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The top-two teams in the Big 12 will face each other for the second time this season. Kansas crushed Baylor in their first meeting 83-59. That game was in Lawrence, but the Jayhawks now have to face Baylor on the road.
The Kansas Jayhawks do not have a team full of stars, but they are putting together one of their better seasons in the last couple of years. They have won their last four games and eight of their last ten. They have been pretty lucky this season and have not had any significant injuries. The Jayhawks have an older squad and are led by primarily juniors and seniors. This season, they are led by guards Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun, and Remy Martin, and forwards Jalen Wilson and David McCormack. Agbaji is having an excellent season and scoring over 20 points a game, Braun does a little bit of everything and can score, pass, and rebound, and Martin is running the offense as the point guard. The forwards bring different skills to the table; Jalen Wilson plays over 27 minutes a game and averages over ten points, and David McCormack is a strong defender that scores almost ten points a game.
The Baylor Bears are having another excellent season. However, they lost a lot of size and rebounding when forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua went down with a season-ending injury a few games ago. Outside of Tchamwa Tchatchoua, Baylor has a handful of efficient scorers in Adam Flagler, LJ Cryer, and James Akinjo. Flagler, Cryer, and Akinjo score over half of Baylor’s total points. Baylor has an impressive high-powered offense but an even more impressive defense. The Baylor defense only gives up 63 points per game and has faced many tough opponents in conference and non-conference play. Even though Baylor is playing at home, I expect them to lose. They are the smaller team and lacking big man depth since Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua’s injury.
Texas Tech beats Baylor 72-69.
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|Bill Self||Head Coach||Scott Drew|
|23-4 (12-2,1st in Big 12)||Standing||23-5 (11-4, 2nd in Big 12)|
|Leader (Per Game)|
|Ochai Agbaji (20.2)||PPG||Adam Flagler (13.7)|
|Jalen Wilson (7.2)||RPG||Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (6.8)|
|Dajuan Harris Jr. (4.2)||APG||James Akinjo (5.7)|
|Dajuan Harris Jr. (1.6)||SPG||James Akinjo (2.1)|
|Christian Braun (1.0)||BPG||Flo Thamba (1.0)|
|Mitch Lightfoot (.648)||FG%||Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (.677)|
|Ochai Agbaji (.445)||3P%||LJ Cryer (.468)|
The Jayhawks are the bigger team, but they are facing a quick and guard-heavy Baylor squad. They need to focus on avoiding turnovers and winning the rebounding battle.
Four of Baylor’s starters are guards; those guards are good at creating turnovers account for 5.3 of Baylor’s 9.3 turnovers every game. Since Baylor is so good at creating turnovers, the Jayhawks need to secure the ball not and not make errant passes. If they secure the ball, they will create more scoring opportunities.
Usually, whatever team wins the rebound battle wins the game. However, Kansas should end up with more rebounds because they are the bigger team and facing a Baylor team without Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua. The Kansas big men need to step up their rebounding efforts in this game and come out on top.
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The Bears have an impressive team but are undersized compared to Kansas. Baylor needs to protect the rim and ride the hot hand to come out with the win.
Baylor will be facing a Kansas team that has impressive big men and a couple of guards that often attack the rim. Baylor needs to protect the rim and force Kansas to stick to outside shots.
Baylor has a lot of good scorers. Since that is the case, they need to ride the hot hand and let the most effective scorer keep on shooting. You never know who will be feeling good on any given day.
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Guard Christian Braun is having a solid junior season. The Kansas native is not the star on this Jayhawks squad, but he has played a great second fiddle to Ochai Agbaji.
Braun averages 15.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game. He is very versatile and does a little bit of everything. His versatility is what makes him so dangerous.
Baylor needs to force him to take tough shots on offense and be aware of his presence at the rim on defense.
Guard Adam Flagler is having an impressive season for one of the best teams in the nation. The 6’3” junior leads the Bears in scoring with 13.7 points per game.
Flagler is a solid shooter who hits 45% of his field-goal attempts and 40.4% of his three-point attempts. Flagler can score in a multitude of ways, which is why he is the Bears key player.
The Jayhawks need to force Flagler to pass the ball or take bad shots.
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|No. 7 Baylor Bears vs No. 11 Texas Tech Red Raiders Information|
|What||No. 7 Baylor vs No. 11 Texas Tech|
|Where||Ferrell Center, Waco, Texas|
|When||Saturday, February 26, 8:00 PM EST|
|How to Watch||ESPN|
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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