Today, the Texas Tech basketball team faces Kansas for the second time so let’s look at what has to change from this season’s first meeting.
The Texas Tech basketball team’s first matchup with Kansas this season is one that gets tougher to swallow with each passing week. That’s because the 58-57 KU victory is proving to be one of those games that can stick with a team and a fan base being as Kansas has proven to be merely an average Big 12 team making that game one that Tech feels it should have put in the win column.
If you’ve forgotten about how that game played out, no one will blame you. That’s because it took place all the way back on December 17th of last year.
In what was a back-and-forth defensive battle, KU scored the winning bucket on an out-of-bounds play with just 13 seconds to play. Tech had one final possession to win the game but it was disjointed and sloppy leading to a desperation Terrence Shannon pull-up jumper, which was blocked.
But let’s go back and take a closer look at that game and see what has to be different this time around for the Red Raiders to change their fortunes. And we will begin with the fact that two of Tech’s starters have to be much better.
Edwards and Santos-Silva can’t go scoreless
The first time the Red Raiders met KU, both Kyler Edwards and Marcus Santos-Silva were held without a point. Though beating Kansas isn’t as tough this year as it has been in the past, Tech isn’t ever going to take down the Jayhawks with no offensive production from two-fifths of the starting five.
Edwards went 0-9 from the field, including 0-5 from 3-point range. It was one of12 times this season that the junior guard has attempted five or more shots from distance but the only game of those 12 in which he didn’t hit at least one 3-ball.
As for Santos-Silva, foul trouble limited him to just 19 minutes of action. During that time, he grabbed just five rebounds. Though he did hand out three assists and block two shots that day, he has to give Tech more in this rematch.
Today, his matchup with KU’s big man David McCormack is going to be pivotal. Before scoring eight points against Kansas State in his last game, the 6-foot-10 Kansas forward had scored double-digits in seven straight games as he appears to be taking his game to a new level. Can Santos-Silva at least neutralize what McCormack gives KU today? That’s going to be one of today’s most important developments to monitor.
So too will be the play of Kyler Edwards. He’s never scored more than eight points in a game against Kansas and in five career games with KU, he’s managed only 22 total points. Hopefully, today is the day that he makes his mark against the Big 12’s biggest traditional bully, but if not, he has to at least keep from being shut out.