Kansas had its streak of Big 12 regular-season titles snapped last season by Texas Tech and Kansas State, and if there's a team capable of keeping the Jayhawks from winning the conference two years in a row, it might be the Baylor Bears.
They'll square off today in a game that could be a litmus test of whether or not the Big 12 is Kansas' conference to lose once again or if this is the year of the Bears.
Kansas vs. Baylor: Time, TV channel
No. 3 Kansas will host No. 4 Baylor at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 11. The game will be on CBS. Click or tap here for live stats.
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Kansas vs. Baylor: Preview
The two best teams in the Big 12 will meet for the first time this season, when Kansas (12-2, 2-0 Big 12) hosts Baylor (12-1, 2-0 Big 12). The Bears climbed two spots in this week's AP poll, making this a top-five matchup and likely one of the biggest games so far this season.
Baylor will arrive in Allen Fieldhouse with one of the longest winning streaks in the country, 11 games, after a neutral-court loss to Washington in early November. The Bears boast the No. 8 defense in the country, which bodes well if the saying that "defense travels" holds true on Saturday.
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The Bears are great at interior defense (41.4 percent opponent 2-point percentage, ninth nationally) and getting their hands on steals (12.4 percent steal rate, 19th nationally), which sets up an intriguing matchup with the Jayhawks, who have the second-highest 2-point percentage in the country (57.7 percent) and a national player of the year candidate in point guard Devon Dotson.
Kansas will start two big men — 7-foot senior Udoka Azubuike and 6-10 sophomore David McCormack — but the Jayhawks are capable of playing three wings together — Marcus Garrett, Isaiah Moss, Ochai Agbaji and/or Christian Braun — for more lineup versatility.
That's where the chess match between Kansas coach Bill Self and Baylor coach Scott Drew will likely occur.
Baylor often plays four guards/wings simultaneously with one big man, Freddie Gillespie, Matthew Mayer, Flo Thamba or Tristan Clark. Will Kansas trade interior domination on offense for potentially risky matchups at the "four" on defense?
Or will the 3-point shooting of Baylor's Jared Butler (40.2 percent), Devonte Bandoo (42.5 percent) and MaCio Teague (34.6 percent) force Kansas to more of a wing-oriented lineup? The Jayhawks allow one of the highest 3-point attempt percentages in the country (47.1 percent of opponents' shots are threes), so there will be shots available from deep for the Bears.
Kansas vs. Baylor: Prediction