College Basketball Game of the Week: Kansas vs. Baylor
The Kansas Jayhawks, coached by Bill Self, are one of college basketball’s bluebloods that play in March Madness almost every year. Nothing has changed this year, with the No.3 Jayhawks putting themselves in position to make another deep NCAA tournament run.
Kansas has won its past 11 games and most of them have not been even close. This team is a veteran led squad by star center and Wooden Award candidate Udoka Azubuike. Nothing is stopping them from winning the Big 12, besides the team they are playing on Saturday.
The No. 1 Bears are having their best season so far in program history. They are on a Big 12 record 23-game win streak, playing vicious defense. This veteran led squad is built for a late NCAA tournament run.
This game may decide the Big 12 regular season conference champion. Kansas is looking for revenge after Baylor came into Allen Fieldhouse and handed the Jayhawks a loss earlier this season.
Keys to the Game for Baylor
To win this game, Baylor needs to continue to play exceptional defense. The Bears beat Kansas in their matchup earlier this year 67-55 and if they repeat that defensive performance this game is a wrap. The Baylor defenders stick to guarding their own man as good as anyone else in the nation. If the star guards Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell lock down Kansas’s backcourt the game will be miserable for the Jayhawks.
The second key for Baylor will be stopping Azubuike, which is a tall task for any team. The Bears held him to six points and 11 rebounds in the earlier meeting between the teams, which is unbelievable considering his size. They need to keep Azubuike contained and force someone else to beat them.
Keys to the Game for Kansas
Coach Self will be the key for Kansas in a hostile road environment. The Jayhawks have the talent to pull off the upset, but coach Self will need to get the team in the right mind set. If he gets Azubuike and star guard Devon Dotson motivated to dominate with good pick and roll play, then they will give Baylor a closer game.
The second key for Kansas is Azubuike’s offensive rebounding, because it completely changes the rhythm of games. If he can dominate the boards in this matchup, Kansas will have enough extra possessions to give itself a chance to beat a physical Baylor team. There will need to be a large deficit on the boards for the Jayhawks to come out with a victory.
No. 1 Baylor and No. 3 Kansas will battle in one of the most critical games of the season. This matchup will be different from the previous Baylor victory, and Kansas will dominate the boards. The extra possessions will be the difference and Kansas will boost its stock for a No.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Prediction: Kansas 65, Baylor 61
Ben Geller is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org