Baylor-Kansas St. Preview

The Associated Press

Kansas State's reward for knocking off one of the few remaining unbeaten teams in Division I is the chance to beat another one.

The 18th-ranked Wildcats continue a grueling opening stretch of Big 12 play Tuesday night at home when they look to deal No. 4 Baylor its first loss in 16 games this season.

Kansas State (12-2, 1-1) fell 67-49 at then-No. 14 Kansas on Wednesday before bouncing back Saturday at home, handing then-No. 7 Missouri its first loss, 75-59.

"You have to love the Big 12," coach Frank Martin said. "We went on the road and played a top 15 team, come home and play the seventh team in the country and then enjoy this a lot before playing, before playing the fourth team in the country. You got to love this league."

The Tigers' defeat left Baylor (15-0, 2-0), top-ranked Syracuse and No. 15 Murray State as the remaining perfect teams. The Bears are enjoying their best start, longest-ever win streak and highest ranking as they try to end a three-game slide against the Wildcats.

Baylor is a much-improved team after finishing 18-13 last season. Senior forward Quincy Acy has moved into the starting lineup and newcomers Brady Heslip and reserve Pierre Jackson have emerged as double-digit scorers.

"They're long. They're talented. Their whole front line is a year older, a year better," Martin said about the Bears. "They've got two new guards in Jackson and Heslip. One guy's a knock-them-down shooter and the other one's just a ball of energy that can score, shoot, pass."

Those new guards had strong efforts in a 73-60 win at Texas Tech on Saturday. Jackson had 19 points, seven assists and six boards while Heslip made four of six 3-point attempts and scored 16 points.

"Pierre did a great job in the first half finding me in transition," Heslip said. "I know teams are going to label me as a shooter, so they will be there but when he finds me in transition that just makes it easy."

Kansas State has shot 43.9 percent on 3-pointers in its three-game win streak over Baylor while limiting the Bears to 29.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Heslip and Jackson could help Baylor end its perimeter woes in this series. The Bears are shooting 40.6 percent from 3-point range on the season, with Heslip at 49.4 and Jackson at 47.8.

Kansas State is coming off a strong defensive effort, limiting Missouri to 32.7 percent shooting after the Tigers entered with the nation's best mark at 52.2.

Rodney McGruder scored a team-high 20 points as the Wildcats extended their home win streak to 15.

"They always play hard, they always compete," Baylor coach Scott Drew said of Kansas State. "The atmosphere gives them a great home-court advantage. When you look at it, a double-overtime loss to West Virginia and a loss to Kansas, that's the only two losses they have."

The Wildcats are among the best rebounding teams in the Big 12 with 40.4 per game. They held a 39-25 advantage on the glass over the Tigers.

"Kansas State will be a good test for us to see with the rebounding how far we've come for that," Drew said.

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