KenPom had Baylor as a seven-point favorite coming into this one. Torvik had the Bears by six. Vegas, however, had something a bit more in KU's favor, with Jayhawks at times getting as close as just 3.5-point underdogs.
It quickly became apparent that the gamblers were onto something. Baylor had a long pause due to COVID and weather issues, and showed obvious rust against Iowa State in their return four days ago. They certainly didn't look like worldbeaters in Lawrence, either. The first half saw a close game, one that Kansas led most of the way, even if only slightly. David McCormack helped keep the advantage in KU's favor by scoring 14, and the Jayhawks were holding onto a 33-30 lead after ending the half on a 7-0 run in the final 2:00 minutes of the half.
Kansas increased the lead out of the gate in the second half, extending it to ten about five minutes in, 43-33. Baylor quickly whittled the lead down to three, but five-straight Dajuan Harris points made it 43-35 at the under-12 break. Baylor continued to hang around for a while, but struggled to match KU’s energy down the stretch. The Jayhawks pushed the lead back to double digits with 4:20 remaining, 63-52, and the outcome already felt clear. The Bears cut it back to a seven point deficit, but would never draw any closer.
The Jayhawks knocked off undefeated Baylor in the end, 71-58.
McCormack would finish with a game high 20, accompanied by three blocks. Jalen Wilson scored just seven, but grabbed a game high 13 rebounds. On his senior night, Marcus Garrett scored 14, while grabbing seven boards.
Perhaps the most impressive part of this victory was handily beating Baylor without any boost from behind the arc. The Jayhawks’ recent three-point struggles continued tonight, as they went just 3-16 from behind the arc. On the other side, Baylor’s shooting was atrocious from everywhere. They hit just 35% of their shots overall, including 23% of their threes and going just 6-16 (37.5%) from the free throw line.
Baylor still has several Big 12 games to make up next week, but conference play is now over for Kansas. They finish 12-6 in Big 12 play, with only a recently scheduled non-conference matchup with UTEP in Allen Fieldhouse remaining on Thursday, March 4. Their position in the standings is very much up in the air, as every other team in the conference will be getting at least one additional game over next week.