NCAA Basketball Picks for Kansas vs. Baylor: Bears are Just a Speedbump on Jayhawks' Road to Big 12 Championship

David Lawrence

Friday, February 13, 2015 12:17 PM GMT

The Kansas Jayhawks are going for their 11th consecutive Big 12 Conference championship, one of the most impressive streaks in modern-day college basketball. 

The Baylor Bears Can Win Because…
Baylor, before losing to Oklahoma State, won three games in a row and played its best basketball of the season. What’s interesting to note is that the Bears have lost to only one team – Oklahoma State – in the past three and a half weeks. Their last loss to a non-Oklahoma State team came on Jan. 17 against a Kansas State team that was playing with since-suspended scorer Marcus Foster. Baylor’s three-game winning streak included an emphatic road win over West Virginia. The Bears are getting great play from big man Rico Gathers. He averages more rebounds per game (12.6) than points (11.2). He has gobbled up at least 15 rebounds in each of his last four games, scoring at least 14 points in three of those games largely because his ability to attack the offensive glass gives him some putback opportunities. He’s able to score layups by cleaning up the misses his teammates put on the scoresheet. With a bruiser such as Gathers on the floor, Baylor doesn’t have to shoot well to beat Kansas. What the Bears will need to avoid are turnovers – if they can, they’ll have a decent chance of winning.

 

The Kansas Jayhawks Can Win Because…
The Jayhawks lose at home less often than the Seattle Seahawks do in the NFL. Kansas’ last home loss was in January of 2014 to San Diego State. The team’s last conference loss came over two years ago to Oklahoma State. The Jayhawks have lost just three times in Phog Allen Fieldhouse over the past five-plus seasons (this not-yet-completed season being the sixth), and only twice in Big 12 competition. Kansas wins just about every league game at home and wins most of its games on the road, the formula the Jayhawks use to climb to the top of the conference every season, dating back to 2005, which began this run of 10 straight Big 12 titles.

Baylor is coming off a discouraging home loss to Oklahoma State on Monday which you should consider when looking over the college basketball odds. The Bears were flustered by the Cowboys’ quick passing against Baylor’s zone defense. Oklahoma State seemed to know what Baylor was doing at both ends of the floor. Kansas has the natural athletes to run any scheme or pattern, and KU head coach Bill Self is a master at changing defenses to get the right game flow. He can play it straight with the man-to-man, but he can also use junk defenses such as the triangle-and-two to mess with opponents’ heads. Kansas should be able to get Baylor out of rhythm on offense. When Baylor plays defense, Kansas can offer three double-figure scorers – Perry Ellis (12.9 points per game), Frank Mason III (12.5), and Wayne Selden, Jr. (10) – to provide a level of balance which will make it hard for the Bears to double-team anyone.

 

Outlook
In the end, Kansas rules the Big 12. This is the kind of college basketball betting pattern you just shouldn’t pick against unless you have overwhelming contrary evidence. That kind of evidence just doesn’t exist here, so back Kansas with your NCAA basketball picks.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Kansas