Was that the regular season game of the year Saturday in Waco? It goes on the short list, anyway, now that No. 3 Kansas has taken down No. 1 Baylor and its 23-game winning streak, 64-61. When Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper are in the house, you know it’s a big game.
And so, High Noon in the Big 12 in numbers and words — 14 important statistics and five telling comments from the day Kansas made its case to return to No. 1.
1958 — That’s the last time Kansas won a true road game against a top-ranked opponent. Seems a little odd, doesn’t it? The Jayhawks have been accomplishing something or another nearly non-stop over the six decades since, but never that.
35:46 — That’s how long Kansas had the lead Saturday. It must have felt strange to the Baylor fans because they’re accustomed to cheering for frontrunners. In their past 19 victories, the Bears had been behind only 74 of 760 minutes.
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13-1 — Kansas and Baylor's records in the Big 12, including each going 7-0 on the road. The rest of the league is back somewhere in the dust, with Texas Tech being the closest at 4 ½ games behind, pending its Saturday evening game, with everyone else at least six off the pace. The two leaders split their season series, which means the Jayhawks and Bears are 1-1 against each other and 24-0 against the rest of the conference. A bit surprising: Kansas reeled off 14 consecutive league season titles until being stopped last season, but hasn’t been as good as 13-1 since 2010.
5 — Baylor had been No. 1 for five weeks, the longest stretch in the Associated Press poll since 2015. This, after a near-weekly changing of the guard at the top earlier this season. Kansas is one of the other six teams to be there, and it looks as if the Jayhawks might be back.
11 — Kansas’ biggest lead. The largest deficit Baylor had faced at home this season before Saturday was two points.
21-4 — Kansas’ record in its past 25 games against Associated Press top-10 opponents. That’s mighty impressive, but this is worth even more of a Wow: The Jayhawks are 9-1 in their past 10 true road games against top-10 teams.
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8 — Dunks for Udoka Azubuike, out of 11 made field goals. That helps explain his 11-for-13 shooting. Hard to miss from six inches away. He blocked one more shot than he missed Saturday.19 — To continue with the Azubuike testimonial, he had that many rebounds Saturday. Since the two teams combined for 66, that means 28.8 percent of every rebound in the game ended up in his hands.
402-31 — Kansas’ record when leading at halftime during the Bill Self area, including 19-0 this season. So that 34-31 Jayhawks’ lead at intermission Saturday was not good news for the Bears.
6-1 — Baylor’s record against ranked opponents this season after the loss. Which still ain’t bad.
39.2 — Kansas’ shooting percentage in its 67-55 defeat by Baylor in January.
50.9 — The Jayhawks’ shootiinig percentage Saturday. You’d think they’d have been lower on the road and higher at home, but it was actually the other way around. If that seems a tad illogical, welcome to the 2019-20 season.
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15-10 — Baylor’s edge in points off turnovers Saturday. In their first meeting, it was 21-2. Also, the Bears were 5-for-7 from the free throw line in their victory, but 8-for-15 Saturday. Scott Drew’s summation: “I liked the first game against Kansas better than this one.”
46-3 — The combined record of Baylor and Kansas against everyone not named Baylor or Kansas.
Bill Self on the game’s significance to Kansas: “It meant a lot to our guys, a lot more than a league race. We didn’t talk about the league race. It meant a lot to us (because) they beat us the first time, we’re home and they controlled it. They controlled the game at (Lawrence) a lot more than we controlled the game here. But I think we were pretty motivated to play a highly competitive game in a great atmosphere. You know with a lot of eyeballs watching it today, that meant a lot more to us than the actual league race.”
Self on the Bears: “I think Baylor is the best team that we have played against since I’ve been in the league the last 17 years.”
Kansas’ Devon Dotson, on if the Jayhawks sent a message Saturday: “We’re a silent team that can make a run late in March. We’re not going to get complacent from this one. We’re going to build off of it. We’re going to enjoy this win, but build off of it for sure.”
Baylor coach Scott Drew: “We’re both elite defensively. There’s 353 teams and you have two of the top three defenses with us and Kansas. Nothing’s easy, except when it’s a 12-foot lob to Dok [Udoka Azubuike] and he’s the only one up there. Other than that, everything’s tough.”
"As a competitor, I want to play them again, 100 percent. But Kansas doesn't rule my life. I want to win a Big 12 championship. The goal wasn't to sweep Kansas, it was to win a Big 12 championship."
They might not be done with one another, of course. Baylor-Kansas Part III in the Big 12 tournament championship? And Part IV in Atlanta in early April?