No. 9 Kansas hit yet another speed bump on Monday as its losing streak stretched to three games with a 75-69 road loss to No. 17 Baylor. The Jayhawks have now lost three in a row for just the fourth time under Hall of Fame coach Bill Self, shaking up a wide-open Big 12 that not long ago seemed to be KU’s for the taking.
Baylor was the preseason Big 12 favorite and closed as a 3.5-point favorite over KU, so the result can hardly be considered an upset. However, the Bears did their damage in impressive fashion over a top-10 opponent by leading for more than 38 minutes and holding off run after run from a feisty Jayhawks team that hung around until the end.
Kansas’ defense held Baylor to just 2 of 14 shooting from the 3-point line in the second half and kept the Bears from scoring a field goal for more than seven minutes into crunch time. But Baylor, which made only one of its final 10 shot attempts, made free throws when it needed them late and strung together just enough defensive stops to scoop out a massive win.
The win pushes Kansas off the No. 1 seed line and to a projected No. 2 seed, according to CBS Sports Bracketology expert Jerry Palm, with Arizona supplanting the Jayhawks as the new projected No. 1 seed. The move comes with Kansas falling to Kansas State, TCU and Baylor all within the last week.
Let’s jump into a few takeaways.
1. Baylor’s guards can run with anyone
The sheer talent and depth of Baylor’s backcourt is enough to still consider the Bears — despite their inconsistencies this season — as one of the best teams in the sport. Stud freshman in Keyonte George. All-American candidate in Adam Flagler. Do-it-all scorer in LJ Cryer. The weapons are endless. Against Kansas, it was Cryer who led the way with 22 points while Flager had 17, but any of its guards are liable to explode on any night, which makes this particular iteration of Baylor so lethal.
2. Kansas had lackluster guard play
Two days after committing a season-high 17 turnovers in a 23-point home loss to TCU, Kansas again struggled taking care of the ball against Baylor by committing 15 turnovers, which Baylor converted into 19 points. Under Self, KU has either had high-end guard play, high-end big-man play or a combination of both in finding success. However, a lack of size in the front court, and without a big man playing significant minutes, Kansas’ point guard play has underperformed.