KANSAS STATE (17-8, 6-7 Big 12) AT NO. 10 BAYLOR (22-4, 9-4 Big 12)
Time: 1:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m. CT)
TV: Big 12 Network/Altitude/ESPN Full Court
Location: Ferrell Center in Waco, Tex.
Kansas State 57 (No. 6 Big 12)
Baylor 6 (No. 2 Big 12)
Line: Baylor -7.5 (137.5 o/u)
Kansas State Players to Watch: F Jamar Samuels, 6-7 Sr. (10 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.2 apg); G Rodney McGruder, 6-4 Jr. (14.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.2 spg); F Thomas Gipson, 6-7 Fr. (8.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 50% FG). Samuels earned his 10th career double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds in Monday’s 59-53 loss to Kansas. He hit four of his six 3-points shots on the night.
Players to Watch:
F Perry Jones III, 6-11 So. (14 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 52.1%
FG); G Pierre Jackson, 5-10 Jr. (12.4 ppg, 5.9 apg, 2.8 rpg); F Quincy Acy, 6-7
Sr. (12.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 58.3% FG). Jackson has 92 assists in his last 12 games,
including a 9-assist performance in Monday’s 79-64 win over Iowa State, after
having 61 assists in his first 14.
Storylines: Baylor is a lock for the NCAA Tournament but appears to be out of the Big 12 race with back-to-back losses to Kansas and Missouri last week. K-State is on the NCAA bubble after four losses in its last six games, including defeats at Texas (75-64 on Feb. 11) and at home to Kansas (59-53 on Monday) in its last two outings.
Key Stats: Baylor held the Wildcats to one basket over the final five minutes in a 75-73 win in Manhattan on Jan. 10. The Bears shot 53.7 percent from the floor in the win. Baylor is second in the Big 12 in scoring at 75.2 points per game, while K-State is third in scoring defense, holding opponents to 63 points. The Bears lead the league in 3-point percentage, connecting on 178 of 456 3-point shots (39 percent) this year. The Wildcats have the third-best 3-point defense in conference, holding opponents to 30.7 percent. The Wildcats lead the Big 12 in rebounds per game (38.7) and are second in rebounding margin (plus-6). They are also second in turnover margin at plus-1.7. These are two of the most balanced teams in the Big 12. Kansas State has seven players averaging five or more points, four who average four or more boards and has had eight different players who have led the team in scoring for a game. Baylor has four players averaging double-figures and another who averages nine per game. Baylor has lost to just two teams this season – twice to No. 3 Missouri and twice to No. 4 Kansas. After meeting Baylor on Saturday, the Wildcats go to Missouri on Tuesday, marking the second time in school history that the Wildcats will have faced three straight top-10 opponents. KSU is 3-4 on the road this season, including a 2-4 mark in Big 12 play. The Bears are 12-2 at home this year. Kansas State leads the all-time series 13-11.
The Bottom Line: Baylor has proven that when it plays teams with inferior talent, it is nearly automatic.
The Pick: Baylor 83, Kansas State 71