Baylor improved to 19-11 ATS in this tournament after upsetting Texas 75-61 yesterday. Now, Baylor seeks to avenge a series-sweep at the hands of Kansas, who defeated the Bears twice during the Big 12 Conference regular season (102-74; 66-60). Baylor possesses a well-balanced attack that is averaging 76.6 points per game on 46.6% shooting from the field and 37.8% from beyond the arc. The Bears are also reliable at the charity stripe where they are converting 73.3% of their attempts this season, including 72.7% on the road.
Kansas boasts an even more product attack that is averaging 81.9 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 70.5 points per game (49.5% FG; 42.7% 3-PT). The Jayhawks’ offense is just as potent on the road where they are averaging 77.6 points per game (49.3% FG; 40.6% 3-PT). Overall, Kansas is 11.4 points per game better than average offensively, which gives Bill Self’s squad a 7.3 points per game advantage over a decent Baylor stop unit (69.6 points per game to teams that would combine to average 73.7 points per game).
The extreme shooting disparity/variance that occurred in the two regular season meetings is also unlikely to happen again. Kansas shot 52.2% in its two wins over Baylor, whereas the Bears finished at 37.5%. More importantly, the Bears are hell-bent on avoiding a third straight loss to Kansas this season (7 straight losses overall). “I think we’re going to come out with a different intensity, because we can’t lose to them three times,” Johnathan Motley said.
That intensity was on full display Thursday when Baylor upset Texas as 2.5-point underdogs. Indeed, the Bears’ 2-3 zone defense limited Texas to just 38.3% shooting in the game. Let’s note that Baylor is 4-1 ATS versus No. 1 seeds in this event so an upset in Kansas City would not be surprising. Rico Gathers, who has been dealing with an illness, contributed 13 points in Baylor’s win.
Finally, the betting public has backed Kansas as if they had tomorrow morning’s newspaper, which has given us extra point spread value. Grab the points with Baylor as Oskeim Sports’ free Big 12 Conference Tournament winner.
Oskeim Sports’ Free Big 12 Conference Tournament Pick: Baylor (+7) (-105)