When an opportunity to make a statement arises, you'd better seize it. Tonight, that's what awaits the Texas Tech basketball team at home when the Kansas Jayhawks pay a visit.
The reality is that Tech's NCAA Tournament dreams are not realized yet. There is still work to be done for the Red Raiders following their recent three-game losing streak, which was snapped on Saturday with a win over UCF.
What's more, the Red Raiders have to find a way to improve their overall seeding in March if they want to make noise in the Big Dance. That's why beating Kansas tonight is imperative.
There simply aren't a ton of Quad-1 opportunities left at home for Grand McCasland and his team. A road game at No. 14 Iowa State will be next to impossible to get meaning home games against TCU and Baylor will likely be the only other Quad-1 wins Tech could earn before the Big 12 Tournament next month.
What's more, this Kansas team might be ripe for the picking. Expected to be without star guard Kevin McCullar Jr. and possibly starting point guard Dajuan Harris, KU could be fighting an uphill battle against the Red Raiders in front of a hostile crowd in Lubbock.
This could be a game that sets the tone for the rest of the month of February and the regular season. Down the stretch, Tech could finish strong with games still remaining against teams in the lower half of the league standings such as Texas, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State. But to get a running start toward March, tonight's game likely needs to go into the win column.
Texas Tech vs. Kansas broadcast info
Matchup: No. 4 Kansas (19-5, 7-4) at No. 23 Texas Tech (17-6, 6-4)
Location: Lubbock, Texas
Venue: United Supermarkets Arena
Tip: 8 p.m., Monday, February 12, 2024
TV: ESPN Big Monday
TV CALL: Jon Sciambi (play-by-play), Fran Fraschilla (analyst)
RADIO (Texas Tech Sports Network): 97.3 Double T FM
RADIO CALL: Geoff Haxton (play-by-play), Chris Level (analyst)
Texas Tech vs. Kansas Game Notes
SERIES HISTORY: Kansas leads 43-7
IN LUBBOCK: Kansas leads 17-6
LAST TIME: Kansas swept last season
The Jayhawks are currently on a four-game winning streak in the series and have won eight of the last 10. Tech’s last win was on January 8, 2022, in Lubbock (no current Red Raider was on that roster). The two programs also met in the 2022 Big 12 Championship with the Jayhawks winning the title with a 74-65 win in the final.
Texas Tech is currently 12-1 at home, 3-1 in neutral-court games, and 2-4 in true road games with road wins at No. 11 Oklahoma and No. 20 Texas on January 6 to begin Big 12 play. For the program, the 2022-23 team went 18-0 at home to establish the best home record in program history.
Last season, Pop Isaacs averaged 14.5 points and two assists per game against the Jayhawks. That included an 18-point showing in Lubbock.
Warren Washington missed his first game of the season at Baylor due to illness but returned with force, going for 11 rebounds, 10 points, and two blocked shots in the win over UCF… It was his second double-double of the season and 11th in his career. He is averaging 12.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in Big 12 play where he is second in the conference with a 64.3 shooting percentage to go along with 1.6 blocks per game.
Chance McMillan is only 93 points away from 1,000 in his career after he went for 15 points with three 3-pointers at Baylor and then contributed seven points in the win over UCF… In his fourth season of college basketball, but first at Tech, he is now averaging 11.6 points per game in Big 12 play where he is currently 20-for-48 (41.7%) on 3-pointers.
Darion Williams is coming off his fifth double-double of the season where he led Tech in scoring with 13 points and 13 rebounds against UCF after he had a career-high 17 points at Baylor. His 13 points against UCF were the first time he’s led the Red Raiders in scoring this season.
Texas Tech vs. Kansas prediction
What worries me about this game is that the Kansas Jayhawks are always a team that rises up when counted out. They did so at home against Houston just over a week ago when they thumped the Cougars 78-65. Then, they did it again on Saturday by beating Baylor 64-61 without McCullar and with having to play a couple of walk-ons.
Now, with McCullar possibly out and Dajuan Harris also questionable to play, Tech is considered by most to be the favorite in this game, especially considering KU's road struggles this year. Be careful, though, Kansas is a team that doesn't take well to being disregarded.
With that said, if KU is limited, it will go a long way toward helping the Red Raiders pick up a key win. KU is not a deep team when fully healthy and without both starting guards, it would be tough to pick the Jayhawks to beat a good team like the Red Raiders. If either questionable guard is able to play though, all bets are off.
Where this game will be won will be in the paint, though. KU has two dominant inside players in Hunter Dickinson and K.J. Adams. Can Tech be good enough inside to at least neutralize that duo? If so, the Red Raiders should come out on top.
Final score: Texas Tech 80 - Kansas 75