Kansas (22-6, 11-4) at Texas Tech (22-6, 10-5)
When: Saturday, February 24th 2018
Where: United Supermarkets Arena, Lubbock, TX
Time: 4:15 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Texas Tech -3/142
The Kansas Jayhawks are back atop the Big 12 standings after a recent slump by Texas Tech, and now have a chance to put way the Red Raiders with a victory in Lubbock on Saturday. A toe injury to Texas Tech star Keenan Evans has been the main reason his team has given up control of the Big 12 and dropped two straight. With Evans unlikely to be anywhere close to 100 percent on Saturday, the seventh-ranked Red Raiders will try and prevent Kansas from clinching at least a share of a NCAA-record 14th straight conference title. Evans was unable to play in the second half of a 59-57 loss at Baylor last Saturday, ending Texas Tech’s seven-game winning streak while also enabling Kansas to take a half-game advantage atop the conference. The Red Raiders then dropped a full game after Wednesday’s 79-71 defeat at Oklahoma State, as Evans scored only two points. The defense, which ranks near the top in the entire country, gave up its second-highest scoring output of the season and a season-high 52.2% mark from the field. Kansas is back on top after routing fading Oklahoma 104-74 on Monday. The Jayhawks will have a tough task on the road, however, as Texas Tech has won 17 straight at home and defeated Kansas 85-73 in Lawrence on January 2nd. The Jayhawks have won 33 of the 38 meetings, but the Red Raiders stopped a 16-game losing streak in the series with last month’s upset victory.
Devonte’ Graham, who’s streak of 10 games in which he played every minute of every game, came to an end Monday, but not before scoring 23 points in 35 minutes to improve his conference scoring average to 19 points per game – second in the Big 12. Udoka Azubuike (14.0 points), who leads the nation in field-goal percentage (77.1), was limited to 18 minutes due to foul trouble, but went 5-for-6 from the field to improve to 25-for-28 over his last four games. Freshman forward Silvio De Sousa played 13 minutes off the bench and recorded 10 points and six rebounds. Kansas has lost the front end of a Big 12 season series 17 times in 15 seasons under coach Bill Self only to win the second game every time.
With Evans (17.6 points) limited in each of the last two games, Zhaire Smith (11.1) has upped his play, leading the team in scoring each time while averaging 16.5 points on 66.7% shooting. Fellow freshman guard Jarrett Culver (10.9) snapped out of a three-game shooting slump (8-for-34) and finished with 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting and six rebounds. Senior guard Justin Gray (5.3), who is the only Red Raider to start all 28 games this season, has also contributed offensively over the last two games, scoring 23 points while collecting 13 rebounds. Texas Tech can set a school record for most wins in Big 12 play (10; 2001-02 and 2004-05) with a victory on Saturday.
Kansas is the better team here – and they’re healthier. Evans being banged-up as really hurt the Red Raiders, but their defense is going to be the key in this game on Saturday. They dominated the boards in their win last month in Lawrence and limited the Jayhawks to 6-of-26 shooting from 3-point land. It will be even tougher for Kansas to get their offense going in a hostile enviornment, that will really be rocking come game time. Texas Tech wins in a thriller.
Pick: Texas Tech -1.5
- Jayhawks are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Jayhawks are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
- Jayhawks are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Jayhawks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.
- Jayhawks are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 road games.
- Jayhawks are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Red Raiders are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
- Red Raiders are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Red Raiders are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS loss.
- Red Raiders are 1-8 ATS in their last 9 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Red Raiders are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up loss.
- Under is 6-1 in Jayhawks last 7 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.
- Under is 6-1 in Jayhawks last 7 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
- Under is 7-2 in Jayhawks last 9 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 7-2 in Jayhawks last 9 games following a straight up win.
- Under is 8-3 in Jayhawks last 11 vs. Big 12.
- Under is 5-2 in Jayhawks last 7 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Under is 7-3 in Jayhawks last 10 Saturday games.
- Under is 56-25-3 in Jayhawks last 84 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Under is 38-17-1 in Jayhawks last 56 games following a ATS win.
- Under is 57-26-3 in Jayhawks last 86 road games.
- Under is 52-24-3 in Jayhawks last 79 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Under is 10-1 in Red Raiders last 11 Saturday games.
- Under is 6-2 in Red Raiders last 8 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Under is 13-6 in Red Raiders last 19 vs. Big 12.
- Under is 19-9 in Red Raiders last 28 overall.
- Under is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings in Texas Tech.
- Home team is 20-8 ATS in the last 28 meetings.