WACO -- Not yet. Not by a long shot.
That is the latest update in regard to No. 6 Baylor's readiness to claim its first conference championship in men's basketball in 62 years.
No. 7 Kansas provided a startling reality check Wednesday, rolling into the Ferrell Center and steamrolling Baylor 68-54 in what was billed as the biggest home game in the history of the Bears' program.
The hype was justified, based on Baylor's record and the fact that Wednesday's winner joined No. 4 Missouri as the co-leader in the Big 12 standings. But the difference in these two programs remains pronounced, as Kansas (19-5, 9-2) drove home with regularity after absorbing an early Baylor salvo.
The energized Bears (21-3, 8-3) actually scored the game's first seven points and led 19-9 with 9:40 remaining in the first half. But the remainder of the contest was all Kansas, all the time.
Especially during a game-turning, 34-5 stretch in which the Jayhawks closed the first half on an 11-1 run and began the second half with a 23-4 continuation that eliminated the remaining energy from a sellout crowd of 10,334. Kansas spent the final 16:38 protecting a double-digit lead, with a 22-point cushion on two occasions.
"We're all embarrassed and disappointed by our play," said Baylor coach Scott Drew, whose team is now 0-3 in matchups against Kansas and Missouri (22-2, 9-2), including an 0-2 mark in Waco.
"I was most disappointed with the fight that we had. For the first 13 minutes of the second half, we didn't compete like we have all year."
Instead, the Bears went into a shell once their early surge diminished -- a trait that is not conducive to winning games, let alone championships. And two of Baylor's big men came up small, once again, in a high-profile matchup.
On a night when 23 NBA scouts representing 17 different teams showed up to gauge the available talent, they saw a player who projects as a career journeyman dominate a Baylor front line that includes Perry Jones III, the Big 12's preseason player of the year.
But the Bears had no answer for Kansas center Jeff Withey, a 7-footer who scored a career-high 25 points after being blanked in Saturday's 74-71 loss to Missouri. Withey connected on 8 of 10 shots from the field, often on layups when Baylor defenders were slow to rotate within the team's zone defense. Withey, who entered the game with a career high of 15 points, had 17 by halftime.
"We let one mistake lead to two, and then three," said Baylor forward Quincy Acy, whose double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) stood in marked contrast to the empty bottom lines of fellow front-line members Jones (5 points, 3 rebounds) and Quincy Miller (3 points, 2 rebounds).
How bad was it? Jones and Miller -- two of Baylor's four double-digit scorers -- each made his lone field goal in the first 1:53 of the contest.
Then they combined to miss their final 10 attempts.
Jones finished 1 for 8 in 25 minutes and struggled to elude the physical, defensive pressure of Kansas forward Thomas Robinson (15 points, 11 rebounds).
"Perry just missed shots. And I think he got down after he missed shots," Drew said. "He can't do that."
But at least he was not buried on the bench for most of the second half because of a coach's decision. Miller earned that spot after a flagrant foul with 16:38 remaining helped trigger a seven-point possession by the Jayhawks. That's not a misprint.
Robinson got things rolling with a three-point play and Miller was whistled for the flagrant foul while jostling for rebounding position on Robinson's made free throw. That sent Withey to the line for two free throws. He made one. Kansas retained possession and guard Tyshawn Taylor (19 points, 3 assists) buried a 3-pointer to boost Kansas' lead from 40-32 to 47-32 in one trip down the court.
"The seven-point possession took a lot out of us," said Baylor point guard Pierre Jackson, who contributed a team-high 16 points. "We didn't answer back after that."
The lingering question is whether Baylor will have an answer in Saturday's game at Missouri. Or will the Bears get swept by their fellow frontrunners in the same week for the second time this season?
Drew has two days to find an answer, as well as a game plan to get Jones and Miller back in the offensive flow.
Kansas, meanwhile, finds itself back with a share of the Big 12 lead because Withey played like an All-American against Baylor after being a liability (zero points, 4 rebounds) in Saturday's loss to Missouri.
"He was huge tonight," Taylor said of Withey. "We've been screaming at him in practice, pounding on his chest, trying to get him fired up. I'm really proud of him."
Baylor, meanwhile, showed it still has a long way to go before it is ready to push Kansas as a Big 12 title contender.
Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760