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Baylor’s unbeaten, talented and ‘terrific’ ... but Kansas is favored


Mike Miller

Bill Self’s not scared of Baylor. But count the Kansas coach among those pumped to see how the Jayhawks fare against a team with at least three future pros on its roster.

Not to mention that the unbeaten Bears are rolling. Saturday’s 106-65 victory against Oklahoma State will give any coach something to think about.

“They won by 40 against Okie State and probably didn’t even break a sweat doing it,” Self said Saturday. “I wish we had more than one day to prepare. They are long, and they have pros, and it will be fun to see our guys match up against them.”

The matchup to watch is Baylor’s Perry Jones III against Kansas’ Thomas Robinson.

Jones, a 6-11, 235-pound power forward has overall decent stats (13.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg), but he’s the most physically gifted player on the floor. Robinson – the 6-9, 240-pound PF goes for 17.2 points and 12.2 rebounds a game – plays harder, and his stat line shows it. But Perry’s longer, a little more mobile and has a better supporting cast.

Guys like Quincy Acy, Quincy Miller and Pierre Jackson are big, strong and capable of carrying the Bears at times. The bench is deeper than Kansas’ and their 2-3 zone will present Kansas with issue, mostly because the Jayhawks (14-3) haven’t seen a lot of zone.

“They are terrific,” Self told the Lawrence Journal-World. “They play (2-3) zone. It’s different. We can’t simulate their length in practice. I wish we had more than one day to prepare for their zone.”

But here’s the thing: If Baylor boasts the better record (17-0) and has better players, why is Kansas a 5½-point favorite?

It’s not like the Bears played a cupcake schedule to get here, either. They’ve beaten SDSU, Northwestern, St. Mary’s, BYU, West Virginia and Miss State. Only one of those games was at home. Scott Drew’s team is worthy of any hype it receives, so why don’t oddsmakers believe in them?

Two reasons: Kansas’ defense is better than Baylor’s and it’s playing at home. Both make the ‘Hawks a slight favorite (maybe 3 points) and call it a coin-flip game. When they head to Wace next month, the Bears will certainly be favored.

And possibly working on a Big 12 title.

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