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Andy Wittry | | January 25, 2020

No. 15 Kentucky at No. 18 Texas Tech: Time, TV channel, preview

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The 2020 Big 12/SEC Challenge provides the last major non-conference series before the NCAA Tournament.

The only game in the Challenge between two ranked teams is No. 15 Kentucky (14-4) traveling to No. 18 Texas Tech (12-6). The other games are Iowa State at Auburn, Missouri at West Virginia, LSU at Texas, Mississippi State at Oklahoma, Tennessee at Kansas, Oklahoma State at Texas A&M, TCU at Arkansas, Kansas State at Alabama and Baylor at Florida.

Here's a preview of the Kentucky/Texas Tech matchup:

Kentucky at Texas Tech: Time, TV Channel

Texas Tech will host Kentucky at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25. The game will be on ESPN. You can stream it on WatchESPN.

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Kentucky at Texas Tech: Preview

Kentucky and Texas Tech will meet on the hardwood for the first time since the 1994-95 college basketball season.

That was before John Calipari arrived in Lexington and before Chris Beard established himself as one of the game's rising coaches in Lubbock. That was before Tubby Smith coached at either school.

Neither team appears to be on the level of their 2018-19 predecessors, when Texas Tech lost in overtime of the national championship game and Kentucky lost in overtime in the Elite Eight, but both teams are currently ranked in the top 20.

In their last game, the Red Raiders lost 65-54 at unranked TCU after they scored just 0.84 points per possession — their third-lowest mark of the season — and made only 4-of-17 3-point attempts and committed 15 turnovers.

Texas Tech is 3-3 in the Big 12 after losing three of its last five games. The Red Raiders' defense has taken a small step back from last season, when they had the best defensive efficiency in the country, but they're still No. 8 nationally.

The concern for them is on offense, where they rank No. 88 and below average from 3-point range.

Kentucky has won its last two games after it lost on a buzzer-beater at South Carolina. The Wildcats rank in the top 35 nationally in offensive and defensive efficiency, but they too have struggled from behind the arc.

Their 31.6 3-point percentage ranks 242nd nationally. While sophomore Ashton Hagans is one of the strongest perimeter defenders in the country, Kentucky is getting a steal on just 7.5 percent of opponents' offensive possessions, which ranks 286th nationally.

Keep an eye on how Kentucky bigs Nick Richards (6-11), EJ Montgomery (6-10) and Nate Sestina (6-9) fare against a Texas Tech frontcourt that often features TJ Holyfield, 6-8, as its tallest player.

Both teams could really use a win. Kentucky is 1-2 on neutral courts this season and 2-1 on the road, so a victory in Lubbock could soothe any questions about the Wildcats' play away from home. Meanwhile, Texas Tech could face a slippery slope, having lost three of its last five and its next two games after Kentucky coming against No. 14 West Virginia and No. 3 Kansas.

Expect a potential defensive slugfest with a game that could be played in the 60s.

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