Kansas has built the longest home winning streak in the nation through utter dominance over nearly three years.
That outstanding run may get one of its stiffest tests yet Wednesday night when the third-ranked Jayhawks face No. 25 Baylor in a Big 12 matchup.
Kansas (16-1, 2-0) has won 52 consecutive games at Allen Fieldhouse by an average of 24.5 points, dating to a 69-66 loss to then-No. 10 Texas A&M on Feb. 3, 2007.
The Jayhawks have barely been tested there this season, winning 12 games by an average of 30.6 points while limiting opponents to 35.0 percent shooting.
They showed little signs of slowing down Saturday, beating Texas Tech 89-63 in Lawrence while holding the Red Raiders to 32.8 percent from the field.
“It was a good win,” coach Bill Self said. “You should never have to apologize for winning by 26. Everybody got to play, everybody contributed.”
Kansas has had little trouble with Baylor, winning 14 of 16 meetings including all eight in Lawrence by an average of 17.5 points. The Jayhawks have also won eight in a row against the Bears in regular-season play.
Kansas, though, can expect to have its home winning streak tested by Baylor (14-2, 2-1), which upset the then-No. 11 Jayhawks 71-64 in the quarterfinals of last season’s conference tournament before eventually falling in the title game.
Baylor carried the momentum from its Big 12 tournament success and a strong NIT showing into this season, winning 13 of its first 14 before losing 78-71 at Colorado to open conference play Jan. 12. The Bears rebounded Saturday, beating Oklahoma State 83-70.
“Well, I knew they would be good, but I think they’ve probably surpassed a lot of people’s expectations except maybe their own because of how they’ve played,” Self said. “They’re definitely a better team than they were last year. Those guys have been playing at a high level all year long.”
While Kansas leads the Big 12 in field-goal percentage (50.2) and opponents’ field-goal percentage (35.5), Baylor is second in both categories at 49.9 and 36.0, respectively.
The Bears used their zone defense to stifle the Jayhawks in the Big 12 tournament in March, holding them to 40.3 percent from the field while LaceDarius Dunn led the Baylor offense with 24 points.
Dunn has been outstanding over the last three games, averaging 25.3 points with 7.3 rebounds. He ranks third in the conference with a career-high 19.1 points per game after scoring 25 against the Cowboys.
“I think Lace, as he continues to grow as a player, has diversified his game a little and has been able to score inside on the post ups,” coach Scott Drew said. “He has also been able to score off the drive. When you do a little bit of that and then when you’re not making jumpers then you can at least have balance.”
The Bears are also getting solid production from forward Ekpe Udoh, who is averaging 14.1 points while leading the conference with 11.4 rebounds.
The 6-foot-10 junior, who transfered from Michigan and didn’t play last season, is a big reason Baylor is fourth in the nation in rebounding at 43.0 per game.
To keep up with the Bears, the Jayhawks could use a better performance from Sherron Collins, who had nine points and shot 3 for 10 on Saturday. Facing Baylor may not help, however, as the guard went 6 for 20 for 16 points in the last meeting.
Marcus Morris stepped up while Collins struggled against the Red Raiders, scoring 20 points after finishing with 19 off the bench in last Wednesday’s 84-72 win at Nebraska. The sophomore forward, averaging 11.6 points, totaled only six points in the two previous contests.