The Big 12 Tournament begins on Thursday with the opening game seeing the Baylor Bears taking on the Kansas State Wildcats. The game is scheduled for a 12:30 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on ESPN2. Currently the odds have Baylor favored by 2.5 points with the total sitting at 135 points. It's the opening game of the tournament and if the point spread is any indication, it should be a good game.
Free Analysis: Kansas State and Baylor have both had successful seasons to date. Both also are believed to be comfortably into the NCAA Tournament, but picking up another solid RPI win would only help the resume. The 12th-ranked and fourth-seeded Bears face the fifth-seeded Wildcats in the quarterfinals Thursday in Kansas City. Baylor (25-6) will be coming off an 80-72 loss at Iowa State, marking only its second loss to an unranked team all season. That was the most points given up by Baylor since 89 to Mizzou more than a month ago. The Cyclones to shot 45.6 percent from the floor in that game and might have cemented themselves into the tournament with a win over the Bears. Pierre Jackson scored a season-high 35 points and Perry Jones III had 10 points and 12 rebounds for Baylor, which lost its regular-season finale for the third time in four years. We mentioned the loss to Iowa State for Baylor was only their second loss of the season to an unranked team. The first? A loss to Kansas State back on Feb. 18 when the Wildcats topped them 57-56 in Waco. Jackson was held to nine points and committed five turnovers while Jones had four points and fouled out in that game, which I'm sure Baylor will still have on their minds. That began a run of four wins in five games for the Wildcats (21-9), including 78-68 at then-No. 3 Missouri. "I have been extremely pleased with how our team has played the last four, maybe five, weeks of the season," coach Frank Martin said. I think they are pretty much in the NCAA Tournament already, but a big win over Baylor again could make them an absolute lock into the field of 68. Rodney McGruder, who scored 24 points Saturday, had 15 points in the win over Baylor last month. He also scored 30 points in a 75-73 home loss to the Bears on Jan. 10. So both of these previous games have been pretty close, which leads us to believe the point spread is pretty close to being accurate. Kansas State has won four of the last five meetings between the two schools, including a conference tournament win over them last year. Each of those games were decided by eight points or less, furthering the proof it will be a close game where point will be at a premium. Baylor is 8-2 this season in games decided by five points or less, and it may be in for another defensive battle Thursday. The winner will face top-seeded Kansas or ninth-seeded Texas A&M in the semifinals Friday.
Free Pick: I like the Wildcats in this game, getting some points in what should be a close contest. I like how both previous games this season were really close and that the Wildcats have won four of five games in the series. It's an early start for both of these clubs, tipping off at 12:30 p.m. so it may have the feel of a Saturday game and a game that should help both clubs gear up for the NCAA Tournament. I like the way Kansas State hits the boards and gets after it on the defensive end of the floor. Baylor has been a stingy, talented team all season but has kind of been up and down, as far as I'm concerned. I know it's tough to continue beating a team, so that's why I like that these clubs split in the regular season. Give me the Cats in what will be a close game.
Free Picks: Baylor vs Kansas State Betting
Baylor's athleticism versus Kansas States defensive style and Baylor flying under the radar plus other factors college basketball bettors need to know about Baylor vs Kansas State (Thursday, March 8, 2012) from Pregame.com - Including predictions from Scott Spreitzer and analysis from host Marco D'Angelo.