State of the Big 12 College Basketball Betting Report: Kansas or Baylor for League Title?
Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: James Akinjo (Baylor)
As the season winds down and we enter the dog days of February, the Big 12 title hangs in the balance.
The last time we checked in on the conference, it had just gotten beat up by the SEC. However, we only have two teams to focus on moving forward.
Kansas got its biggest win of the season and made a statement to the rest of the country when it blew out the Baylor Bears.
However, the Jayhawks followed up the big victory with a loss to Texas. The matchup with Texas was an absolute classic, but it also gave us a good representation of this Jayhawks team.
Kansas is an elite offensively, but it can certainly give up its fair share of buckets on the defensive end. The numbers reiterate that sentiment, as Bill Self’s unit is third in adjusted offensive efficiency and 40th in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.
The Jayhawks have a relatively easy road to end the season, but they have one big date in Waco that could decide the title.
That title’s meaning is two-fold, and it is dependent on when you last watched the Baylor Bears.
If you tuned into the matchup against Kansas, you were left in shock. Baylor had its worst performance all season, as it shot just 29% and was down by 34 at one point.
However, the Bears were not at full strength, as they were missing LJ Cryer, and Adam Flagler played in his first game back from injury.
If you watched them this past weekend, they looked like the Bears we saw earlier in the season in a domination of Texas. They led in every major category, as they opened up a 21-point lead on their way to victory.
The most crucial story is again the health of this team. The injury bug struck again, and this time in a significant fashion. Their starting big man Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua is now out for the season after suffering a left knee injury.
Cryer has also not yet returned from injury.
Baylor has not lost when its roster is a full strength this season, and now, it won’t get back to that point. Seeing how the program adapts will be interesting.
The Look Ahead
Baylor vs. Texas Tech
The Red Raiders will have a chance to play spoiler here, as a victory against Baylor would likely eliminate the Bears’ hopes of a regular-season conference title.
Texas Tech will have a real shot to get the job done, as we have seen it be able to hang with anyone in the conference.
However, the Red Raiders are also catching Baylor in another adjustment period after the Bears lost one of their starting big men. That will have a huge impact on both ends of the floor, specifically on the glass.
KenPom has the Bears as one-point favorites in Lubbock, and I’ll be looking to back the Red Raiders here if we get them as three-point underdogs or better.
Kansas vs. Baylor
This one will likely be for all the marbles as — despite Kansas’ victory in the first meeting — there’s only a game separating these two teams.
Baylor will be looking for redemption and is capable of getting it.
The Bears are ultra-talented, but monitoring their health will be the key to handicapping this contest. We will need to see how they adjust in the frontcourt and whether Cryer can return to the lineup.
Baylor could hang tough in this second meeting despite the injuries, as they have the depth. Also, their defense will be ratcheted up after already seeing Kansas at its best.
KenPom has the Bears as five-point favorites here, but it is much too early to lean towards any side or total as that number is not injury adjusted.
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