NCAA Basketball Spread: Baylor -1.5
It’s a three-way tie in the loss column at the top of the Big 12 Standings. Kansas could have put some distance between itself and everyone else with a win at Missouri, but the Jayhawks fell after Missouri finished the game on an 11-0 run. Baylor was beaten 92-74 at Fogg Allen Fieldhouse earlier this year. Can the Bears exact revenge on the Jayhawks in this one?
Bill Self’s Kansas team was upset by the upstart VCU Rams in the Elite Eight last year. The Jayhawks lost a ton of talent from last year’s squad, but expectations are always high in Lawrence. Kansas has outperformed expectations of most national observers so far this year. Thomas Robinson is a frontrunner for National Player of the Year at this point. Robinson is averaging 18 points and 12 boards. Working with Danny Manning on a consistent basis has clearly made Robinson the dominant player he is today. Tyshawn Taylor is the leader in the backcourt. Taylor averages 16.9 points per contest, and he shoots 44% from beyond the arc.
Travis Reliford might not get the recognition that Taylor or Robinson get, but Bill Self calls him the emotional leader of this team. He is the guy that seems to always step up when the team needs him the most. Jeff Withey is a terrific defensive presence in the middle of the paint for the Jayhawks. Withey has blocked 69 shots, and he has altered many more than that. Kansas has held its opponents to just 61.3 points per game.
The Baylor Bears are led by an amazing frontcourt. No other team in the country can boast as much athleticism from the frontcourt as the Bears. Perry Jones III is the man that the NBA scouts are drooling over, and for plenty of good reasons. Jones can jump out of the gym, and he is developing his offensive game nicely. He leads the team with 14.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. He is far from a one-man show in the frontcourt. Quincy Miller and Quincy Acy are always key contributors for this team. Miller is a versatile freshman forward who averages 12.4 points per game and can score from the inside or outside. Acy also averages 12.4 points per game, but he does the majority of his damage down low.
The question mark coming into the season for Baylor was their backcourt. Pierre Jackson’s brilliant play this season has helped them immensely thus far. Jackson has 136 assists, and he has hit multiple clutch shots for this Baylor team. Jackson and Brady Heslip are both great outside shooters, so the defense must respect the Bears from the outside. On the defensive side, Baylor’s length and athleticism make them a solid defensive squad. Opponents average just 63.1 points per game against Baylor.
This is a huge game for both teams, but I think it means even more to Baylor. The Bears should be extra motivated to prove they can play with the best in the Big 12 after losing to both Missouri and Kansas already this year.
Free College Basketball Pick: Baylor -1.5
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