Number 1 Baylor (24-1) is hosting Number 3 Kansas (23-3) on Saturday in a potential Final Four matchup. Both teams received preliminary No. 1 seeds from the NCAA selection committee and there was a bit of separation between the No. 1 seeds and everyone else.
This is the second time these two teams have faced each other this year, with Baylor pulling off a 67-55 win at Allen Fieldhouse early in January. All season long, Baylor has been led by sophomore point guard Jared Butler, who had 22 points against the Jayhawks the first time around and is averaging 15.6 points per game this year.
Down low, Baylor held Kansas to only six points in the paint, tied for the team’s worst in Allen Fieldhouse since Bill Self was named head coach. Baylor senior forward Freddie Gillespie had one of his best games with 13 points, while 6-foot-5 Mark Vital held 6-foot-10 David McCormack to zero points in the paint.
Neither Kansas nor Baylor have lost a game since they faced one another six weeks ago and Baylor is rolling with a 23-game Big 12 winning streak. The only loss of the season so far for the Bears was against Washington on Nov. 8.
Almost every player on the Jayhawks struggled in the first game back in January. Point guard Devon Dotson only had nine points, shooting 4-for-10 from the field. Only two players finished in double-digits: Isaiah Moss had 15 points off the bench and Marcus Garrett added 11 points. Fast forward to this week and Dotson is coming off one of his best games this season, scoring 29 points in a win over Iowa State, and Garrett had a season-high 24 points in a win over Oklahoma last weekend.
This will be a defensive battle to the end and even if Kansas comes out on top with the win, Baylor could still be ranked ahead of Kansas, with Gonzaga taking over as the No. 1 team in the country. Baylor and Kansas would be tied for first in the Big 12, with Baylor getting the overall edge with only two total losses this season to Kansas’ three losses.
These two teams could end up facing each other one more time before March Madness in the Big-12 conference tournament.