If either Kansas or Texas Tech are going to win the Big 12 Conference regular season title, they can’t afford another loss. The Kansas Jayhawks and Texas Tech Red Raiders are set to square off on Saturday night in what could be an elimination game for the loser. Kansas beat Texas Tech by a score of 79-63 earlier this season at Allen Fieldhouse, and the Red Raiders will be looking for revenge in this game.
Kansas and Texas Tech have had very different journeys during the Big 12 Conference season, but both teams enter play with a record of 9-4. Kansas was just 6-4 through their first ten games, but three straight wins have them back near the top of the conference. Texas Tech lost three straight games early on in conference play, but have responded by winning four straight Big 12 matchups. The Red Raiders are -6.0 over Kansas in this contest.
Texas Tech Defense is Terrific
The Texas Tech Red Raiders still have some room for improvement on the offensive end of the floor, but their defense has carried them all season long. Texas Tech is holding opponents to just 57.2 points per game this season, and have been known to hold teams under 50. The Red Raiders are allowing their opponents to shoot just 36 percent from the field, which is the top mark among all division one teams. Texas Tech did give up 79 to Kansas in the first meeting of the season, and will have to make some adjustments in this game.
Texas Tech likes to slow the game down on offense, which is part of the reason that they are averaging just over 71 points per game. The Red Raiders have one of the best players in the Big 12 Conference in sophomore guard Jarrett Culver. Culver is shooting close to 50 percent from the field and leading the Red Raiders with 17.7 points per game this season. Texas Tech doesn’t have any other real stars outside of Culver, but they have some guys capable of making open shots. If the Red Raiders are going to win this game it will be because of their defense and not their offense.
Freshmen Stepping Up For Kansas
Kansas head coach Bill Self brought in a terrific recruiting class again this season, but he didn’t anticipate having to rely on them so early in their careers. A season ending injury to Udoka Azubuike and a leave of absence for Lagerald Vick have forced several young players into action much earlier than was expected. Point guard Devon Dotson has been taking advantage of his opportunity, pouring in more than 12 points per game while shooting better than 43 percent from the three-point line. Dotson is the only real shooting threat the Jayhawks have at the moment, and Kansas needs him to shoot it well against Texas Tech.
Despite all of the injuries this season, the Jayhawks are still averaging close to 77 points per game. Junior forward Dedric Lawson can take a ton of credit for that, but he has gotten some help of late. Lawson leads the Jayhawks with 19.2 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, and has the ability to dominate the paint on almost every night. This isn’t the most dominant Kansas team in the last decade, but don’t sleep on the Jayhawks.
Jayhawks Pull Off Upset Over Texas Tech
The Kansas Jayhawks have won 14 straight Big 12 Conference championships, and they know how important this game is. Despite all that has happened to Kansas this season, they are still in position to win it again. Texas Tech has to be embarrassed by what happened against Kansas in the first meeting, and they will want revenge.
The problem is that the Red Raiders simply don’t score enough points, and their defense won’t be good enough to slow down the Jayhawks. Take the points, but expect an outright win for Kansas. Bet the Jayhawks +6.0 over Texas Tech.