College Basketball Picks: Baylor Bears vs. Kansas Jayhawks

No. 4 Baylor Bears at No. 10 Kansas Jayhawks
Monday, 1/16/12, 9:30 PM EST, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Kansas -5.5
Current Betting Line:  Kansas -6
Opening Total:  136
Current Total:  136.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Baylor Bears are 0-9 SU all-time when playing in Lawrence

Baylor will make its second trip to the Sunflower State in six days and looks to keep its perfect record intact when visiting Kansas inside Allen Fieldhouse.  The Bears are 1-4 all-time when playing in ESPN Big Monday games, with the only win coming against tonight’s opponent in 2001.  The program knows it must win this type of game to potentially end up winning the Big 12 Conference title.  “It just feels good to watch your school win,” commented Bears senior forward Quincy Acy.  “We have a lot to prove, and we’re hungry.”  Baylor is 3-0 ATS as an underdog this season and the ‘over’ has cashed in two of the three games.

The Bears are 2-16 all-time against the Jayhawks and have never won in nine previous trips to Lawrence.  Baylor needs to still be respected due to being one of only three undefeated Division I teams.  The team has won all four of its games that have been decided by five points or less.  Four starters are currently averaging double figures in scoring—led by sophomore forward Perry Jones III.  Baylor is 7-0 away from home and Monday’s game will be its fifth true road game of the season.

Kansas will be facing its fourth top-10 team of the 2011-12 campaign, earning a split in those games and tallying a 37-20 record versus any ranked opponent under the direction of current head coach Bill Self.  “I’m excited for the Baylor game,” commented Self after the team’s 82-73 win over the Iowa State Cyclones on Saturday.  “They’re a really good team, really athletic.”  The Jayhawks are 9-0 at home this season and have outscored all opponents by an average of 16.6 points per game on any floor.  Kansas is 11-10 ATS in January the last two-plus seasons.

The Jayhawks will certainly be tested on the boards in this contest, but still lead the conference with a plus-eight rebounding edge.  Kansas will lean heavily on All-American candidate Thomas Robinson, who is the only player in the Big 12 that’s averaging a double-double with 17.2 points and 12.2 rebounds per game.  He will receive help from senior guard Tyshawn Taylor, who tied a career high with 28 points last time out.

Bettors will likely back the Bears due to the road team covering the last 11 games in this series, while the favorite is 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings.

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