It has been 11 days since Texas Tech played a basketball game. In that time:
- The state of Texas has been obliterated with a historical snowstorm, which also left millions of people without power.
- Tech had two games postponed, then rescheduled, then postponed again for good measure.
- NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars.
With that said- they are now back in action! The Red Raiders face the #23 Kansas Jayhawks today, in a game that features two teams looking to establish themselves in the top half of the Big 12 standings.
Kansas enters today’s game at 16-7, and they have won four games in a row. While most of that run can be attributed to facing bottom tier teams in Kansas State and Iowa State, it is still a stark turnaround from the downward spiral that the Jayhawks went into earlier in the year.
KU won the first matchup between these two teams in thrilling fashion, winning 58-57 after Ochai Agbaji hit the game winning layup with 14 seconds left. Both teams should be in the tournament at this point, but this game is still very important for seeding. Let’s dive into the essentials of this match:
Kansas Jayhawks (16-7) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (14-6)
Location: Allen Fieldhouse (Lawrence, Kansas)
Game time: 1:00 CST
Odds: Kansas -1.5
Kenpom Ranking: 24th
Things to look out for
- David McCormack has turned it around since the first matchup. He has scored at least 15 points in eight of the last 13 games, and has done so in an efficient manner. I still think KU plays their best when running a smaller lineup, but McCormack has graduated into being at least playable. In the first game Marcus Santos-Silva was played off the court, so hopefully that is not the case in this one.
- Jalen Wilson and Christian Braun have both cooled down in Big 12 play, as they have shot less than 36% from deep and struggled to have anywhere near the impact offensively that they had early in the year. Both guys are streaky shooters though, so it will be vital for Tech to close out effectively.
- Dajuan Harris has been phased out of the rotation recently, which is surprising given that he is probably the best pure playmaker on the roster. It would not surprise me if we see more of him today, given Tech’s struggles against pure facilitators this year.
About Texas Tech
Kenpom Ranking: 20th
Things to look out for
- Terrence Shannon looked pretty banged up before Tech had their last three games postponed. Having him healthy will be essential for this game, especially considering how he hit four threes and was Tech’s primary offensive option in the first match.
- Kevin McCullar was not active for game #1, which was a crucial loss given how versatile he is and especially considering the wing talent on Kansas. Since coming back from his preseason ankle injury, he has been extremely valuable, ranking top three on the team in assists per game, points per game, BPM, steals, blocks, and rebounds. McCullar is a glue guy, but a very important one at that. Also, him being able to facilitate and hit threes can really open up Tech’s offense.
- Kyler Edwards had the worst game of his Texas Tech career against Kansas in December. He went 0-9 from the field and 0-5 from three, and did not score a point the entire night. He has been in double figures in each of the last two games, and as I mentioned before that stretch- his all around play is very critical to Tech’s overall success as a team. He needs to shoot better in Lawrence, or else it will be hard to win in a place where Tech has only won once.