to Oklahoma Saturday 66-64. Baylor has key wins over Colorado in Dallas, South Carolina, Dayton in Maui, Kentucky in Arlington, TX, Oral Roberts, and TCU. The Bears are 4-6 ATS and the total is 5-4 this season.

Baylor is outscoring teams 78-67 this season. The Bears are shooting 48.1% from the field and 39.3% from 3 point range. Baylor is 35th or better in both categories. The Bears make 66.9% of their free throws. Baylor opponents are shooting 40.9% from the field and 34.3% from 3 point range. The Bears average 40.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 27.2 per game. Baylor is #22 in rebounding and #18 in rebounds allowed nationally. The Bears average 15.6 assists, 12.5 turnovers, 4.9 steals and 5.5 blocks per game. Opponents average 14.5 assists, 10.4 turnovers, 5.3 steals and 2.5 blocks per game.

Baylor forward Cory Jefferson averages 13.1 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. Guard Kenny Chery averages 11.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game. Guard Brtady Heslip averages 10.8 points and 1 rebound per game. Center Isaiah Austin averages 10.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, an assist, and 2.8 blocks per game. Forward Taurean Prince averages 8.5 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. Forward Rico Gathers averages 7.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1 steal per game. Gary Franklin, Royce O’Neale, and Ish Wainwright will also get significant minutes in the rotation. Guard Allerik Smith is out indefinitely with a broken hand, and hasn’t played yet this season.

Kansas is coached by Bill Self. The Jayhawks have losses to Villanova in the Bahamas, at Colorado and Florida, along with a home loss to San Diego State. All four losses are by 6 points or less to teams ranked #21 or higher. Villanova, Florida, and San Diego State are all in the top ten. Kansas has key wins over Duke in Chicago, Wake Forest and UTEP in the Bahamas, New Mexico in Kansas City, plus home wins over Georgetown, Toledo, Kansas State and Oklahoma State 80-78 Saturday and road wins at Oklahoma and Iowa State. The Jayhawks have won 7 of the last 8 games including 4 straight games. Kansas is 8-9 ATS and the the total is 9-7 this season.

Kansas is outscoring teams 79-69 this season. The Jayhawks are #39 in scoring nationally. Kansas is shooting 50.3% from the field and 35% from 3 point range. The Jayhawks are #4 nationally in field goal percentage. Kansas makes 68.7% of their free throws. Jayhawk opponents are shooting 40.4% from the field and 32.9% from 3 point range. Kansas averages 38.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 28.8. The Jayhawks are #53 or better in both categories. Kansas averages 15.8 assists, 5.5 steals, 6.5 blocks, and 14.1 turnovers per game, and opponents average 11.1 assists, 6.5 steals, 2.5 blocks and 10.9 turnovers per game.

Freshman guard Andrew Wiggins is projected to be an NBA lottery pick. Wiggins averages 15.1 points, 6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1 steal per game. Forward Perry Ellis averages 12.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game.  Center Joel Embid averages 11 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 2.9 blocks per game. Guard Wayne Selden, Jr. averages 10 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. Guard Naadir Tharpe averages 9.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. Frank Mason and Jamari Traylor also get significant minutes in the rotation.

Baylor is 4-9 ATS in Monday games, 2-6 overall, 1-4 in road games and against teams with winning home records. The road team has covered in 13 of the last 16 games in this series. The underdog is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 between Baylor and Kansas. The Bears are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 trips to Lawrence.

Kansas is 8-1 ATS against teams with losing road records, 13-3 in Big 12 games, 4-1 in Monday games, and 2-5 after failing to cover. The over is 5-2 in the last games in Lawrence in this series.

Kansas led by as many 19 points in the first half against Oklahoma State Saturday, and held off a furious Cowboy rally for the two point win. Baylor had the ball with 9 seconds left against Oklahoma down two points with a chance to tie or win, but could not get off a shot in time. Both teams were on opposite sides of close emotional games. Although it is still early in Big 12 play, this is very close to being a must win game for Baylor. A loss would put them 4 games behind Kansas in the conference race. Still, I think the Bears give a game effort, but Kansas comes out on top in a close game.

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