The Baylor Bears saw their 22-game winning streak snapped last weekend at the hands of the Kansas Jayhawks in Waco, 64-61. On Tuesday night, they will look to start a new winning streak while hosting the 9-18 Kansas State Wildcats.
Kansas State is currently in last place in the Big 12, having lost 13 of their last 15 games. The Wildcats are also just 2-12 in conference play.
The 24-2 Bears have already defeated the Wildcats once this season, a closer than expected 73-67 victory in Manhattan, Kan., roughly three weeks ago.
The Baylor defense, which has been stellar all season, allowed a Kansas State team that averages just 0.81 points per possession on the season to average a full point per possession that game. If I were a betting man, which I am, I think that the Bears will be more focused this time around.
The Wildcats are led by two upperclassmen in Xavier Sneed and Cartier Diarra, both of whom average at least 12.9 points per game (Sneed averages 14.3). As usual, K-State is one of the slowest teams in the nation that relies heavily upon its defense.
The problem is, the offense is terribly inefficient, ranking 186th in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency and 325th in points per game.
Meanwhile, the Baylor Bears rank second in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency and 21st in offensive efficiency as one of the most well-rounded teams in the nation according to the metrics.
Baylor is a 14-point favorite at home, with the over/under set at 122.
A tall order for Kansas State
It has been a tough season for Bruce Weber as Kansas State has been unable to replace much of the near 60% of scoring lost from last season. The Wildcats are just 1-12 straight up in games away from home this season but are 5-4 against the spread in true road games.
The Wildcats are an underwhelming 11-16 ATS overall this season. As a dog, they are also a putrid 1-12 straight up. The total has hit the over in eight of the Wildcats’ 13 games away from home on the season and eight of their last 12 games overall.
Bears have been a good bet all season
Baylor has been one of the best teams in the nation to wager on this season at 17-9, the best in the Big 12. They have also covered in 11 of their last 14 games overall. They outperform the spread by an average of +3.1 points per game and are 20-2 straight up this season as a favorite.
At home, the Bears are 12-1 straight up but just 6-7 against the spread. Baylor’s defense is likely to keep the score lower at home as well, going under the total in nine of their 13 home games this season.
To play or not to play?
This is a tricky game. Kansas State has already shown that they can hang with the Bears once this season. However, the Bears are coming off of a home loss and very well could be amped up to go out there and show they really are the best team in the nation.
The average margin of victory for the Bears this season is just over 12 points per game, and while their defense is elite, their offense is only marginally better than Kansas State’s at 0.88 points per possession. The Wildcats are one of the best teams in the nation at turning over their opponents, and Baylor is not exactly great at protecting the ball.
Look for the Wildcats to cover, but Baylor will ultimately win the game. I would also play the over at 122.