BAYLOR BEARS (11-4)
at KANSAS JAYHAWKS (14-1)
Tip-off: Monday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Kansas -10.5, Total: 142.5
Sizzling-hot No. 4 Kansas seeks a 14th straight victory when Baylor pays a visit to Allen Fieldhouse on Monday night.
Although the Jayhawks haven't lost since Nov. 13 to Michigan State, they are just 6-5 ATS during their win streak, including 0-3 ATS since the calendar turned to 2013. The Bears are a perfect 3-0 SU (1-2 ATS) in conference play so far, but they just beat TCU in an ugly 51-40 game on Saturday where the teams combined to shoot 37% from the floor. Although Baylor is 3-18 all-time versus Kansas and 0-10 in Lawrence, the school is 8-1 ATS in the past nine non-home games in this series, winning the last meeting 81-72 in the Big 12 Tournament last season.
Will Kansas be able to cover the hefty spread against a quality Baylor team on Monday night? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The StatFox experts have a collective 22-15 ATS (60%) mark in the past five days, boosting them to 53% ATS (222-199-8) in college basketball Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary, who sits at 58% ATS (50-37) for the season, while StatFox Dave is at 54.4% ATS (81-68-3) on the year. Dave is also 5-1-1 ATS (83%) since Nov. 24 when he mentions the word "hammer" in his analysis, including 3-1 ATS when he uses the term "Hammertime" for a favorite covering a large spread. StatFox Scott is 52% ATS for the season, after going 8-3 ATS since Monday, and StatFox Brian is 4-2 ATS in the past two days.
Baylor has a potent offense with 76.8 PPG (37th in D-I) on 47.2% FG (33rd in nation), but the team was held to 51 points on 40.7% FG in Saturday's home win over TCU. The defense held tough though, with a school-record 40 points allowed. Although the Bears outscore opponents in the paint by 9.4 PPG this season, hitting the glass continues to be a problem for the Bears, who have a minus-13 rebounding margin in nine games since the start of December. But the strength of Baylor begins with star PG Pierre Jackson (19.2 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.7 RPG, 1.9 SPG), who has scored in double-figures in every game this season and leads the Big 12 in points. In the three meetings versus Kansas last year, Jackson had 13.3 PPG and 7.3 APG. His backcourt mate Brady Heslip (8.9 PPG) has been off the mark this year as his shooting percentages (37% FG, 36% threes, 77% FT) are way down from his impressive marks last season of 46% FG, 46% threes and 92% FT. Although the Jayhawks shadowed him in the first two meetings of last year, holding him to a combined three points on 1-of-5 FG, he scored 12 points (4-of-6 threes) in the Big 12 Tournament win over KU. Baylor's big men are emerging, especially freshman C Isaiah Austin (14.6 PPG, 8.4 RPG), who has averaged 16.3 PPG (53% FG) and 9.7 RPG during a seven-game streak of 10+ points. F Cory Jefferson (14.3 PPG, 8.4 RPG) has also made great strides this season with 2.3 BPG. The junior is making shots at a conference-best 63.4% FG clip, while knocking down 77% of his foul shots.
Kansas scores 77.8 PPG (28th in D-I) on 49.7% FG (11th in nation) thanks to an unselfish 16.7 APG (18th in D-I). But the Jayhawks are coming off a season-low 60 points at Texas Tech, making just five field goals in the first half. Freshman G Ben McLemore leads the team with 16.4 PPG on 50% FG (43% threes) and 88% FT, while adding 5.2 RPG. Although he had just 10 points on 2-of-7 FG on Saturday, he exploded in his last home game on Wednesday with 33 points on 10-of-12 FG (6-of-6 threes) in an overtime win over Iowa State. C Jeff Withey (13.4 PPG, 8.3 RPG) is a beast down low, especially on the defensive end where his 4.8 BPG ranks second in the nation. In last year's series with Baylor, Withey averaged 15.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 3.7 BPG, which included a career-high 25 points in a win at Baylor. Senior SG Travis Releford (13.2 PPG) has scored in double-figures in 12 straight games, knocking down an amazing 74% of his shots during this stretch. Senior PG Elijah Johnson (9.8 PPG, 5.5 APG) has done a nice job running the offense, but he has committed 15 turnovers in the past three games combined. Kansas has won 16 straight conference tilts at home.