Who: Texas Tech (11-2, 1-0) vs. Kansas (13-1, 2-0)
Where: Lubbock, Texas, United Supermarkets Arena
When: Sunday, January 9, 8:00 p.m. (CT)
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network
Notable: Kansas is the best three-point shooting team in college basketball, connecting on 46 percent of their attempts from long range.
Quotable: “Tubby will will them to be better and will them to be good. But they're really a nice team. They're definitely an NCAA-tournament potential team. You look at their RPI, what were they, fourth or fifth in the RPI in the country. Strength of schedule as well, under 15 or 20, something like that. Yeah, they've improved a ton.”—Kansas coach Bill Self on Texas Tech
Has there ever been a season in which Kansas didn’t field an extremely formidable basketball team? Well 2015-16 is no exception. The Jayhawks are talented at every position, very deep, experienced, well coached, big, and they shoot like the dickens. So, as good as Texas Tech has been so far, and as much as there seems to be “a touch of upset” in the air, the Red Raiders have their work cut out for them. They will have to play an inspired and almost flawless game in order to grab the W.
In looking at Kansas’ roster, one of the main things that stand out is size and plenty of it. Like most Big 12 teams, Kansas is big up front with 6-foot-10 Landen Lucas and Hunter Mickelson, and 6-foot-8 Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor, the latter of whom has punished Tech badly in the past.
But what makes Kansas unusual is size at the guard position. Starter Wayne Selden is a Mitch Richmond clone at 6-foot-5 and a stout 230 pounds. Add to that 6-foot-7 Brannen Greene—another Jayhawk who’s scalded Tech in the past—and 6-foot-8 Ukrainian Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk. Seldon and Greene shoot an incredible 54 and 63 percent respectively from three, while Mykhailiuk shoots a measly 36 percent from distance. 3-point shooting such as this is a primary reason why Kansas is the second highest scoring team in college hoops.
Forward Perry Ellis, however, leads this team. He averages 16 points and seven boards per game.
Point guard Frank Mason dishes out six assists per contest while turning it over an average of once per game. Mason and Devonte’ Graham get it done defensively, too, with each averaging two steals per outing.
As for the Red Raiders, senior guard Toddrick Gotcher is arguably playing the best basketball of anybody on the team. He improves with virtually every game and now averages 12 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal per game. His turnovers per minutes played is also easily lowest on the roster.
Devaugntah Williams continues to top the scoring charts with 15 points per game, but his shooting percentage has dipped to 40, and he’s now shooting a pedestrian 31 percent from beyond the mark. Furthermore, he has only four more assists (24) than turnovers (20). Williams will need to recharge his game if the Red Raiders are to pull the upset.
As a team the Red Raiders shoot 46 percent from the floor while limiting their opponents to 39-percent shooting. Both Tech and its foes connect on an average of 31 percent of their 3-point attempts. The Red Raiders also shoot 74 percent from the charity stripe and are plus-four in rebounding margin.