Kansas went through a stretch of three losses in five games in January but picked things up on both ends of the floor in the last month to pull away from the pack. “We are in decent position, but we are not satisfied with where we are at,” Jayhawks guard Frank Mason III told reporters. “We are not satisfied with the team we are right now. We still need to get better.” The Bears will put the Kansas defense to the test and knocked off two ranked teams in conference play last week. “We love being the underdog,” forward Taurean Prince told reporters after a 78-64 win at Texas on Saturday. “When we’re on the road, we lock in a little better, although we should lock in every game.”
TV: 8p.m. ET, ESPN2
LINE: Overnight odds out of Las Vegas sent out Kansas -1.5. Sportsbooks opened with those odds Monday afternoon.
POWER RANKINGS: Kansas Jayhawks (-17.0) – Baylor Bears (-12.1) + home court (-3.0) = Kansas -1.9
INJURY REPORT: Kansas – Perry Ellis, F (questionable – eye)
WHAT SHARPS SAY: “Kansas is on the verge of another regular season Big 12 conference title. The Jayhawks have played terrific basketball on both ends of the court all season, so Baylor will need to be at their best to get a win in this game. Baylor will be looking to avenge their 28-point loss in Lawrence earlier this season. The Bears are coming off back-to-back SU/ATS wins after going just 1-3 SU/ATS in their four games prior.
“Kansas enters this game on a perfect 7-0 SU/ATS run, however their best player, Perry Ellis, did suffer an eye injury at Kansas State on Saturday. Ellis is listed as probable to play tonight. He leads the team in scoring (16.5 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg) while shooting 52% from the field and 48% from three-point range this season.” – Covers Expert Steve Merril.
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “The clashing of these two teams is an interesting one, as both have had pretty dominant seasons thus far. The thing that really stands out the most to me is that Kansas has been 17-8 ATS this season, and even 5-3 ATS on the road. However, Baylor is a pretty poor 8-12-1 ATS, and even worse 4-8 at home. Kansas is on white a hot streak at the moment, and I would continue to ride it.” – Mick Sloan, GTBets.eu.
ABOUT KANSAS (23-4, 11-3 Big 12, 17-8 ATS): The only time Kansas struggled in Saturday’s 72-63 win at rival Kansas State was when forward Perry Ellis needed to leave the game to receive 12 stitches. “The serious deal was when Wayne (Selden Jr.) scratched him in the eye,” Kansas coach Bill Self told reporters of Ellis’ injury. “We will go back and have an eye doctor look at it – they are hoping it is just a scratch. If that is the case, he should be okay. If there is anything more than that, then who knows? We think he will be fine, but he does not feel very well right now.” Ellis, who leads the team in scoring (16.5 points) and rebounding (6.3) is considered probable for Tuesday.
ABOUT BAYLOR (20-7, 9-5, 8-12 ATS): The Bears are one of three teams sitting two games behind the Jayhawks entering the week and should have its confidence at a high after knocking off Iowa State and Texas last week. Baylor did not have much luck the first time it faced Kansas and suffered a 102-74 road loss in the conference opener on Jan. 2. Sophomore forward Johnathan Motley managed only eight points off the bench in that meeting but exploded in the last week, averaging 25.5 points on 22-of-30 shooting in the last two games.
* Jayhawks are 5-0-1 ATS in the last six meetings.
* Under is 4-0 in the last four meetings in Baylor.
* Jayhawks are 8-1 ATS in the last nine meetings in Baylor.
* Favorite is 4-1-1 ATS in the last six meetings.
* Under is 3-1-1 in the last five meetings.
* Road team is 15-6-1 ATS in the last 22 meetings.