The game of the week in college basketball is Wednesday’s Big 12 showdown as No. 2 Baylor plays No. 3 Kansas — how much will the Jayhawks have left in the tank after a very impressive victory at No. 4 Kentucky on Saturday? KU has the longest home-court winning streak in the country and is a solid college basketball spread favorite here.
Baylor at Kansas Spread, Expert Pick & TV Info
Why Bet On Baylor?
Baylor (20-1), one of the three top 10 teams to not lose last week, jumped from fifth to second in the AP poll The Bears had six first-place votes and were one point ahead of Kansas (19-2), which dropped one place after losing at West Virginia before winning at Kentucky. The Jayhawks had nine first-place votes.
The Bears are off a 78-75 comeback win at Ole Miss in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Manu Lecomte scored 17 points, Johnathan Motley and Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. each added 16. Baylor rallied from a 15-point deficit in the first half to win its fifth straight game.
The Bears trailed 50-40 early in the second half, but pushed ahead to take their first lead at 56-54 with 10:25 left after Motley made a pair of free throws. It was a close game from that point forward. Lecomte hit a decisive 3-pointer with 23 seconds left that made it 78-72 and sent many of the Ole Miss fans to the exits. Baylor shot 54% in the second half (14-of- 26), including 46% on 3-pointers (5-of- 11). Baylor has made at least one 3-point field goal in 821 consecutive games – the second-longest active streak in the Big 12 (Texas). The last time Baylor did not connect from 3-point range was Feb. 21, 1990 vs. Texas Tech.
Baylor improved to 4-0 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge – the Bears are the league’s only undefeated team in the series. Baylor improved to 8-1 against SEC teams since 2012-13. BU has reached the 20-win mark for the school-record 6th consecutive season and the 9th time in the last 10 seasons. The Bears’ 20-1 record is the best 21-game start in program history (previous best was 19-2 in 2011-12).
Baylor improved to 5-0 this season and 46-25 since 2008-09 in games decided by 5 or fewer points. Baylor trailed 42-35 at the half and is now 7-1 when trailing at halftime this season. Baylor has a +10.8 scoring margin in the second halves of the 8 games it has trailed at halftime this season. Baylor has overcome a second-half deficit to win in 10 games this season.
Why Bet On Kansas?
KU (19-2) won at No. 4 Kentucky 79-73 on Saturday in the marquee matchup of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Kansas had 17 second-chance points, a zone defense that flummoxed the Wildcats (17-4) and a stabilizing presence in freshman Josh Jackson. He was the best player in the game, and he played 39 minutes. Jackson finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals — including what was effectively a game-sealing putback layup with just over a minute remaining.
For the first two-plus months of the season, the knock on Jackson was he couldn’t shoot. Considering he started 9-of- 38 (23.7 percent) from three-point range and 53-of- 93 (57.0 percent) from the free-throw line, it was a fair complaint. Now he is 8-of- 14 from downtown in his last three games. KU had gone 0-for-8 from 3-point range in the first half of the Kentucky game and Jackson opened the second half with two treys to give the Jayhawks the lead and momentum en route to the victory.
Jackson was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week again. Jackson’s five times being named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week surpasses former KU guard Tyshawn Taylor’s four times during the 2010-11 season for the most in school history. His five newcomer accolades rank tied for fifth most on the Big 12 list with Clifton Cook of Texas A&M during the 1998-99 season.
Frank Mason is up for the top point guard in the nation and Big 12 Player of the Year. He leads the Big 12 in scoring at 19.9 points per game and is also tops in league in 3-point field goal percentage at 51.6 and ranks in the top in the conference in 3-point field goals made per game (fifth at 2.3), and assists (fourth at 5.1). He has led Kansas in scoring in 15 of 21 games this season and currently ranks 18th on the KU career scoring list with 1,550 points.
KU will again be without reserve forward Carlton Bragg. He is facing a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. Bragg, who was suspended for a violation of team rules last week, is set to appear in court on Feb. 14. Bragg is averaging 6.1 points and 4.8 rebounds in 15 minutes per game this season.
Baylor at Kansas Expert Pick: Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas beat Baylor three times last year and will again here.