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Kansas Jayhawks vs. Baylor Bears Pick-Odds-Prediction 1/20/14

Baylor Bears (13-4) at Kansas Jayhawks (13-4)

College Basketball: Monday, January 20, 2014 at 9:00 pm (Allen Fieldhouse)

The Line: Kansas Jayhawks -10 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds


Storyline: 24th-ranked Baylor and #8 Kansas square off Monday night at Allen Fieldhouse, with the two sides headed in completely opposite directions.

The Breakdown: The Bears came into league play with some serious momentum. They were 12-1 with their only loss to then #8 Syracuse Nov. 27—now the nation’s #2 team—bookended by two six-game winning streaks. And they’d played the country’s 17th toughest schedule to that point. But the 15-point hiccup against Iowa State to open Big 12 play has now given way to losses in three of the Bears’ last 4, including two consecutive. In a 66-64 home loss to Oklahoma Saturday, Baylor played staunch defense in the first half, limiting the Sooners to just 6 of 20 from the field, while shooting 11 of 17 and took a 30-24 lead into the break. OU did an about face in the second half, however, connecting on 16 of 26 from the floor and 5 of 12 from outside the arc. The Bears had the rebound edge 37-35 and forced 12 turnovers, but conceded a 16-0 run early in the second that erased an eight-point advantage and put the Sooners up for good at the 3:09 mark. Through 17 games, Baylor is averaging 77.7 ppg on 48 percent shooting and senior F Corey Jefferson leads the team with 13.1 ppg.

Kansas Jayhawks vs. Baylor Bears Pick-Odds-Prediction 1/20/14

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas, meanwhile, is 4-0 in league play and sits atop the Big 12 in sole possession of first place. The Jayhawks won their first three Big 12 games decisively over Oklahoma, then #25 Kansas State and #8 Iowa State before pulling out an 80-78 squeaker over #9 Oklahoma State Saturday. The Jayhawks produced strong results on both ends of the floor for the fourth consecutive game, shooting 29 of 52, while holding the Cowboys to 39 percent from the floor and increasingly tightening up a defense that early on was allowing opponents to put up season-high shooting percentages as well as point totals. Kansas’ defensive turnaround is due in large part to the surging play of freshman C Joel Embiid. The seven-footer once again dominated the low post with 13 points, a whopping 8 blocks and 11 boards. On the season, the Jayhawks are averaging 79.0 ppg on 50 percent shooting and freshman G Andrew Wiggins leads the team with 15.1 ppg.

Rick’s Pick: The line in this matchup is currently set at -10 for Kansas. Baylor’s misfortunes are, quite frankly, becoming hard to watch. Just a couple weeks ago, the Bears were one of the favorites, along with Kansas and Oklahoma State, to win the Big 12. Now at 1-3 in league play, the Bears are one win ahead of TCU in 9th place and fighting for their conference lives. Conversely, the Jayhawks are quickly morphing into the championship contender they were expected to be. Baylor’s up against it, no doubt, but still talented and likely to keep it closer than the double-digit spread.

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