Baylor Bears vs. Kansas Jayhawks Predictions 2/5/22
Baylor Bears (19-3 SU, 12-9-1 ATS) vs. Kansas Jayhawks (18-3, 9-12 ATS)
When: Saturday, February 5, 4 p.m.
Where: Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kan.
Point Spread: BAY +2.5/KU -2.5 (MyBookie)
Moneyline: BAY +125/KU -145
Last Time Out:Baylor beat West Virginia 81-77; Kansas handled Iowa State 70-61.
About the Matchup:This could be a great battle, or it could be one-way traffic depending on how healthy Baylor is going into this game. LJ Cryer and Adam Flagler are both game-time decisions for the Bears, and trying to face Kansas at Kansas without either one of them on the floor seems like it would be an unlikely proposition at best. The Bears were able to get away with it against West Virginia, but going without Cryer for the third straight game is a daunting task, especially going to Lawrence. If the Bears are healthy, they should have the edge here, as Kansas hasn’t shown that it can get rebounds inside and will likely struggle to keep Baylor off the glass. The Jayhawks got slammed by Kentucky because they couldn’t keep the Wildcats from dominating on the glass, With how Baylor keeps opponents from taking over on the boards, this could be a real struggle for Kansas — if injuries don’t keep the Bears from playing at full strength.
Scouting the Bears:Injuries have taken their toll on the defending champions, who are holding together to sit second in the Big 12 but are clearly not anywhere near full strength at the moment. Not only were Cryer and Flagler sidelined, but James Akinjo is also battling back issues, meaning Baylor’s three best scorers are all either already out of action or less than 100%. The Bears held together against West Virginia because Akinjo had a great game from the field and the Baylor defense kept the Mountaineers off the boards. Baylor won the rebounding battle 36-26, making sure that West Virginia wouldn’t really have much of a chance to extend its possessions. That might work against Kansas as well given the Jayhawks’ struggles on the glass, but it’s going to be a lot tougher to pull that trick off two games in a row. If Cryer and Flagler aren’t able to go, it’s difficult to see Baylor pulling this off.
Scouting the Jayhawks:Kansas did come up with a nice bounce-back game against Iowa State, but there’s still cause for concern here. On one hand, the Jayhawks shot 56 percent from the floor against the Cyclones, which nearly never happens. On the other hand, there’s another part of that game that might very well happen again: the 22 turnovers the Jayhawks committed. Kansas was sloppy with the ball that night, and it’s only because they shot the lights out that they were able to overcome the mistakes. Baylor forces plenty of turnovers, and if the Jayhawks can’t take better care of the ball, it’s going to be a long day for them. The turnovers should be improved with the return of Ochai Agbaji, who missed the Iowa State win because of COVID issues. Getting a big performance out of David McCormack (14 points, 14 rebounds in Ames) was a big step in the right direction for the Jayhawks as well, and they’ll need another big game from him to offset the Bears’ inside play. Baylor will Cover If: The Bears can force the Jayhawks into mistakes with the ball. Baylor knows how to put pressure on its opponents, and if the Bears can come up with steals and through Kansas off its game, they’ll have a big advantage. Kansas will Cover If: The Jayhawks can neutralize the Bears on the boards and limit them to one shot per trip. The loss to Kentucky seemed to wake Bill Self up to the fact that David McCormack is still on the squad and could be useful against a team that’s strong inside. McCormack can change the game inside in the right situation, and this is one that calls for him to step up in the paint.
Dan’s Best Prop BetsThese teams tend to play out rock fights whenever they get together, and if Baylor is down multiple players, this is likely to be a fairly low-scoring contest. A total of 147.5 seems like it’s a little high for this matchup.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the SpreadKansas is the healthier team right now, and that looks like trouble for Baylor. The Bears are more talented when everyone is on the floor, but they are not at full strength right now and Bill Self has rediscovered David McCormack. I’d wait to make sure Cryer and Flagler will or won’t play before making this bet. But for now, I’d back Kansas.
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