KANSAS, BAYLOR BATTLE IN WHAT’S BECOMING A MYSTERIOUS BIG 12 BASKETBALL SEASON
Before the season started, it was generally assumed that the #12 Kansas Jayhawks would once again be the dominant force in the Big 12. They always are…even when bringing in new faces to replace departing stars. If anyone was going to unseat them, it might be the up-and-coming Texas Longhorns who seemed loaded for bear for the first time in years.
*Kansas was crushed recently by Temple 77-52!
*Texas lost a home game to mediocre Stanford, and was just obliterated by OU
Suddenly, nothing’s certain in the Big 12. And, we have some Bears who are loaded for everyone else if #21 Baylor can make a statement Wednesday night in Waco when the Jayhawks come to visit in a game you can watch on ESPNU.
Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S favorite college basketball indicators stats (available publicly at the website of college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy) have to say about this Big 12 blockbuster (or Big 12 “pretender exposer!)…
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency
Kansas: 111.6 per 100 possessions (#17 in the nation)
Baylor: 111.3 per 100 possessions (#20 in the nation)
These teams are virtually identical offensively, even if you don’t naturally think of them that way. Pomeroy adjusts for pace (Baylor plays much slower), and strength of schedule (Kansas has had it much tougher). Once you do that, it’s the same team in terms of scoring the basketball.
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency
Kansas: 93.0 per 100 possessions (#45 in the nation)
Baylor: 92.7 per 100 possessions (#43 in the nation)
Hey, it’s the same team on both sides of the floor! Seriously, you’d be hardpressed to find two more identical teams anywhere in the nation, as Kansas and Baylor are separated by only three tenths of a point per 100 possessions on both offense and defense. Handicappers must keep in mind though that early season basketball can be misleading. As good a job as Pomeroy does with his adjustments…it’s possible that Baylor’s soft early schedule is giving a false read. For now, these teams are twins outside of pace. In terms of national importance, that’s a bad sign for Kansas and a good sign for Baylor that they’ve become each other once you clean off the windshield.
This is why the media (and too many handicappers unfortunately) don’t realize how even Kansas and Baylor are. Kansas plays at a much faster pace, which creates the illusion of being better on offense but worse on defense. Both teams are top 20 on offense once you make adjustments, but not top 40 on defense. That’s very disappointing for Kansas, who usually plays better than realized when it comes to getting stops.
Against the Spread
Both teams have winning ATS records thus far. Naturally, they’re both two games over .500! It’s worth noting though that Kansas has played a dozen board games while Baylor has played only eight. Kansas is likely to be more battle-tested for the rigors of league action. Though, we have to admit that struggling while learning how to be battle tested isn’t a great way to go!
Of note for Kansas this season…
*Kansas (+7) lost to Kentucky 72–40, suggesting they’re nowhere near national championship caliber yet.
*Kansas beat Michigan State 61-56 which seemed important until the Spartans lost to Texas Southern and Maryland.
*Kansas fell way behind Florida before rallying for a 71-65 victory at home. Florida is struggling badly this season compared to recent seasons…so the first half in Lawrence was particularly awful for the hosts.
*Kansas just lost that stunner at Temple 77-52, where the Owls were an astonishing 21 of 28 on two-point shots. That shouldn’t even be possible against the athletes that Kansas recruits. An almost unbelievable result.
Keep all of this in mind as you handicap and watch Kansas/Baylor. The Big 12 could be really wide open this season…with ultimately NEITHER of these teams being in the championship mix. We’ll dig much deeper into the league once football is out of the way. For now, be sure you’re on red alert. Figure out reality before the oddsmakers do!
As we write this, it’s not confirmed yet that Baylor/Kansas will be part of the full Wednesday night ticket. You can purchase the final word in the hours before tipoff right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office during normal business hours Wednesday or any day this week at 1-800-323-4453. Be sure to ask about combination packages that mix college hoops with the rest of football.
We’ll be returning to football the next FIVE days here in the NOTEBOOK with stat previews for every matchup in what is shaping up as a true showcase weekend. Here’s this week’s NOTEBOOK schedule for the NFL and college football…
Thursday: Early Playoff Look…Baltimore at New England Saturday on NBC
Friday: Early Playoff Look…Carolina at Seattle Saturday on FOX
Saturday: Early Playoff Look…Dallas at Green Bay Sunday on FOX
Sunday: NFL Preview…Indianapolis at Denver on CBS
Monday: College Football Championship Preview…Oregon vs. Ohio State
Wow…fasten your seat belts for THAT! And, then prepare for a wild ride in college basketball all the way through MARCH MADNESS. Whatever the sport…whatever’s at stake…you’re going to GET THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!
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Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley
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