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Preview: Kansas v. Texas Tech

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The Texas Tech Red Raiders face the Kansas Jayhawks, this Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at the United Spirit Arena, Lubbock Texas. The game will be televised on ESPN.

The Numbers:

Team K.P. Rank Off.Eff. Def.Eff. Points/Game Points Allowed Rebounds
Texas Tech 55 45 78 74.1 66.6 32.4
Kansas 7 40 3 76.1 60.1 40.1

Players to Watch:

Player Rebounds Assists Points
Mario Chalmers 2.8 3.5 13.7
Julian Wright 8.2 2.1 11.1
Brandon Rush 5.7 1.9 13.7

Keys to the Game:

  1. Get Jackson More Involved: Jay Jackson has been in a quasi-slump the last two games where he's only shot 33.3% (13/39). In order to Tech to right the ship and really have a chance in this game then the ancillary players have got to work to get Jackson some uncontested jump shots and get him back on track. I'd love to see Jackson rebound from those previous two outings and I have a feeling that he will
  2. We Need More Prince and White: Earlier in the year Prince was a factor in the game and lately, he's been, well invisible. I don't think it's any secret that Michael Prince and Decensae White will be vital in guarding Wright, Rush or Darrell Arthur. White was a key factor in the in over Kansas State, but received only 3 minutes in the Baylor game. Tech plays best when Prince and White are actively defensively, they are able to get some opportunistic buckets, rebound the basketball, and scrap for every loose ball. Overall, Tech is just a better team when these two guys are active and both of them have to show up on Saturday.
  3. More Frontcourt Production: It was great to see Plefka do so well against Baylor, but honestly, I hate to rely on him for anything other than just setting some screens and grabbing some rebounds. The problem here of course is that the title of this key to the game is more production from the frontcourt, and yes I mean it. I'd love to see Sujagic, Dora and Plefka contribute a combined 15 rebounds and 15 points. If we could ever, consistently, get that from those three, then Tech would be a team that could contend for one of the top tier teams in the Big 12.

Probable Starting Lineups:


Kansas Jayhawks and Texas Tech Red Raiders
Brandon Rush, F, 6-5, So / Martin Zeno, F, 6-5, Jr.
Julian Wright, F, 6-8, So. / Michael Prince, F, 6-7, So.
Sasha Kaun, C, 6-11, Jr. / Damir Suljagic, F, 6-8, So.
Mario Chalmers, G, 6-1, So. / Charlie Burgess, G, 6-1, Jr.
Russell Robinson, G, 6-1, Jr. / Jay Jackson, G, 6-1, Sr.

The bottom line is that Tech has got to protect their home court. This is conference play and I'm sure that Knight has stressed to them this week that you have to win on your home court in order to even sniff at the NCAA tournament. Baylor held serve last weekend and Tech now has to do the same. It will not be easy, Kansas is an incredibly tough opponent. They are highly skilled and very athletic, that's generally a recipe for disaster for Tech, but that doesn't matter. Tech has to overcome whatever it is they lack athletically and just out-play Kansas. It's that simple.

* The Legend: K.P. Rank = the Ken Pomery Rank; Offensive Efficiency = the national rank in terms of points scored per 100 possessions; Defensive Efficiency = the national rank in terms of points allowed per 100 possession.