Texas Tech (13-12, 5-7) versus Kansas (19-6, 10-2)
Where: Lubbock, Texas, United Spirit Arena
When: 7:00 p.m. (CT), Tuesday
TV: Big 12 Sports Network (U-Verse 14, Suddenlink 6, DirecTV 640, Dish 432)
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network from Learfield Sports
The Matchup: Texas Tech will face a typical Kansas basketball team Tuesday night: big, ridiculously talented and deep at every position. The Jayhawks are also well-coached, perched atop the Big 12 leader-board and ranked No. 8 in the nation. Ho hum…just another season in the progression of one of the nation's truly elite basketball programs.
The above hardly guarantees KU a victory, however. Of Kansas' six losses, five have come away from the friendly confines of Phog Allen Arena, although four of them came by six points or less and the road losses were to Villanova, Florida, Colorado, Texas and Kansas State, five very stout teams. Still, it is unlikely that the Jayhawks will encounter a more hostile environment all season than what they'll see in Lubbock.
Kansas will do so with loads of young talent. True freshman Andrew Wiggins, a surefire lottery pick, leads KU in scoring averaging 16 points per contest. Wiggins shoots only 44 percent from the floor, however, and has more turnovers than assists. Sophomore Perry Ellis has designed a stat line that shows 14 points and seven boards per outing. Freshman Joel Embiid is one of the college basketball's best shot blockers in addition to averaging 11 points and eight rebounds per game, but owing to injury, his status for the Tech game is unknown.
As a team, the Jawhawks shoot a sizzling 50 percent from the floor and own a gaudy plus-eight number in rebounding margin. If there's a chink in KU's armor it may be perimeter defense; opponents connect on 35 percent of their three-point attempts.
Texas Tech will be looking to start another winning streak after having their three-game conference run thwarted at Iowa State. To do so, the Red Raiders will need a consistent offensive effort devoid of significant droughts. Tech has traveled through the Sahara, Gobi, Mojave and Kalahari offensive deserts this season and the journeys have precipitated many of their losses, including the latest in Ames. Fortunately for the Red Raiders, KU is only sixth in the Big 12 in scoring defense so it may be possible for Tech to avoid those debilitating offensive lapses.
Forward Jaye Crockett, a bulwark all season, has really come on of late, and put up a career best 23 points against ISU to go along with 12 boards. Naturally, Tech will need another monster performance out of Crockett to knock off the Jayhawks. Help from the erratic duo of Jordan Tolbert and Robert Turner would also not go amiss.
Tech Player to Watch: Everybody knows about Jaye Crockett's scoring and rebounding ability, but he is also a very solid defender. Chances are good that Crockett will spend much of the night guarding Andrew Wiggins. If the veteran can school the rookie, Crockett's NBA stock gets a big boost and Tech just might get a huge win.
Kansas Player to Watch: Freshmen Wiggins and Embiid get most of the press, but another freshman, Wayne Selden, is pretty darn good himself. A guard built like Mitch Richmond (and Marcus Smart), Seldon averages 10 points per game, has 11 more assists than turnovers, and shoots 35 percent from three.
Notable: Kansas owns a colossal 25-4 series advantage over Texas Tech in men's basketball.
Quotable: "Give them [the Red Raiders] credit. We were fortunate to get out of there with a win." —Iowa State's DeAndre Kane
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