Basketball

Game Preview & Open Thread: Texas Tech vs. Kansas

The Red Raiders hit the road and take on the Jayhawks.

Game Info

Date: Tuesday, January 2nd
Time: 8:00 pm
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (12-1, 1-0)
Bad Guys: Kansas Jayhawks (11-2, 1-0)
Location: Allen Fieldhouse | Lawrence, Kansas
TV/Stream: ESPN (WatchESPN)
Radio/Stream: 97.3 FM/104.3 FM/950 AM

Lineups

TEXAS TECH
THE STARTERS Pts / Reb
POINT GUARD Keenan Evans (6-3/190) 16.6 / 3.6*
SHOOTING GUARD Niem Stevenson (6-6/205) 8.7 / 2.8
SMALL FORWARD Justin Gray (6-6/210) 5.6 / 3.6
POWER FORWARD Zach Smith (6-8/220) 7.1 / 4.1
CENTER Norense Odiase (6-9/245) 4.3 / 5.1
THE BENCH Pts / Reb
SIXTH MAN Zhaire Smith (6-5/195) 10.7 / 4.1
SEVENTH MAN Jarrett Culver (6-5/190) 10.4 / 3.8
EIGHTH MAN Davide Moretti (6-3/165) 5.5 / 2.0*
NINTH MAN Tommy Hamilton IV (6-11/250) 6.3 / 4.0
TENTH MAN Brandone Francis (6-5/205) 4.2 / 2.6
ELEVENTH MAN Josh Webster (6-4/175) 0.7 / 0.7*
TWELFTH MAN Malik Ondigo (6-10/210) 0.8 / 0.7
KANSAS
THE STARTERS Pts / Reb
POINT GUARD Devonte’ Graham (6-2/185) 17.2 / 7.6*
SHOOTING GUARD Lagerald Vick (6-5/175) 17.4 / 3.8*
SMALL FORWARD Marcus Garrett (6-5/180) 3.8 / 4.9
POWER FORWARD Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (6-8/205) 16.6 / 3.9
CENTER Udoka Azubuike (7-0/280) 15.3 / 8.4
THE BENCH Pts / Reb
SIXTH MAN Malik Newman (6-3/190) 10.6 / 4.8
SEVENTH MAN Mitch Lightfoot (6-8/210) 4.2 / 3.4

* Assists.

Starting 5

1. KenPom is the 6th best team in the nation according to our buddy KenPom, 7th in AdjO and 13th in AdjD. Texas Tech is 8th overall, 32nd in AdjO and 4th in AdjD. I do not recall Texas Tech ever being this high in a KenPom rating.

2. Kansas is going be really tough, especially at home. On Friday night, they opened the Big 12 by beating Texas in Austin in a hard-fought game. Kansas was spectacular from beyond the three-point line, going 17 of 35 from beyond the three-point line. The Jayhawks average 27 three-pointers a game and they make 42% of them. That’s a pretty good clip and obviously, the idea is that Texas Tech will need go guard the three-point line as well as Texas Tech guarded Baylor. I don’t think that’s going to happen, but we can dream.

3. Texas Tech does have some advantages here. Kansas is the better shooting team, but Texas Tech is better at grabbing offensive rebounds, shooting free throws and both teams are pretty much even in terms of turnover rate. Those are some important things to have an advantage and it makes sense that if Texas Tech can slow down Kansas, it will be by not turning the ball over, but getting to the line (and actually making free throws) and grabbing those offensive boards to give Texas Tech some more possessions and looks at the rim.

4. I think that Texas Tech can actually compete with Kansas athletically. Kansas is really a big team if they could ever get Silvio De Sousa or Billy Preston available. The hope is that they will both still be unavailable when Texas Tech faces them. I think in prior years, Texas Tech struggled on the perimeter to guard how Kansas would reverse the ball and get open three-point shots. With the addition of Culver and Zhaire, Texas Tech can be a bit more versatile, especially if Stevenson is as locked in as he has been defensively. It should also be noted from the press conference from above is that Zach Smith is essentially a game-time decision. I’m hoping by not playing him at all against Baylor after the injury is a big help to him being available tonight.

5. The official site has the official preview and head coach Chris Beard discussed the Jayhawks:

“I don’t know if you could ever prepare for Kansas until you actually play them,” Beard said. “I do think that we’ve played teams that have multiple shooters on the floor at one time so maybe we can draw a little bit from those experiences. When you play Kansas, especially at Allen Fieldhouse, it’s a whole other monster. The word around our camp is opportunity. You get into this to play against the best and coach against the best. This is a great early conference game for us to see where we stack up against one of the best teams in the country.”

A-J Media’s Carlos Silva, Jr. has a preview as well that you should check out.

Senior forward Tommy Hamilton, who has been a spark off the bench the past five games, is confident another teammate can step in and fill up the state sheet if Smith is not available to play.

“We have guys that’s ready,” said Hamilton, a 6-11 post player who has grabbed seven or more rebounds in his last three games to increase his average from 3.4 to four per contest. “We’ve got guys that come off the bench, come in right away and contribute. Obviously, Zach, that hurts us a lot. But he’s doing everything he can to get back on the court. We’re looking forward to having him back.”

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