Getting to know: Baylor basketball
This is what college basketball is all about.
Despite it being early in Big 12 play, there is already a top-five matchup taking place that could ultimately impact the conference race. No. 3 Kansas (12-2, 2-0 Big 12) is slated to host No. 4 Baylor (12-1, 2-0) in a Saturday afternoon matchup that will be broadcasted on CBS.
No. 4 Baylor is the highest-ranked team to come to Allen Fieldhouse since the 2016-17 season when No. 2 Baylor lost to KU, 73-68, on Feb. 1, 2017. The Bears are riding an 11-game winning streak, which is tied for the fifth-longest streak in program history.
In some ways, it is strength vs. strength. Kansas is the top-scoring team in the Big 12 at 79.4 points per game. Baylor is first in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 58.4 points per outing. KU is first in scoring margin at +18.4, while BU is second at +15.9.
The Jayhawks have fared well in these situations, however. KU has won nine-straight contests against AP top-five foes in Allen Fieldhouse, with eight of those under Bill Self. Baylor, meanwhile, has never won at Allen Fieldhouse (0-17) or defeated an AP top-five team in a road game in 22 such attempts.
Tipoff is slated for 12 p.m.
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BREAKING DOWN BAYLOR
No. 12 — G Jared Butler | 6-3, 190, so.
Butler has paved the way for Baylor’s offensive attack through the early part of the season.
So far this year, Butler has led the Bears in scoring in eight of the 13 games. He currently ranks top-15 in the Big 12 in 3FG% (2nd, .402), 3FGs (2nd, 2.7/game), FT% (2nd, .902), scoring (5th, 16.3), FG% (7th, .438), steals (11th, 1.5) and assists (14th, 2.9).
Entering this weekend, Butler is averaging 16.3 points in 28.9 minutes per game. Butler was named Myrtle Beach Invitational MVP and picked up Big 12 Player of the Week honors on Nov. 25.
No. 31 — G MaCio Teague | 6-3, 195, jr.
As the only other Bear averaging double figures, Teague is posting 14.5 points per contest for a one-loss Baylor squad.
Teague can make shots from deep. In fact, he had his streak of 37 consecutive games with a made 3-pointer snapped when he went 0-for-2 from downtown in Baylor’s win at Texas Tech last time out. He’s made multiple 3-pointers in 30 of his last 38 games.
This season, Teague ranks ninth in the Big 12 in scoring and sixth in 3-pointers per game with an average of 2.2 triples per outing.
No. 33 — F Freddie Gillespie | 6-9, 245, sr.
Gillespie has grown into his starting role for the Bears, providing consistency in the lineup.
Gillespie has started 22 of the last 25 games since entering the starting lineup on Feb. 9, 2019 against Kansas State. Since then, Gillespie has been a force on the glass and provided consistent scoring as well for the Bears.
Through 13 games, Gillespie has five double-doubles and he is also tied for the Big 12 lead with eight double-digit rebounding games. He also ranks third nationally in offensive rebounding with an average of 4.3 rebounds per game.
MEET THE COACH
The Bears are coached by Scott Drew, who is 328-210 in his 17th season at BU and 348-221 in his 18th season overall.
ONE THING BAYLOR IS GOOD AT
Baylor has been effective on the offensive glass so far this season. The Bears are posting an offensive rebound rate of 38.4%. According to KenPom, only four teams in all of college basketball have a better offensive rebound rate.
ONE THING BAYLOR IS BAD AT
Look for Udoka Azubuike to have a big day as a rim protector, because Baylor has struggled in that area thus far. Opposing teams have posted a block rate of 12.9% against the Bears, which is 344th in the nation via KenPom.
Kansas is an eight-point favorite on most sportsbooks as of Friday night. That number seems too high for me, considering this should be a low-scoring affair. Baylor just won at Texas Tech, so it has to have confidence playing on the road. It also remains to be seen how the weather will impact the crowd in Allen Fieldhouse. Give me the points, but I think the Jayhawks win this one.
Prediction: Kansas 68, Baylor 63
This year’s record ATS: 7-6