The Red Raiders travel to Lawrence tonight to take on the Jayhawks of Kansas. Our tale of the tape previewing the matchup from this morning can be found here. To get another perspective on the matchup, I asked Andy Mitts from our sister site “Rock Chalk Talk” a few questions.
Check out the Q&A below, and tune in for tip-off at 6:15 central on ESPN2. Comment below with your predictions and in-game analysis!
1. Which comes first: Kansas doesn’t win the Big 12 title or the apocalypse? But seriously, how long do you think KU’s incredible streak will last?
Until the end of time. Seriously though I'm not sure it makes it past this season, given the way Kansas has struggled so much defensively. With so many strong teams in the conference, it's hard to imagine that anyone will feel comfortable with a lead in the standings until a title is actually clinched.
2. The last couple years, the Big 12 has certainly been in the discussion for the mightiest conference in college basketball. Where would you put the Big 12 on that list so far this year?
Well, all the national pundits are trying to convince me that the ACC is far and away the best conference, but I just don't buy it. When I'm thinking “best conference”, I'm looking at the strength of the whole conference, not just how many “elite” teams it has. When looking at it that way, I don't think there is any conference that comes close to the Big 12, including the ACC.
KenPom agrees with me on this, with the Big 12 ranked well above every other conference. The last time the Big 12 wasn't the best conference was back in 2013, which is an incredible run if you think about it.
3. Building off the last question, how many teams from the Big 12 do you think will receive an NCAA tournament invite?
With so many teams having fairly weak nonconference schedules, it's easy to see some rather deserving teams getting left out. It's looking like West Virginia, Baylor and Kansas are virtual locks to make the field barring a complete collapse. And Oklahoma and Texas are completely out of the running without a miraculous run through the conference.
The remaining group only has two total Top 50 wins, with Iowa State beating Miami and Oklahoma State beating Wichita State. I think 3 of those 5 probably find a way in, giving the Big 12 six teams in the dance, with the other two being pretty high seeds in the NIT.
4. Before Tech’s upset of West Virginia, I was worried about attendance since our students aren’t back on campus yet. Kansas might have experienced the same against Kansas State earlier this week. What will the crowd be like and how big of a factor will it be on Saturday?
I don't think attendance is really ever an issue in Allen Fieldhouse, but the mix of students and other fans can affect how rowdy the crowd gets. And while I think that might have played a factor in getting the guys hyped up, it's definitely no excuse for how poorly the defense played against Kansas State. I doubt it will really have an effect tonight either.
5. What type of game will we see, and what’s your final score prediction?
Unfortunately, it's always so hard to tell. I have to imagine that Texas Tech will look to pound it inside, with Landen Lucas the only established guy down there for the Jayhawks. Carlton Bragg and Mitch Lightfoot will each need to have a good game out or else this is probably going way to choose for comfort for Jayhawk fans. I'm going with Kansas 87, Texas Tech 81.
BONUS QUESTION: Where do you rank Creed on the list of greatest bands of all time?
I classify bands into three categories: Ones I like to listen to, ones I could listen to if you made me, and ones who once they come on I go into a murderous rage until you finally turn it off. Creed falls into that first category, so somewhere between GOAT and "meh..."
Check out the questions Rock Chalk Talk asked VTM and our answers here.