News, notes and quotes on No. 8 Kansas' matchup with Texas Tech on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas, while hoping Perry Ellis still has the magic touch after scoring a career-high 32 points in KU's 95-65 home victory over TCU Saturday.
The Jayhawks are 19-6 and 10-2 in Big 12 play.
SCOUTING TEXAS TECH
Texas Tech (13-12, 5-7 in Big 12), which had won three straight, is coming off a 70-64 loss at Iowa State Saturday. TTU has defeated multiple Associated Press top-25 teams in the same season for the first time since 2007-08. The Red Raiders have also surpassed their league win total from the previous two years combined, and are looking to win three straight home games for the first time since 2010.
Tech, which is 10-4 at home, including 3-3 against Big 12 foes, is led by senior forward Jaye Crockett. He paces the team in both scoring (14.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.7 rpg) while shooting 53.8 percent from the field and 84.3 percent from the free throw line.
Junior forward Jordan Tolbert is next in scoring (10.8 ppg), followed by junior guard Robert Turner (9.7 ppg, team-high 69 assists and 34 steals), sophomore guard Toddrick Gotcher (7.7 ppg), sophomore guard Dusty Hannahs (7.7 ppg, team-high 37 three-pointers), and senior forward Dejan Kravic (6.6 ppg, team-best 30 blocks).
TTU averages 71.3 points and allows 68.3 (No. 2 in Big 12 in scoring defense). The Red Raiders lead the league in rebounding defense at 29.6 and have a +4.0 rebound margin. They also lead the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 74.7 percent. Tech shoots 46.2 percent from the field and 32.3 percent from three-point range, while holding foes to 43.7 percent shooting and 33.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Coach Tubby Smith is 13-12 in his first season at Texas Tech and 524-238 in his 23rd season overall.
SELF ON TECH
KU coach Bill Self has great respect for the improved Red Raiders.
Self expects a great crowd at United Spirit Arena.
"Earlier in the season, they may have been drawing 4 or 5,000 and now they'll probably have 13,000 or whatever the sellout will be," Self said of the arena that holds 15,098. "I'm excited for our guys to go into a good environment and play against a good team. We need that. Everybody wants to win games, but still we got to get better and we'll have to be better to win that one."
NO TRAP GAME
With a big home game at Texas on Saturday, where the Longhorns are just one game behind Kansas in the league race, Self is still not viewing the Texas Tech matchup as a "trap" game.
"I haven't viewed it as a trap game at all," Self said. "... This is a really big week for us. The next three games (KU plays host to Oklahoma, which is in third place in the Big 12 at 8-5, on Feb. 24) obviously will probably determine the league race in a lot of ways. We have a chance with two of three at home and a tough road game, to maybe create some serious separation and we get a chance to maybe be not exactly where we want to be. It's a great opportunity for us. Texas Tech counts just as much as the Texas game."
ALL JAYHAWKS IN
KU will have a full roster of people that can play against Texas Tech. Freshman center Joel Embiid, who sat out the TCU game Saturday with knee and back injuries, is ready to play. And Brannen Greene, who missed the TCU contest due to disciplinary reasons, will also see action.
BATTLE OF COACHING CHAMPIONS
This game matches two of the 11 active NCAA Division I coaches who have won an NCAA title against each other. Self won the 2008 national championship with the Jayhawks while Smith won the 1998 title while at Kentucky. This is Self's fourth meeting against a national championship coach this season. KU defeated Mike Krzyzewski's Duke team, 94-83, on Nov. 12 in the Champions Classic in Chicago, lost to Billy Donovan's Florida squad, 67-61, on Dec. 10 in Gainesville and lost to Steve Fisher's San Diego State team, 61-57, on Jan. 5 in Allen Fieldhouse.
Before the K-State game on Feb. 10, Ellis had averaged just 11 points in his last three games. But in his last two contests against KSU and TCU, Ellis has scored 51 points (25.5 ppg), including a career-high 32 points versus the Horned Frogs, where Ellis connected on 13-of-15 shots, including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc. He also made all four free throws, and had eight rebounds, a career-best five assists and two steals.
Ellis, who was named co-Big 12 Player of the Week with Baylor's Isaiah Austin, is definitely on a little roll right now.
"The key's in practice," Ellis said. "I just got to keep competing in practice and good things happen."
The series between KU and Texas Tech dates back to 1959 with Kansas winning overall, 25-4. KU has won five straight and seven of the last eight meetings. The Jayhawks are 9-4 against Texas Tech in Lubbock, including a 5-3 record in United Spirit Arena. KU has won the last two meetings in the arena after losing the previous three.