Kansas has won the last seven Big 12 regular-season titles, but Baylor looks like this season's team to beat. So far, though, no one has.
A victory in Lawrence would be especially sweet for the third-ranked and undefeated Bears in their biggest test yet, Monday night's showdown with the seventh-ranked Jayhawks.
Baylor (17-0, 4-0) is one of three undefeated teams in Division I entering Monday's games. Syracuse (19-0) tips off two hours earlier against Pittsburgh while Murray State (18-0), the other team without a loss, is idle.
The Bears' best start in school history will certainly be threatened in Lawrence, where they are 0-9. Kansas (14-3, 3-0) has won the last seven Big 12 regular-season titles and earlier this season knocked off then-No. 2 Ohio State at home.
The Buckeyes were the fifth straight top-five opponent to leave Allen Fieldhouse with a loss.
"I know our players are excited to play in a good game, and I think as a coach you love having the stage where people can see how our guys can play and also see how good of role models they are," Bears coach Scott Drew said.
Monday's game matches two of the NCAA's top big men in Baylor's 6-foot-11 Perry Jones III and Kansas' 6-foot-9 Thomas Robinson. Jones is averaging 13.8 points and 7.7 rebounds while Robinson is putting up 17.2 points and 12.2 rebounds per game.
Jones had 19 points and 12 boards in the Bears' 106-65 win over Oklahoma State on Saturday. His performance inside helped Baylor outrebound the Cowboys 48-25 while scoring 21 second-chance points.
Jones wasn't the only member of the Bears' frontcourt to impress. Quincy Miller had 21 points and Quincy Acy 15.
"I love their length," Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. "If (Kansas forward) Kevin (Young) doesn't hit somebody, they are just going to catch it, rebound and dunk it. ... They are long and they have pros and it will be fun to see our guys match up against them."
Baylor's size has posed plenty of trouble for opponents, with three of the last four teams the Bears have faced shooting below 40 percent. Baylor ranks 11th in the nation in field-goal defense (37.2 percent).
Besides Robinson, though, the Bears will also have their hands full with the Jayhawks' backcourt. Tyshawn Taylor is second on the team in scoring (15.5 points per game) and is coming off perhaps his best game in four years in Lawrence.
Taylor scored a career-high 28 points in an 82-73 win over Iowa State on Saturday, shooting 10 of 21 from the field.
Taylor scored 22 points after halftime as the Jayhawks - who won their seventh straight - rallied from a 12-point deficit. With 17 minutes left, Kansas went on a 30-9 run, getting 15 points from Taylor.
"Tyshawn is a little different. When you guys tell him he's really good, that's when I probably tell him he's taking too many shots," Self said. "He is a scrutinized player, but he's also the point guard at Kansas, and that goes with the territory.''
Taylor's big night overshadowed Robinson's 11 points and 14 rebounds - his 12th double-double.
Kansas has won its last two against Baylor and 10 of the last 11 meetings, with its only loss since 2001 coming in the 2009 Big 12 tournament.
"I think it's going to be a good challenge for us," Taylor said. "I'm really excited. It's a Big Monday game, and the Fieldhouse is going to be crazy. They're going to come in with a lot of confidence, as they should. They're an undefeated team with really good players, so it's going to be a good game."
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