The Big 12 title is up for grabs in this contest as a pair of top 10 foes take the floor in the Lone Star State. The #8 Kansas Jayhawks make the trip south as they battle the #6 Texas Tech Red Raiders Saturday afternoon. Kansas won their third straight by bombing Oklahoma 104-74 at home Monday night. Texas Tech dropped their second straight with a 79-71 road loss to Oklahoma State Wednesday night. The Jayhawks own the all-time series between the teams by a 33-5 margin but it was the Red Raiders snapping Kansas’s 16 game win streak in the series with an 85-73 road win in the first matchup this season on January 2.
Kansas Jayhawks Seek 14th Straight Big 12 Title
Kansas has three straight wins as they dismantled a fast fading Oklahoma squad on Monday night. Coupled with Texas Tech’s loss, the Jayhawks hold a one game lead in the Big 12: they are 22-6 overall and 11-4 in the conference. A win here would lock up their 14th straight Big 12 title. Kansas led by 10 at the half and just poured it on in the second half as they outscored Oklahoma 55-35. The Jayhawks blistered the nets, hitting 60.9 percent from the field and hitting 16 of 29 three point attempts I the contest. Devonte’ Graham led Kansas with 23 points and seven assists in the win.
The Jayhawks come into this contest tied 29th in the nation in scoring offense with 82.4 points per game. Kansas is tied for 169th in rebounding with 35.6 boards a night and 12th in assists with 17.2 per contest. The Jayhawks are above average defensively, ranking tied for 139th in scoring defense as they allow 70.8 points per game. Kansas is shooting 49.3 percent from the floor as a team. The Jayhawks knock down 10.2 triples a night while hitting 39.7 percent of their long range attempts. Kansas is mediocre at the free throw line, converting 70.9 percent of their chances. Lagerald Vick is fourth on the Jayhawks with 13 points plus 5.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists a night. Devonte’ Graham (team high 17.6 points, 7.2 assists), Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (15.4 points), Udoka Azubuike (14 points, 7.1 boards) and Malik Newman (12.3 points, five rebounds) all average in double figures. Depth is a bit of an issue for Bill Self as only Marcus Garrett and Mitch Lightfoot averages more than 3.6 points a game after the previously mentioned players.
Texas Tech Red Raiders Look to Get Back on Track
Texas Tech lost their second straight game as they were upended by Oklahoma State. The Red Raiders now have to win this one to keep a shot at the Big 12 title as they fell to 22-6 overall and 10-5 in the conference. Texas Tech led by one at the half and had a two point edge early in the second half before giving up a 14-0 run that gave Oklahoma State control of the contest. The Red Raiders shot 41.7 percent from the field and went nine of 23 from beyond the arc. Zhaire Smith led Texas Tech with 18 points in the win.
The Red Raiders are a good offensive unit as they are 125th in the nation in scoring offense with 75.8 points per game. Texas Tech is tied for 134th in the nation in rebounding with 36.1 boards a night and 109th with 14.8 assists a contest. The Red Raiders are stingy on the defensive end, ranking 7th in the nation by allowing 63.1 points a game. Texas Tech is shooting 46.5 percent from the floor this season. The Red Raiders splash 6.9 threes a night while shooting 35.6 percent from beyond the arc. Texas Tech has to improve at the free throw line as they convert only 70.6 percent of their chances this season. Keenan Evans leads the team with 17.6 points plus 3.3 assists per contest this season. Zhaire Smith (11.1 points, 4.7 boards) and Jarrett Culver (10.9 points) both average in double figures as well. Niem Stevenson, Zach Smith, Tommy Hamilton IV, Justin Gray, Davide Moretti, Norense Odiase and Brandone Francis all are averaging at least 3.5 points a game for the Red Raiders this season.
- Jayhawks are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games overall
- Jayhawks are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 vs. Big 12
- Jayhawks are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
- Red Raiders are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall
- Red Raiders are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. Big 12
- Red Raiders are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
Kansas has been good but the fact remains that the team doesn’t have a ton of depth and they’ve been fortunate at times this season. Texas Tech isn’t intimidated by the Jayhawks, as evidenced by their win in Allen Fieldhouse last month. The Red Raiders are playing at home here and they know a win can give them the upper hand in chasing their first Big 12 title. Texas Tech has better depth to work with, coupled with the home crowd, that gives the Red Raiders a slight edge in this contest.
Pick: Texas Tech Red Raiders
A lot in this game will hinge on whether Kansas can stay out of foul trouble because they don’t have much beyond their starting five to rely on offensively. The other big question mark is Evans: he injured his ankle against Baylor and while he played against Oklahoma State, he was ineffective, going one for seven from the field, including zero for five from three point range, and finished with just two points in 25 minutes. Can he put the pain aside and come up with a big performance in what arguably could be the most important game in the program’s history?
The under is 6-1 in the Jayhawks’ last 7 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game, 6-1 in their last 7 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points, 7-2 in their last 9 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600 and 7-2 in their last 9 games following a straight up win. Texas Tech has seen the under go 10-1 in their last 11 Saturday games, 6-2 in their last eight against an opponent who scored at least 100 points in their last game and 13-6 in their last 19 against the Big 12. The teams have stayed under the total in five of their last six meetings here in Lubbock: look for this one to have a methodical pace, keeping it under the total as well.