Game 27: No. 3 Kansas at No. 1 Baylor – Preview and Prediction

The No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks takes on the No. 1 team in the country on Saturday when they travel to Waco, Texas to square off with the Baylor Bears. Not only is a win over the No. 1 team on the line, but the Big 12 Regular Season title is on the line as well. A loss here and it very well could be two straight years without a Big 12 Championship for the Jayhawks.

  • Saturday, February 22, 2020, 11:00 am CDT
  • Ferrell Center— Waco, Texas
  • ESPN
  • The two leaders in the Big 12 square off Saturday in a key battle in the league race as No. 3 Kansas (23-3, 12-1) takes on No. 1 Baylor (24-1, 13-0). The contest will mark the fourth time in eight KU-BU meetings that both teams are ranked in the top-five of the national polls.
  • Though Kansas is 0-2 against AP top-10 teams this season, the Jayhawks have won 20 of its last 24 regular-season games against AP top-10 teams and eight of their last nine true road games against top-10 foes.
  • KU is 8-16 all-time against the AP’s No. 1 team, but is 6-5 against top ranked foes since the 1989-90 season and 3-2 under Bill Self. The KU-BU contest will mark KU’s first true road game against No. 1 since March 8, 1958, when KU topped then-No. 1 K-State in Manhattan, 61-44.
  • Since 2011, Kansas is 23-11 in games when both teams are ranked inside the AP top-10. KU’s 67.6 winning percentage in those contests is the best in the nation among teams who have played in 15 or more such games
  • Baylor is vying to become only the second team in the Bill Self era to sweep Kansas in a regular-season Big 12 series. In 115 regular-season Big 12 home-and-home series during the Self era, Kansas has 77 sweeps, 37 splits and has been swept once (Oklahoma State in 2018).
  • Baylor is also vying to win two-straight against Kansas for the first time. KU leads the series 32-6, including 13-3 in meetings in Waco.
  • Baylor is ranked No. 2 in the NET rankings as of Feb. 19 games, while Kansas is No. 4 out of 353 teams. Kansas and Baylor are the only two schools with 10 Quadrant 1 wins.

Bears to Watch

Jared Butler – Sophomore, Guard, 6’3

Butler had a huge game in the initial matchup with Kansas, as he went for 22 points on 9-18 shooting. He’s been dynamite in Big 12 play with four 20+ point games, including 22 and 21 points in his last two outings.

Freddie Gillespie – Senior, Forward, 6’9”

The bruising 245-pounder from St Paul, Minnesota is only averaging 9.6 points per game, but his presence on the glass is what makes the difference. Gillespie is averaging 8.8 boards per game, and has a high amount of speed and agility. Even though he loses a couple inches against Udoka Azubuike, he still matches up pretty well physically.  Like Oscar Tshiebwe of West Virginia, Kansas will have a tall task of limiting this big man’s impact.

Prediction

This is the kind of game Kansas and Bill Self wins and the kind of game Baylor and Scott Drew loses. I’m sticking with my gut and going with the Jayhawks. Baylor took the game in Allen Fieldhouse, but Devon Dotson got banged up in that game and the Jayhawks were without their leader. Dotson is now healthy and is ROLLING. Kansas has had two-straight 87+ point outputs, and Dotson has been one of the main reasons why. In the last two games, the sophomore point guard is averaging 24 PPG, 6.5 RPG and 3.0 APG. He’s a legit National Player of the Year candidate, and this is a perfect opportunity for him to put his stamp on the award. Give me Dotson and the Jayhawks in an absolute classic.

AUDIO PREVIEW: LINK

Kansas 76, Baylor 73
KU +2

Season Record: 23-3 (16-10 ATS)

Bobby Norell

My name is Bobby Norell. I'm from a small town in northern Indiana. I recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Sport Communication. Even though my diploma says I'm a Hoosier, my love for the Jayhawks has never wavered. They'll always come No.1.