Fourth-ranked Jayhawks host struggling Red Raiders
Lawrence, KS – The fourth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks continue season crown, as they welcome the Texas Tech Red Raiders to Lawrence for a league showdown at the Allen Fieldhouse.
Bill Self has amassed 13 championships in his tenure with Kansas, with seven Big 12 regular-season crowns, five Big 12 Tournament titles and one national championship. His squad this year has the talent to add all three to the trophy case, as they come into this contest at 21-5 overall and tied with Missouri for the top spot in the conference standings at 11-2. The Jayhawks enter this game with three straight wins in tow, including a 59-53 victory over instate rival Kansas State on Monday.
Billy Gillespie hasn't exactly lit the world on fire in his first season in Lubbock. The Red Raiders are a mere 8-17 on the season overall, but have really struggled in league play, residing in the Big 12 basement at 1-12. The lone victory came last weekend against Oklahoma (65-47), but Tech fell right back into the loss column three days later in an ugly 47-38 loss to Texas A&M.
Kansas has won 21 of the 25 all-time meetings, including all 11 matchups in Lawrence. The Jayhawks are seeking the regular-season sweep after routing Texas Tech in Lubbock on January 11th, 81-46.
The Red Raiders did their job defensively against Texas A&M, but hit a new low offensively, scoring just 38 points in a nine-point loss. Tech finished the game converting just 38.6 percent from the floor (17-of-44), including a mere 4.of-14 from three-point range. In addition, the Red Raiders went to the free- throw line just twice, missing on both opportunities. Jaye Crockett came off the bench with nearly a third of the team's points, netting 12 in the loss.
Offensive ineptness has been the main problem this season in Lubbock, as the team is averaging just 60.2 ppg, while allowing six more points on average per game. Only one Red Raiders is currently averaging double figures in Jordan Tolbert, who is putting up 11.4 ppg. Ty Nurse (8.6 ppg), Javerez Willis (8.0 ppg) and Crockett (8.0 ppg) provide limited support.
Kansas has had very few issues at either end of the floor this season, averaging 74.7 ppg, while limiting foes to just 60.8. In addition, the Jayhawks enjoy a +6.2 rebounding margin. All-American candidate Thomas Robinson is a big part of the success. The junior forward is on everyone's shortlist for National Player of the Year, averaging team-highs of 17.8 points and 12.0 rebounds per game (first in the Big 12, second nationally). Tyshawn Taylor has been the perfect complement from the backcourt. Taylor can also fill up the basket at 16.9 ppg, while averaging 5.1 apg. The emergence recently of center Jeff Withey (9.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) has made Kansas even more effective.
After posting a career-high 25 points against Baylor, Withey has recorded back-to-back double-doubles, including 18 points and 11 rebounds against Kansas State. Taylor led the Jayhawks in the win over the Wildcats with 20 points, while Robinson just missed his 19th double-double of the season, finishing with 10 points and nine boards. Kansas shot just 39.6 percent from the floor in the game, but held Kansas State to a mere 30.8 percent showing from the floor.