Tonight, on the heels of a much-needed win over UCF, a huge opportunity awaits the Texas Tech basketball team. On national television, the Red Raiders are set to face perennial Big 12 bully, Kansas with a chance to make a statement about this team's postseason deservedness.
This is a chance for Tech to secure another Quad 1 win on its home court and if that happens, Grant McCasland's team will take a huge step toward securing an NCAA Tournament birth. Of course, Beating Kansas has been one of the rarest things this program has ever done over the years.
Overall, Tech is just 7-43 against KU. That includes a mark of only 6-17 in Lubbock. It's by far the worst mark the program has against any conference opponent. KU has won the last four games in the series since a 75-67 Red Raider win at home in January of 2022.
However, this year's version of the Jayhawks isn't what you might expect from that prestigious program. Currently, Kansas is only 7-4 in Big 12 play, one-half game ahead of Tech in the standings.
So let's take a deeper look at the Jayhawks to see what the Red Raiders might encounter tonight at United Supermarkets arena. We'll start by looking at why it is so important that this game is being played in Lubbock.
Texas Tech could take advantage of a KU team that hasn't been very good on the road
When the Big 12 schedule was released during the offseason, many fans were relieved to see that the Red Raiders wouldn't have to travel to Lawrence, Kansas this year. That's because Tech has won only once all-time at Allen Fieldhouse.
Little did we know, though, that playing Kansas in Lubbock would be an extra benefit in 2023-24. Usually, KU is tough regardless of whether or not they are playing on their home court. That hasn't been the case this season, though.
Kansas is just 1-4 on the road in Big 12 play. That includes a three-game losing streak heading into tonight's game in Lubbock.
In their first conference road game, KU blew a 16-point lead against UCF in Orlando. In that 65-60 loss, the Jayhawks turned the ball over 18 times and shot only 54.5% (6-11) from the free-throw line.
Then, after dismantling Oklahoma State in Stillwater, KU found themselves in another road dogfight in Morgantown, West Virginia. That day, the Jayhawks lost 91-85 to the team that has been battling with Oklahoma State for last place in the conference all season.
The next time KU ventured onto another team's campus was two games later at Iowa State. In that 79-75 Cyclone victory, the Jayhawks allowed Iowa State to hit 14 shots from beyond the arc as the famous Hilton Coliseum magic was alive and well in Ames.
Then, last week, KU fell to rival Kansas State 75-70 in overtime in Manhattan, Kansas. Not only was that win Kansas' third-straight road loss, it was the 11th straight overtime win for Kansas State.
Now, the Red Raiders must keep KU's road woes alive. The Red Raiders are 12-1 at home this year and the U.S.A. should be rather raucous with this blue blood program in town.
Will Kansas find a way to end its road struggles tonight or will Texas Tech's home dominance continue? That will be an interesting storyline to watch as this game unfolds.