Waco, TX – The Ferrell Center is the venue for a top-10 ranked Baylor ranked Kansas Jayhawks in a crucial Big 12 battle this evening in Waco.
These two teams are tied for second place in the Big 12 standings at 8-2, just a half game behind league-leading Missouri (9-2). This marks the 20th all-time meeting in a series that has been dominated by Kansas, 17-2. The Jayhawks have won each of the last three meetings and are seeking the regular season sweep after posting an impressive 92-74 rout over Baylor in Lawrence back on January 16th.
Bill Self's Jayhawks have proved to be unbeatable at home this season thus far (12-0), but the road has been a different story, as Kansas is 6-5 when not at the Allen Fieldhouse. The team has dropped two of its last three games, with setbacks at Iowa State (72-64) and most recently, at Missouri (74-71).
Scott Drew's Bears are 11-1 at home, with the lone loss at the Ferrell Center coming on January 21st to then fifth-ranked Missouri (89-88). Since then, Baylor has won four straight games, including last weekend's 64-60 victory at Oklahoma State.
Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor did what they do best, but a combined 46 points between them still wasn't enough in a three-point setback to Missouri in Columbia this past weekend. Robinson once again did his damage down low, finishing with his 16th double-double of the season, posting 25 points and 13 rebounds. Taylor poured in 21 points, but the two also combined for 11 of the team's 15 turnovers. Elijah Johnson added 11 points for Kansas, which despite shooting 53.6 percent from the floor, was unable to earn the win.
Robinson's name is certainly on everyone's short list when it comes to potential National Player of the Year nominees. The 6-10 junior power forward is converting nearly 55 percent of his shots this year, leading the Jayhawks in scoring (18.0 ppg) and the Big 12 in rebounding (12.0 rpg). Taylor is both a prolific scorer (16.9 ppg) and deft distributor (5.2 apg) and can really extend defenses, preventing them from collapsing down on Robinson, as he is shooting a healthy .440 from behind the arc (37-of-84). Travis Releford (9.6 ppg), Johnson (9.2 ppg) and Jeff Withey (8.1 ppg) round out the starting five. The Jayhawks have played well at both ends of the floor and enjoy a solid +14.1 scoring margin as a result.
The Bears are similar in their offensive approach, as they can score both inside and out as well. Baylor may have a bit more depth however, with a strong frontcourt trio, as well as a balanced backcourt. Forward Perry Jones III leads the team in scoring (14.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.9 rpg), converting just over 55 percent from the floor. Fellow forwards Quincy Acy (12.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and Quincy Miller (12.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg) add depth up front. Point guard Pierre Jackson (12.7 ppg, 5.9 apg) is charged with running the offense and has the ability to both distribute and find his own shot. Fellow guard Brady Heslip (9.6 ppg) gives the team a second long range threat, as he and Jackson has combined for 101 of the team's 166 three-pointers to date.
Baylor displayed its strong defensive skills in the win over Oklahoma State this past weekend, holding the hometown Cowboys to just 40 percent from the floor and outrebounding OSU 39-29. In addition, BU was able to score 22 points off of 14 Oklahoma State turnovers. Jones and Acy both recorded double-doubles in the win, as Jones finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Acy posted 11 points and 12 boards. Jackson tied for team-high in scoring with 16 points of his own.