Baylor (11-4) at (4) Kansas (14-1)
Monday, January 14, 9 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Allen Fieldhouse (16,300) -- Lawrence, Kansas.
Television: ESPN. Home Record: BU 7-2, KU 9-0. Away Record: BU 2-1, KU 2-0.
Neutral Record: BU 2-1, KU 3-1. Conference Record: BU 3-0, KU 2-0. Series
Record: Kansas leads, 18-3.
GAME NOTES: A pair of undefeated Big 12 Conference teams will square off at
Allen Fieldhouse on Monday night when the Kansas Jayhawks play host to the
Baylor put together a stellar showing during its non-conference schedule by
winning eight of 12 matchups, but it has really stepped it up since Big 12
play got underway as the team has won its first three league bouts, dismissing
Texas (86-79 in OT), Texas Tech (82-48) and most recently, TCU on Saturday
Kansas has been nothing short of spectacular this season, as it sits with a
14-1 record for the third time in the last four campaigns, and for the fifth
time in head coach Bill Self's 10-year tenure. The Jayhawks' only blemish came
in a Nov. 13 loss to Michigan State (67-64), but since then they have ripped
off 13 wins in a row, culminating in a 60-46 road victory over Texas Tech on
Kansas has dominated the 21 previous meetings between these two programs,
going 18-3. Baylor won the latest matchup, 81-72, in the 2012 Big 12
Conference Tournament championship game, but the Jayhawks have never lost to
the Bears in Lawrence.
Baylor's offensive attack struggled in its latest game, as it shot 40.7
percent from the field, including 3-of-12 from 3-point range en route to its
lowest point total of the season, but luckily it played very well at the
defensive end of the court in the win, as its 40 points allowed to TCU were
the fewest it's ever given up in a Big 12 game. The Bears were able to
generate enough offense to earn the victory thanks to solid performances from
Cory Jefferson (15 points), Pierre Jackson (11 points, six assists), and
Isaiah Austin (10 points, eight rebounds). Saturday's poor offensive effort
was an anomaly for the Bears, as they rank second in the Big 12 in field goal
percentage (.472) and third in scoring (76.8 ppg). Jackson is making his case
for conference player of the year, as not only does he lead the league in
scoring (19.2 ppg), but he ranks in the top-five in assists (6.3 apg) and
steals (1.9 spg). While Jackson has done the bulk of his damage from the
outside, Austin (14.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg) and Jefferson (14.3 ppg, 8.4 rpg) have
been outstanding complements in the frontcourt with nearly identical stat
lines. Austin can also drain an outside shot (13-of-36 from 3-point range),
and Jefferson ranks second in the league in blocked shots (2.3 per contest).
Kansas got out to a slow start against Texas Tech, as it led by just two
points at intermission, but it was able to pull away for the 14-point win by
outshooting the Red Raiders from the floor, .463 to .354, and making 19-of-26
from the free-throw line. Kevin Young was nearly perfect on the night,
shooting 7-of-9 from the floor for 14 points. Jeff Withey and Travis Releford
netted 12 points apiece, while Ben McLemore chipped in 10 points in the
triumph. The Jayhawks are one of the few teams in the conference that scores
more than Baylor on a nightly basis at 77.8 ppg. Pair that with an outstanding
scoring defense (60.3 ppg) and they boast the league's top scoring margin of
plus-17.5. McLemore has been highly efficiency this season, making good on 50
percent of his field goal attempts (including 43.1 percent from beyond the
arc) and 87.5 percent of his free throw attempts on his way to 16.4 ppg. The
redshirt freshman adds 5.2 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.1 spg and nearly a block per game
as well. Withey is one of the best big men in the nation, tallying 13.4 ppg
and 8.3 rpg while ranking second in the nation in blocked shots (4.8 bpg).
Releford adds 13.2 ppg to the mix, while Elijah Johnson pitches in 9.8 ppg and
Baylor is playing like one of the Big 12's best teams, but it will have its
hands full in Lawrence where Kansas has been flawless this season. The
Jayhawks have proven to be one of the nation's top teams with a balanced
attack and some stingy defensive play, and they will display that strength as
they capture another impressive conference win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas 76, Baylor 67
01/14 13:20:21 ET
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