Can Kansas basketball handle Baylor’s red-hot offense? Plus prediction & betting odds

The No. 7-ranked Kansas men’s basketball team will travel to Waco to play Baylor on Saturday.

The Jayhawks (21-7, 9-6 Big 12) lost to BYU on Tuesday. Meanwhile, BU beat TCU on Monday.

Kansas beat Baylor in Allen Fieldhouse in the first meeting of these teams in February.

Below is a scouting report and prediction of the game...

No. 7 Kansas vs. No. 15 Baylor

When/where: 12 p.m., Foster Pavilion (Waco)

TV/Streaming: ABC

Opponent’s record: 20-8, 9-6 Big 12

KenPom (Ken Pomeroy) Ranking: 14

Betting line: Baylor (-4.5)

All statistics are from, and EvanMiya. KenPom stats only include Division I competition.

Baylor team strengths

  • Effective defense: The Bears rank No. 5 in adjusted offensive efficiency (123). Adjusted offensive efficiency is the amount of points scored per 100 possessions, adjusted for opponent. By comparison, Kansas ranks No. 47 in the same category.

  • 3-point maestros: BU ranks No. 2 in 3-point percentage (40.4%).

  • Quality strength of schedule: Baylor has played plenty of formidable opponents, ranking No. 4 in strength of schedule.

Baylor team weaknesses

  • Turnover galore: BU ranks No. 207 in turnover percentage (18).

  • Struggle to defend inside the arc: The Bears struggle to defend 2-point shots, ranking No. 226 in opponent 2-point percentage (51.6%).

Baylor Name to Know

6-foot-5 freshman guard Ja’Kobe Walter (No. 5)

+ Leading scorer (14.8 ppg)

+ Decent rebounder for his size (4.4 rebounds per game)

+ Good free-throw shooter (shooting 84.7% from the line)

+ Quick hands (1.2 steals per game)

- Doesn’t pass much (1.5 APG)

- Turnover prone (2.1 turnovers per game)

Tale of the Tape

Although Baylor is more known for its 3-point shooting, BU’s Yves Missi is a monster inside.

About 73% of his shots come at the rim, and he’s shooting a red-hot 74.8% in that area. Here, Missi converted an easy lob inside after the Baylor guard drew defenders away from the paint.

This presents a traditional big-man challenge for center Hunter Dickinson, at least while the 7-foot Missi is on the court. In the first meeting, Missi scored 21 points on 6-for-9 shooting with eight rebounds. He also got to the line for 12 free throws.

Dickinson and the Jayhawks must form a wall against him to keep him from getting easy baskets.

Game prediction

This game will be an uphill battle for KU, especially if Kevin McCullar misses it.

The Jayhawks have only two road Big 12 wins — both in the state of Oklahoma (vs. OSU and OU) — so KU’s road struggles have been a concern all season.

Add in the fact that Kansas struggles to defend 3-pointers and doesn’t make a ton itself, and it’s a matchup where KU will need to drastically outscore the Bears in the paint.

Plus, KU needs limit turnovers. Right now, too much has to go right for Kansas to win, especially if McCullar remains out.

For that, I think KU will lose this game.

Baylor 75, Kansas 68

Shreyas’ pick to cover the spread: Baylor (-4.5)

Shreyas’ season record: 19-7

Shreyas’ record against the spread: 13-13

KU player to watch: Johnny Furphy

The Australian guard’s role on offense has become even more important without McCullar. After a hot start vs. BYU, Furphy only finished with 10 points while shooting 4-for-12 from the field.

If Kansas wants to win this game, the Jayhawks need the hyper-efficient version of Furphy that he’s showcased in other games. Otherwise, it’ll put even more pressure on big man Hunter Dickinson to produce on offense.

The fearless freshman can take pressure off the KU offense by splashing some outside shots early.