The Bears take on Kansas in what could be a challenging showdown tonight on Big Monday
The Kansas Jayhawks return back to AFH after their 60-46 victory at Texas Tech in hopes that their recent struggles at home will end, and against Baylor that will not be an easy task. The last time Baylor played KU the Bears won 81-72, so hopefully this game will not replicate the last meeting. Baylor, led by G Pierre Jackson, brings into AFH their red hot 47% shooting in hopes of another KU upset, although G Ben McLemore knows how to prevent an upset at home.
When: Monday, January 14, 9:00 PM ET
Where Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS
Honestly, the Bears should be playing a lot better than they are. G Pierre Jackson (19.2 PPG-6.3 APG) leads the bears in scoring and assists and is followed by C Isaiah Austin (14.6 PPG-8.4 RPG), F Cory Jefferson (14.3 PPG-8.4 RPG), G Brady Heslip (8.9PPG-1.4 RPG) and G A.J. Walton (6.9 PPG-4.1 RPG-4.4 APG). The Combined PPG of the starting 5 is higher than the Jayhawks and yet they are playing way under the level they should be, kinda makes you wonder what HCBS could do with the talent in Waco
Much like Iowa State, Baylor is not a defensively minded team. While they have averaged 44 PPG in their last two games, those two teams were TCU and TTU. Throughout the course of the year, Baylor has given up 65.2 PPG, has let teams hit 44% from two point range and a 46% effective FG.
While there are are many things that can be said about the Jayhawk backcourt, besides that it is the best in the Big 12, one thing is that the KU backcourt works together very well. Each guard on the team plays their roles and doesn't get carried away, usually. Ben McLemore (16.4 PPG-5.2 RPG) is the go to scorer when KU needs one, Travis Releford (13.2 PPG-3.3 RPG) slashes towards the basket and gets dunks and layups, Elijah Johnson (9.8 PPG-5.5) kicks out assists and Naadir Tharpe (5.3 PPG-2.7 APG) plays a backup role very unselfishly. Needless to say, if the backcourt playing unselfishly, this team could go deep into April.
Weakness: Frontcourt Depth
C Jeff Withey (13.4 PPG-8.3 RPG-4.9 BPG) and F Kevin Young (8 PPG-7.1 RPG) have been running the frontcourt, at times without any help. F Perry Ellis (5.2 PPG-3.5 RPG) and F Jamari Traylor (2.6 PPG-2.9 RPG) that sometime look a little bit uncomfortable playing. I know they are just freshmen, but when you're an All American, you shouldn't be taking shots like Ellis has been taking. Ellis will develop into a starter next season, but until he can get more comfortable in the paint, he is anything but a starter.
Player Trending Up: F Kevin Young
Kevin Young has been playing phenomenally as of late and has arguably been the most constant scorer in the paint in his last three games. Young is averaging less than 10 point per game, but in his last three he has been averaging 13.3 and PPG-8.6 RPG. Young will need to be depended on more often if his bench can't
Trending Down: Closing Out Games at Home
This may be, and probably is, an over reaction to KU's last two home games, but the Jayhawks have been letting teams hang in games lately. In KU's last two games at home the Jayhawks have trailed in the second half and have only won by an average of 7.5 points. KU may need more than just Sunday to recharge their batteries if they are going to control the prolific Baylor offense, and if they can't it could be a long night for KU.
Prognosis: Given KU recent struggles at home, it is important that KU never lets Baylor go on a run, or even get within contention of winning. KU will look to utilize their 57% paint scoring average to tear up the Baylor interior, while also playing defense at the other end of the floor, which could bring trouble for KU going up against a 53.2% FG% from two. A blowout may not provide the most entertaining game for KU fans, though KU's last home game against ISU provided a little too much excitement, so a boring game would be just fine.