Baylor (20-10) at Kansas State (20-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 8, 1:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bramlage Coliseum (12,528) -- Manhattan, Kansas. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Baylor 13-4, Kansas State 15-1. Away Record: Baylor 3-5, Kansas State 2-7. Neutral Record: Baylor 4-1, Kansas State 3-2. Conference Record: Baylor 8-9, Kansas State 10-7. Series Record: Kansas State leads, 16-13.
GAME NOTES: The Baylor Bears will push hard for a third consecutive win to end the regular season on a high note, but they'll have to get through the Kansas State Wildcats on the road at Bramlage Coliseum to do so in a Big 12 Conference bout.
Baylor has won two games in a row and six of the team's last seven altogether. The Bears defeated No. 16-ranked Iowa State, 74-61, on Tuesday in the team's most recent outing. The Bears are looking to get to .500 in the conference with another win, currently sitting on an 8-9 record in the Big 12.
Kansas State had a two-game win streak come to an end on Monday, as the Wildcats dropped a 77-61, contest to Oklahoma State in conference action. Kansas State will seek its 11th conference win of the season against Baylor.
The Wildcats have a slim lead in the all-time series with the Bears, 16-13. Baylor closed the gap slightly with a thrilling 87-73 double-overtime victory in Waco, Texas, back on Feb. 15.
Baylor held just a one-point lead over Iowa State on Tuesday at the end of the first half, 36-35, but stormed out of the gates in the second period to add 12 more points to the advantage. Cory Jefferson led the Bears in the contest with 21 points, adding seven rebounds and two blocked shots to his resume. Brady Heslip chipped in 18 points, hitting 5-of-8 from 3-point range, and Kenny Chery added 16 points with a team-best six assists in the upset win of the 16th-ranked Cyclones.
Jefferson, the big man for the Bears this season, leads the team in scoring with a 13.3 ppg average on 50.7 percent shooting from the floor. His 8.3 rpg average is a team high, and 42 blocked shots is second on the team behind Isaiah Austin's 94 swatted shot attempts. Heslip is just behind Jefferson in the scoring category, netting 11.6 ppg with a 46.8 percent shooting mark from beyond the 3-point arc. Chery (11.1 ppg) leads the team with 143 assists on the year, and Austin chips in 10.7 ppg with 5.6 rpg.
Kansas State ran up against an Oklahoma State team that is hot since the return of Marcus Smart from his suspension. Even though it was an ugly defeat for the Wildcats, two Kansas State players were able to record double-doubles in the process. Thomas Gipson scored 10 points and grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds, while Wesley Iwundu also netted 10 points with 10 boards. Marcus Foster scored nine points with a team-high four assists in the 16-point loss. The Wildcats shot just 34.5 percent from the field in the game.
Foster is one of two players to average a double-digit point total for Kansas State this season. Foster leads the Wildcats with a 14.9 ppg average and 75 assists, which is good for third on the squad. Gipson is the other double- digit scorer for the Wildcats at 11.6 ppg on 55.9 percent shooting from the floor. Gipson tops the roster with a 6.5 rpg average, while Shane Southwell has swatted a team-best 30 shots on the year. Will Spradling's 82 assists is a Kansas State high.
The Wildcats pride themselves on a very strong scoring defense (64.5 ppg allowed). That has been the staple, and it's worked without much of an offense on the other end of the court (69.1 ppg). Kansas State is nearly unbeatable at home (15-1), and will be looking for revenge from the double-overtime slip up last month.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas State 72, Baylor 67
03/08 10:22:00 ET