Kansas (12-2, 1-0 Big 12), which is playing its Big 12 home opener, has won three straight following its thrilling 56-55 win at Baylor on Wednesday.
SCOUTING Texas TECH
Tech has lost four of its last five games, including two straight home Big 12 games against nationally ranked Texas (70-61) on Jan. 3 and West Virginia (78-67) on Jan. 5.
TTU, which is 10-2 at home and 0-3 away this season, won nine of its first 10 games. The Red Raiders average 68.3 points per game and have a +8.3 scoring margin. Tech averages 36.9 rebounds per game with a +5.2 margin, while averaging 7.3 steals, 12.1 assists and 4.6 blocks per game.
Junior guard Devaughtah Williams leads the attack with 11.7 points per game and a team-high 25 threes and 31 assists. Senior guard Robert Turner is next in scoring (8.9 ppg), followed by freshman center Norense Odiase (8.0 ppg, team-high 5.1 rpg), redshirt junior guard Toddrick Gotcher (7.1 ppg), freshman forward Justin Gray (7.1 ppg) and sophomore guard Randy Onwuasor (6.4 ppg, team-best 21 steals).
Tech is coached by legendary Tubby Smith, who is 24-23 in his second season at TTU and 535-245 in his 24th season overall.
KU coach Bill Self knows Smith’s teams have always prided themselves on toughness and defense.
“They’re always going to be good defensively,” Self said. “Tubby’s teams, whether it’s at Tulsa or Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, Tech, their teams guard, they make it hard on you to score, they don’t give up easy stuff. He’s a fabulous coach, and he’s going to do a great job at Tech. Bottom line, his teams hang their hat on the defensive end.”
GREENE PERFECT FROM THE CHARITY STRIPE
KU sophomore guard Brannen Greene has made 17 straight free throws this season and 21 consecutive charities dating back to last year. He hit two key charities in the final seconds against Baylor on Jan. 7 with Kansas up one, helping the Jayhawks win, 56-55.
“He’s made them, but he’s made them at the most opportune times and crunch time for us,” Self said. “He’s a great shooter and there’s nobody we’d rather have on the line late than him because basically he has no conscience, which is a good thing with a shooter. ... Of course, he’s been money from the free throw line.”
Greene was asked by a reporter about going perfect from the charity stripe this season.
“I hope so,” Greene said. “I’ve joked around about it with coach and stuff when we’re just shooting free throws. Of course, it’s a realistic goal. I think that would be amazing, that would be really cool. I don’t know who’s done that before, but it’s definitely a goal. I don’t know if that will happen or not, but we’ll see.”
Al Correll holds the highest single-season free throw percentage at KU when he knocked down 45 of 50 charities for 90 percent in 1964. Sherron Collins holds the school record for consecutive free throws made with 36 in 2009.
Greene, who is averaging 5.5 points per game, had a big outing last contest against Baylor, scoring 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including 2-of-3 from three-point range in a career-high 29 minutes. It was his first multi-three-pointer game since going 5-of-5 at Georgetown on Dec. 10.
Kansas has a dominant advantage in the series with Texas Tech, leading 27-4. KU has won 10 straight beginning on Jan. 16, 2010. Kansas is 14-0 against TTU in games played in Allen Fieldhouse.
Self is 14-6 all time versus Tech, including 13-3 while at Kansas. Smith, meanwhile, is 2-5 against KU.