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Kansas - Baylor Preview

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas goes for the season sweep over Baylor tonight (barring a fourth meeting in the NCAA tournament) after both teams posted impressive quarterfinal victories.

Baylor has been almost a mini Iowa State this season in that its offense has been very good (1.11 PPP, 3rd) but its defense has been very bad (1.09 PPP allowed, 8th). Baylor also has some K State tendencies in that they get a lot of points by hitting the offensive glass (40.2 percent offensive rebound rate) and getting to the line. However, Baylor also shoots 38 percent from three and 50 percent from two, so it's much more than the rebounding.

Defensively, Baylor plays that zone defense which at times has given teams fits, but has a habit of giving up a lot of open shots. They'll certainly play zone better than K State did yesterday (partially because they have the athletes to do so) but Baylor is last in the league in giving up assisted field goals for a reason. Look for Perry Ellis, Jamari Traylor, and Carlton Bragg to set up camp right above the free throw line and then either attack or shoot that little 17 foot jumper (maybe not you on that one, Jamari).

The big key, obviously, will be keeping Baylor off the glass. They did an incredible job of it in Allen Fieldhouse but an incredibly awful  job of it in Waco. The other big key is Baylor's lack of three point attempts. Although the Bears shoot it well from deep, they are 10th in 3PA/FGA, which means any lead they build or any comeback they have will probably have to be done 2 by 2, which is a much tougher ask.

Players to Watch

Rico Gathers is coming to the end of his career before trying his hand at the NFL, and what a career it has been. He led the league in offensive rebounding and ranked 3rd in defensive rebounding this year, and the senior also shot 47 percent from two (which is probably not great considering a lot of his shots are putbacks). Gathers also is shooting 100% from three for his career, so watch out Brannen Greene.

Johnathan Motley has been great lately for the Bears. Motley shoots 63 percent from two against Big 12 teams, is 6th in offensive rebounding, and is 3rd in block percentage. He's awesome. And just a sophomore. Yikes.

Taurean Prince is also coming to the end of his career, and he's blossomed into the go to guy of one of the best offenses in the country. Prince shot 49 percent from two and 37 percent from three in Big 12 play, and is a pretty good rebounder as well. Not hard to see why a lot of people think he's a first round pick.

The Pick

Baylor is a pretty darn good team, and I certainly wouldn't be surprised to see them come away with the win today. However, Kansas (mostly) does a really good job with that zone, and if they can avoid either getting murdered on the glass or Baylor going nuts from three the Jayhawks should win this one. I'll take them to win it 73-66.