Odds between Baylor and Kansas State
The Big 12 is quite a mess.
The 10-team conference is one of the deepest leagues we’ve seen in recent college basketball history, with the entire conference ranked in the KenPom top 60.
Eight of the 10 teams are currently projected by the BracketMatrix to not only earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament, but be placed safely out of the bubble at the Round of 64.
Texas Tech, which started its conference play with an eight-game losing streak, is making a charge and even gaining some bubble consideration now.
This mess makes rating and handicapping these teams incredibly difficult. Every game feels like a must win to keep up and nothing on the schedule resembles an easy win.
Any team playing a Big 12 schedule needs to feel like John Wick, with another capable opponent always ready to pop out and take you down.
The Baylor Bears lost a rollercoaster game against Kansas on Saturday, while the Kansas State Wildcats survived a scare at home.
Both teams better be ready for another brawl, with Tuesday’s game in Manhattan sure to be competitive.
It’s not often that someone takes Kansas down at Allen Fieldhouse. When Baylor ran into the visitors’ locker room on Saturday afternoon, the Bears must have thought they were going to turn that trend around and sneak out Lawrence with a win.
Baylor led at halftime by 13 points, reaching a halftime peak of 16 points.
Bill Self and the Jayhawks had no intention of breaking the trend with a loss at home. They made some critical changes at halftime and then completely blitzed Baylor early in the second half. Kansas won the first 10 minutes after halftime 34-9.
While no team will be able to recreate the laser beam energy of a Kansas team charging back in front of a home crowd, opposing coaches may have extracted some kernels of information from that Kansas barrage.
Going into that game, Baylor was led solely by his backcourt. Adam Flagler, LJ Cryer and Keyonte George attacked a switching Kansas defense to find shots on the perimeter.
In the second half, Kansas stopped switching and began attacking Baylor guards, relying on stretched wingbacks to make the outfield look more difficult.
Baylor’s lack of size and dynamic offensive options in the paint became clear.
Over the course of the game, these three guards combined to score 57 points on 46 field goal attempts. The rest of the Bears roster added just 14 points on 13 shooting.
That recipe may have worked for Kansas, but it’s not easily replicated. Baylor’s guards are incredibly experienced and certainly skilled enough to weather the extra perimeter pressure.
Beyond that, few teams have the speed or length of the backline that Kansas has.
Forcing Baylor’s frontcourt to beat you is easier said than done. Scott Drew has big and capable wingers who are smart offensive players.
Other teams will try to get the ball away from Flager, Cryer and George, but all three are good shooters and great passers.
The Wildcats’ success is based on veteran leadership and production. Kansas State’s two best players — Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell — are both 23-year-old transferees in their fifth season of college basketball.
Johnson made his name in Florida before tragedy ended his time in Gainesville. He collapsed on the pitch in mid-game, eventually being diagnosed with a heart condition that was feared could be a threat to his career.
After not playing since December 2020, he was given the all-clear to return to the field, serving as the catalyst for Kansas State this season.
His midrange bully ball game in isolation is reminiscent of a young Carmelo Anthony.
Nowell, meanwhile, got his start in Little Rock. He was believed to be underpowered by bigger programs, but he has proven himself in the Sun Belt Conference and has shown that he is capable of dominating at a higher level in the Big 12 as well.
He led the conference in assist rate last season and will do so again this year.
While Johnson and Nowell spice things up offensively for the Wildcats, his K-State defense helps him win games.
First year head coach Jerome Tang has the Wildcats getting critical stoppages and forcing hard hitting consistently.
His time as Drew’s right-hand man at Baylor is evident in how relentlessly his team defends.
Prediction for betting between Baylor and Kansas State
There’s a lot of juice that goes into this game. Tang is a former Baylor assistant who stole a road win on his first trip back to Waco earlier this season.
The Bears will have revenge on their minds as they travel to Manhattan.
That revenge may have to wait until a later date. Kansas State has been very reliable at home. The Wildcats are 13-5 ATS, with only one loss in their building.
Of all the strong Big 12 teams, only Texas has been able to steal a win at the arena affectionately known as the “Octagon of Doom.”
The margins in these hotly contested Big 12 games are razor thin. I will take the home team who will take points when they have the chance.
If that’s the case, let’s hope Baylor is still reeling from Saturday’s slump in Kansas and gets swept up on its road trip to the Sunflower State.
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