Basketball

Preview and Game Thread: Texas Tech vs. Kansas

The Red Raiders travel to Lawerence, Kansas, to take on the top ranked Kansas Jayhawks.

Date: Saturday, February 27th
Time: 11:00 am
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (18-9, 8-7)
Bad Guys: Kansas Jayhawks (24-4, 12-3)
Location: Allen Fieldhouse | Lawrence, Kansas
TV/Stream: ESPN / WatchESPN
Radio/Stream: 97.3 FM/104.3 FM/950 AM

TEXAS TECH
THE STARTERS Pts / Reb
POINT GUARD Kennan Evans (6-3/180) 8.6 / 2.9*
SHOOTING GUARD Toddrick Gotcher (6-4/205) 10.9 / 3.7
SMALL FORWARD Justin Gray (6-6/210) 8.7 / 3.7
POWER FORWARD Zach Smith (6-8/215) 10.3 / 7.1
CENTER Matthew Temple (6-9/260) 3.4 / 1.8
THE BENCH Pts / Reb
SIXTH MAN Aaron Ross (6-8/225) 10.7 / 4.5
SEVENTH MAN Devaugntah Williams (6-4/205) 10.8 / 3.3
EIGHTH MAN Devon Thomas (6-0/170) 2.7 / 1.3*
KANSAS
THE STARTERS Pts / Reb
POINT GUARD Frank Mason, III (5-11/185) 13.5 / 4.6*
SHOOTING GUARD Devonte’ Graham (6-2/175) 11.1 / 3.6*
SMALL FORWARD Wayne Seldon, Jr. (6-5/230) 13.8 / 3.4
POWER FORWARD Perry Ellis (6-8/225) 16.4 / 6.1
CENTER Landen Lucas (6-10/240) 5.1 / 6.1
THE BENCH Pts / Reb
SIXTH MAN Jamari Traylor (6-8/220) 3.0 / 3.4
SEVENTH MAN Sviatoslav Mykhailuk (6-8/195) 5.4 / 1.3
EIGHTH MAN Brannen Greene (6-7/215) 6.5 / 2.3

* Assists.

1. KenPom says that Kansas is still an elite team. Like, very elite. they’re the #4 team in the nation, 7th in adjusted offense and 19th in adjusted defense. That’s elite. Texas Tech has moved up to 38th overall, 26th in adjusted offense and 71st in adjusted defense. Those numbers are odd for Texas Tech and things have been trending towards a better offense, but a not so good defense. I don’t know if I like that trend heading into the NCAA Tournament, but I’m not going to complain all that much. I think this might be the effect of not being deep or big inside without Odiase inside. Teams are able to drive to the bucket much easier.

2. Kansas is in the middle of an 8 game winning streak, which started by beating Kentucky relatively easily and they’ve pretty much cruised through those 8 games. They had a close contest on the road against Baylor and on the road against Oklahoma, but they’ve won handily. the other mitigating factor for tomorrow is that with a win, Kansas has a chance to win their 12th Big 12 title in a row, which is borderline ridiculous. Yes, Bill Self gets a ton of talent, but that’s a really impressive streak.

3. Head coach Tubby Smith thinks that this Texas Tech team is playing it’s best basketball of the year:

“We’re playing pretty good basketball, and we’re probably playing the best we’ve been playing all year long,” Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith said. “We played early in the season against some really good teams like Richmond, South Dakota State and Arkansas Little Rock. We had to raise our level of play even though they weren’t Big 12 opponents. We still had to become more consistent. We’re not having long droughts on offense, and we’re getting stops defensively.”

4. Since Texas Tech has gone on their 5-0 conference run, Aaron Ross has been nothing short of outstanding. He’s averaged 17.6 points a game during that streak, shooting 47% from the floor. You just don’t see guys average double-figures like this at this clip against this type of competition, but he’s a nightmare of a match-up because most teams simply don’t have a player that can cover Ross on the outside, and even then, he can still get off a shot on just about anyone.

5. I think this is going to be a game that will be tough to keep pace with Kansas offensively. Kansas is dangerous offensively and they can shoot the three-point shot and make them, being top five in the nation in three point shooting percentage, making 42.3%. The difference between a team like Oklahoma and Kansas is that Kansas had multiple guys who can shoot, Seldon, Graham, Greene and Mykhailiuk can all shoot, so having guys on the perimeter makes it that much more difficult to guard on the inside as well.

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