Preview: Kansas State at Baylo
Kansas State and Baylor will try to continue their sizzling outside shooting when they meet Saturday in a Big 12 showdown at Baylor. The Bears sank 16 baskets from 3-point range in Wednesdayâs blowout victory at TCU, tying the program record for a conference game, and Brady Heslip led the way at 8-for-12 from beyond the arc. The Wildcats have shot better than 50 percent from long range in the last two games, including an 8-for-15 performance in Mondayâs three-point upset against No. 9 Kansas.
A win against the Bears would likely vault Kansas State back into the top 25 coachesâ poll, as the Wildcats also ended last week with a win against Texas, which dropped one spot to No. 19 this week. More importantly, a victory would likely keep Kansas State within two games of Kansas for the top spot in the Big 12, even though the Wildcats donât get another shot at the Jayhawks during conference play. Baylor still has its sights set on a 20-win season, though the Bears would need to win five of their last seven regular-season games.
ABOUT KANSAS STATE (17-7, 7-4 Big 12): The Wildcats have had good success with their starting lineup of Marcus Foster, Will Spradling, Shane Southwell, Wesley Iwundu and Thomas Gipson, who have gone 15-4 as the first unit this season. Foster is going through the best stretch of his freshman season, scoring at least 20 points in four of the last five games to bump his scoring average to a team-high 15. Spradling, another member of the backcourt, is coming off his best all-around game of the season, putting up 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals against Kansas.
ABOUT BAYLOR (15-9, 3-8): Heslip might be the hottest shooter for the Bears, but 7-1 center Isaiah Austin isnât far behind. Austin has reached double figures in scoring before halftime the last two games and his combined 35 points is his best two-game stretch of the season. He should have plenty of vertical room to work, as Gipson and Iwundu, the starting forwards for Kansas State, stand just 6-7.
1. Baylor reserve F Rico Gathers has reached double figures in scoring in eight of the last 14 games after hitting that mark in five of his previous 46 games at Baylor.
2. Kansas State is 12-2 this season and 27-3 under coach Bruce Weber when scoring at least 70 points.
3. Kansas Stateâs bench has scored at least 20 points in 10 games this season.
PREDICTION: Baylor 73, Kansas State 69