Big Monday came and went with substantial success, but now Coach Beard fixes his attention on the big prize. Texas Tech is traveling to Lawrence, Kansas tomorrow to take on the No. 11 Jayhawks. The Phog is undoubtedly one of the toughest arenas in college basketball. Luckily, the Red Raiders know what it takes to get it done.
Then No. 18 Texas Tech defeated (then) No. 10 Kansas in Lawrence for the first time last year, 85-73. This year Texas Tech is ranked sixteenth and Kansas is ranked eleventh, but each are swinging in different directions. Tech is coming off a two game win streak against Arkansas and TCU while Kansas is recovering from a two game losing streak against Kentucky and Texas. Still, the Jayhawks sit at 12-0 at home this year.
Texas Tech is coming in with a little firepower - or at least a recent surge of firepower - after double-digit performances from Jarret Culver, Matt Mooney, Tariq Owens, and Davide Moretti (18, 18, 17, & 11 respectively). Backing that offensive production up is a world class defense that is currently holding opponents to 36.1 percent shooting. 56.8 points per games, and 26.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Tariq Owens has helped that defensive effort by claiming 51 blocks (2.43 a game) which is good enough for eleventh in the nation.
For Kansas, Dedric Lawson leads the team with 19.2 points per game and near 11 rebounds per game. In their loss, Ochai Agbaji had a career-high 24 points against Texas. Kansas is currently ranked 30th in Kenpom’s offensive efficiency and 13th in defensive efficiency. While Texas Tech can stagger them offensively, it’s going to take a lot more of the game against TCU than the game against Kansas State to outpace Kansas. Texas Tech is ranked 3rd in defensive efficiency but 100th in offensive efficiency. It presents the best opportunity for scorers to let loose.
Texas Tech is 12-10 against ranked opponents in Coach Beard’s three seasons, and 1-4 against the Jayhawks. Saturday’s game will be the third straight game where both teams are ranked and the sixth time overall. Tip off is at 3pm on CBS.