Pick Baylor To Take Advantage Of Short Kansas Bench

Baylor Bears

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 3:18 PM GMT

The Baylor Bears have never won at Allen Fieldhouse, and the Kansas Jayhawks are favored on the NCAA basketball odds to keep their home record in the rivalry unscathed.

Season: 28-27-1 (-1.70)

There are more college basketball polls and ratings than you can shake a stick out these days. Regardless of which set of rankings or what index one puts stock in, however, we should all agree that tonight's collision between the Baylor Bears and Kansas Jayhawks pits two solid contenders for No. 1 seeds come March.

Allen Fieldhouse will be rocking the chalk when ESPN2 turns its cameras on at 9 PM (ET). BetOnline has Kansas -6 after opening at -5½, and 145 is tonight's total.

Tied atop the Big 12 with 7-1 records, the Bears and Jayhawks also sit at or near the top in just about all of the latest rankings. They flip the 2-3 slots in the latest AP and coaches polls, with Kansas No. 1 and Baylor No. 4 in the ESPN power index. Heading into Tuesday, Baylor was No. 1 in RPI with Kansas third, and the two were running 7-8 in the Pomeroy Ratings.

 

Bears Building On Comeback Win, Jayhawks High After Win At Kentucky

Baylor (20-1 straight up, 9-7 against the spread) enjoyed a very short time on top of both the AP and coaches polls a few weeks ago, dropping an 89-68 number at West Virginia about 24 hours after ascending to No. 1. Scott Drew's squad has since reeled off five consecutive wins, covering just two of those. The Bears are coming off a strong rally at Ole Miss this past weekend in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, coming back from 15 down in the 78-75 victory.

Give Bill Self and his staff credit for getting the Kansas (19-2 SU, 7-12 ATS) players past a couple of big distractions with a nice 79-73 at Kentucky last Saturday as 7 point underdogs on the NCAA basketball odds. There's an ongoing investigation into a sexual assault that involves Jayhawk athletes, and didn't have Carlton Bragg Jr. available in Lexington after he was suspended for a drug paraphernalia arrest. The 6-10 sophomore was averaging 6.1 PPG and 4.8 RPG playing 15 minutes a game.

 

KU Favored For 6th-Straight Meeting

The first of two matches this year, Kansas returns the trip to Waco 17 days from now. It's hard to call it much of a rivalry considering the Jayhawks have a 27-4 stranglehold vs. Baylor, 14-0 in Lawrence with 13 of the victories by 10 points or more. The last eight have gone to KU, two of them in the Big 12 tourney and Baylor's most recent dubya coming in the final game of the 2012-13 regular season when the Jayhawks already had the regular season title wrapped up. Though the Bears fell 70-66 last year on this floor, they did at least stop a string of 6-straight Kansas covers as the final finished 'under' for the third time in four clashes.

Newswires started burning up in the last 24 hours that a suspension might also be coming down today for Kansas guard Lagerald Vick. The 6-5 sophomore was scoring 7.5 PPG and his absence on top of Bragg's means Self won't have his two best players off the bench. Being home after facing two ranked teams on the road is nice, but distractions on campus coupled with Kansas reworking its rotation have me taking the points for my free college basketball pick.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Baylor +6 Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3096378, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,238,19,93,180], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1 }[/]