Kansas basketball's chances of earning a 15th consecutive Big 12 title could become a little clearer when the Jayhawks visit fellow contender Texas Tech on Saturday, Feb. 23. Below, find prediction, preview, time and TV channel information.
Both Kansas and Texas Tech are 9-4 in conference play, one game behind leader Kansas State. KU routed Texas Tech in the teams' earlier meeting in Lawrence, 79-63.
Kansas-Texas Tech basketball: Time, TV channel
The Jayhawks and Red Raiders play at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 23, in Lubbock, Texas. The game can be watched on ESPN.
Kansas-Texas Tech: Preview, prediction
This will be the most important three-day stretch of the Big 12 season.
On Saturday, KU visits Texas Tech as the Jayhawks try to sweep the Red Raiders and cement their status as the No. 2 team in the league behind current leader K-State.
On Monday, the Jayhawks play at home against K-State. Win both, and Kansas is in fantastic shape to earn at least a share of its 15th consecutive Big 12 regular-season title.
But before the all-Kansas meeting, the Jayhawks must try to win at Lubbock.
The problem with that? Texas Tech is 14-1 at home; Kansas is 2-6 on the road — though the Jayhawks did win at TCU on February 11 in their last road game.
|20-6 (9-4)||Record (Big 12)||21-5 (9-4)|
|No. 15||NET ranking||No. 10|
|No. 12||AP ranking||No. 14|
|40.1||FG percentage defense||36.1|
|Scoring leader||Jarrett Culver
|Rebounding leader||Jarrett Culver
|Assist leader||Jarrett Culver
Along with its season-long road woes, Kansas must also try to score enough against one of the country's best defenses.
Texas Tech is first in the nation in field-goal percentage defense (36.1), second in points allowed (57.2) and fourth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (27.6).
Kansas has also been short-handed, playing without Lagerald Vick (leave of absence) and Udoka Azubuike (injury-out for season). But instead of accepting the end of the program's record conference title run, the Jayhawks have won three in a row.
Dedric Lawson remains the star, averaging 19.2 points and 10.3 rebounds. Much of the renewed optimism comes from freshmen Devon Dotson and Ochai Agbaji. Dotson has shot better than 50 percent in four of the last five games while reaching at least 15 points four times.
Then there's Agbaji. Kansas coach Bill Self didn't lift the redshirt until January. Since then, the freshman has averaged 10.8 points per game. Against Oklahoma State, he made 8 of 12 shots. He than made half of his 12 attempts in the win at TCU.
Still, Texas Tech is going to be a different challenge. Only Iowa State has solved the Red Raiders in Lubbock this season. Texas Tech is also 18-0 when it scores at least 65 points.
In the first meeting, Kansas shot 45.8 percent and benefitted from double-doubles by both Lawson and Agbaji and also had 20 points from Dotson.
If Kansas can get that type of production again, can Texas Tech score enough to still win? Much of the responsibility falls to Culver, who leads the Red Raiders in points, rebounds and assists. He struggled with 5-for-17 shooting in the first meeting.
Since then, however, Texas Tech beat West Virginia by 31, Oklahoma by 12, Oklahoma State by 28 and Baylor by 25. Culver and Davide Moretti combined for seven 3-pointers in the Baylor rout.
Prediction: Kansas has played better the last few games...but so has Texas Tech. The Red Raiders do just enough to defeat the Jayhawks to add more pressure on KU in a must-win game against K-State on Monday.
Texas Tech 72, Kansas 67