NCAA Basketball Picks: Baylor vs. Kansas

David Lawrence

Friday, March 13, 2015 2:15 PM GMT

The Baylor Bears are a fourth-seeded team in the Big 12 tournament, and the Kansas Jayhawks are a top-seeded team. It would seem that Kansas should win, but a closer look suggests that Baylor might be the team to beat in this college basketball betting matchup.

The Baylor Bears Can Win Because…
Their opponent is hurt and cannot shoot three-pointers very well right now. The Kansas Jayhawks are without Perry Ellis, their best player. Ellis scores 14.2 points per game and averages seven rebounds per game. He’s also a very strong and agile defender with long arms and a keen sense of where to be on the court. He is also a player Kansas trusts with the ball. He doesn’t handle the ball the way a point guard does, but the Jayhawks try to get him the ball in the high post, near the free throw line. Ellis is given the freedom to read the defense and see if he should shoot, pass or drive from his spot near the foul line. Without him, Kansas is going to suffer in terms of ball movement and freeing up its perimeter shooters. The Jayhawks didn’t hit a single three-point shot in their quarterfinal win over TCU on Thursday. The team was 0 for 8. A week ago against West Virginia, Kansas was 0 for 15 from three-point range. This is a team which struggles to shoot, and Ellis being out only makes things worse.

Kansas will also be without big man Cliff Alexander, who gives them some depth in the post. Baylor is going up against a team with a very thin bench. Baylor can wear down Kansas, especially since the Bears played the first quarterfinal and Kansas played the second one. Baylor got a few hours extra rest for this game and can play this game with more energy. The Bears shot 51 percent from the floor against West Virginia on Thursday. They also got to the foul line 34 times because of their effort. If they hustle and play the way they’ve been playing over the past few weeks, a depleted Kansas team might not be able to keep pace.

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The Kansas Jayhawks Can Win Because…
They got through the TCU game with a generally poor performance. Kansas committed 17 turnovers and did not hit a three-point shot. The Jayhawks missed 11 of 29 free throws, shooting just 62 percent at the foul line. Kansas did so many things poorly and still won. If the Jayhawks can play at a much higher level, everything will be in place for them to win with the exception of the injury to Ellis. Kansas still has players who can compensate for that absence. Landen Lucas hit 6 of 7 shots against TCU. Kelly Oubre hit 15 of 19 free throws and scored 25 points thanks to a 5 of 10 shooting performance from the field. This team still has resources, and what’s more is that it swept Baylor during the regular season, winning twice.

 

Outlook
The Jayhawks won’t go away easily, but Baylor is healthier and more motivated right now. Kansas’ main focus is on getting rested and healthy for the NCAA tournament – especially after what happened last season and the Jayhawks not being at full strength for March Madness. Take the Bears with your NCAA basketball picks.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Baylor +1 at The Greek