Since we last spoke, the Red Raiders have been on one rollercoaster of a week. They first dropped a heart-breaker to Kentucky and then won against a very highly ranked West Virginia squad. Their next opponent is another very highly ranked team in the Kansas Jayhawks.
The Jayhawks have been on a roller coaster of their own, as although they have had a very good week performance-wise on the court, one of their games last week against Kansas State was marred by a fight at the end of that game. They are currently ranked No. 3 in the AP Poll and are second in the Big 12 with a 6-1 record. The Red Raiders are currently 4-3 in the Big 12 and this would be a great step forward for this team if they can get a win.
The Jayhawks are led by Head Coach Bill Self and his Hall of Fame resume. On the court, they are led by four main guys, Devon Dotson, Udoka Azubuike, Ochai Agbaji, and Marcus Garrett. This core give the team most of it’s scoring, rebounding, and assists. Dotson leads the team with 18 points and 2 steals per game. He is very quick and can get to the basket. He also averages over 4 assists per game and can get to the free throw line.
Azubuike is probably their best overall player. He plays the center position and can use his huge frame to get rebounds and baskets. He is averaging 12.8 point and 9.5 rebounds per game this season for the Jayhawks. The biggest challenge for the Red Raiders will be to keep him off the offensive glass and keep him from making an impact on too many shots.
Agbaji and Garrett are both great players as well. Garrett is the team’s leading assister with 4.6 per game and also pulls down 4.3 rebounds per game. Agbaji is a very adept scorer and can make baskets from all three levels, as he is averaging 10.5 points per game. Both guys average 1.5 steals per game and are lengthy so the Red Raiders will have to make crisp passes and not turn the ball over too much.
For the Red Raiders, the most important thing to focus on is turnovers. The Jayhawks are very athletic and it will be important to not let them into the fast break off of turnovers that will turn into easy baskets. Rebounding was something that was a huge issue a few games ago but the Red Raiders have seemed to fixed it as they out-rebounded the West Virginia Mountaineers, a team that is as physical as they come.
This game should be a good one, but the Jayhawks have a great home-court advantage as they have only lost to the Red Raiders at Allen Fieldhouse once. If the Red Raiders can have as good of an outing offensively as they did against West Virginia, they can beat any team. I believe that the Tech can beat this team, but they would have to have another one of their best games this season, so I have to go with Kansas.
Texas Tech: 70