Of all conferences, the Big 12 is the toughest in the country. Of the ten teams in the Big 12, six are projected to make the big dance, the third most of any conference.
Even though the Big 12 doesn’t have the highest quantity of teams making the NCAA Tournament, they arguably have the highest quality teams. Of the top ten teams in the country, three are in the Big 12 (Baylor, Kansas, and Texas Tech).
On Saturday night, the arguably two best teams in the conference face off in Waco, TX, as Baylor hosts Kansas. In their first game at Kansas, the Jayhawks won 83-59 as a narrow favorite.
With Baylor having a homecourt advantage for the rematch, the question is if they can have a different result than three weeks ago.
Please note that all college basketball odds and lines are not listed as of 11:30 a.m. ET on Friday, February 25.
Kansas vs. Baylor Predictions
Baylor was a favorite to win the National Championship at one point in the season. They had an undefeated record in non-conference play in November and December and were ranked as the No. 1 team in the country by KenPom.
What happened to Baylor that caused them to fall?
What happened was the grinder of the Big 12 conference play. The Bears lost to Kansas, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech (twice). Baylor hasn’t beaten a top 25 opponent outside of Texas and Villanova.
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One way to look at Baylor’s strength as a team is to look at their adjusted efficiency stats.
Due to the Bears playing the 16th toughest schedule in the country, their regular efficiency stats won’t show how good they are because they aren’t adjusted for opponents. Once you factor in Baylor’s opponents, they have the ninth-best offensive efficiency and the 15th best defensive efficiency.
Kansas is not chopped liver, either. They’re the whole chicken. The Jayhawks have the 4th best offensive efficiency and play at a fast tempo.
Kansas thrives when it can quickly score points and have a large lead early in the game as they have an average scoring margin of +11.8, which is the 14th best in the country. On the other hand, Baylor has an average scoring margin of +14.
Picking the winner of Saturday’s game is tough, but I believe that Baylor will split the season series. Whoever wins, in my opinion, will win by eight or more points.
Kansas vs. Baylor Prediction: Baylor 83, Kansas 74
Kansas vs. Baylor Best Bet
Best Bet: Baylor Alt Line -7.5 if +175 or better
Wager: 1.5 Units
There is a wide range of outcomes for any basketball game. Teams could narrowly win, or they could win in a blowout.
I believe that the Kansas/Baylor game winner will win by a large margin, as we have two strong offensive teams playing in an up-tempo game. The most likely winner is Baylor, as these are two nearly equal teams playing in Baylor’s arena.
With the Bears, when it rains, it pours. They have a great offense and defense, and eventually, they will beat a top program by a large margin. It will either be on Saturday night (fingers crossed) or during the Big 12 Conference Tournament.
When a team is as talented as Baylor, it is hard to believe that they can’t beat the best teams in the country.