• WHEN/WHERE: 8 p.m. Monday at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence
• TV/RADIO: ESPN; KCSP (610 AM)
• ABOUT BAYLOR (11-4, 3-0 Big 12): While Kansas was slogging through a victory over Texas Tech, Baylor was doing the same against Big 12 lightweight TCU. The Bears came away with a 51-40 victory in Waco, Texas. Selected to finish second behind KU in the Big 12, Baylor features preseason Big 12 player of the year Pierre Jackson at point guard. Jackson is averaging more than 19 points per game, making up for the losses of frontcourt standouts Perry Jones, Quincy Miller and Quincy Acy. Freshman Isaiah Austin, a 7-foot-1 center, is a pro prospect, while KU coach Bill Self called junior forward Cory Jefferson the “Blake Griffin of the Big 12,” because he dunks everything. The Bears rank in the top 20 in offensive efficiency, while their defensive efficiency ranks 90th.
• ABOUT KANSAS (14-1, 2-0 Big 12): After beating teams by an average of 26.6 points per game in December, Kansas has hit a January lull. In the last three games, KU has averaged 12.3 turnovers while forcing just 10.3 turnovers per game. Teams are collapsing on center Jeff Withey, and KU’s bench has been inconsistent at times. But with Withey inside, the Jayhawks have continued to play solid defense. Their defensive field-goal percentage (38 percent) ranks third in the country. Last season, Kansas took both regular-season matchups with Baylor before falling to the Bears in the Big 12 tournament. Self, though, has always performed well against Baylor, and the Jayhawks are 9-0 against the Bears at Allen Fieldhouse. Self is also 28-6 in Big Monday games.
• BOTTOM LINE: It’s still early, but Baylor is one of the few teams that has the talent to knock KU from its’ Big 12 perch. But the Bears can be maddeningly inconsistent. And back inside Allen Fieldhouse, KU can regain some momentum while picking up an early game in the Big 12 standings.
| Rustin Dodd, firstname.lastname@example.org