Kansas Jayhawks Can’t Let Up Against Texas Tech Red Raiders


Kansas Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis (34) Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas Jayhawks (19-6, 10-2) take to the road tonight against the Texas Tech Red Raiders (13-12, 5-7) at 7 p.m. CST.

The Jayhawks cannot sleep through this match up or they will be returning home with yet another loss away from Allen Fieldhouse. They need to stay focused and not take Texas Tech lightly.

The Red Raiders are a much improved team this season, and have been very competitive in Big 12 play. This really should not shock anyone, as it is the first season under a National Championship winning coach, Tubby Smith. In conference play, Texas Tech has lost 7 games, but only one by double digits. They lost to Iowa State by 11 in their Big 12 opener.

Nothing really stands out from a offensive statistical point of view either. In conference play, they rank 9th in scoring, rebounding, and assists. Against Big 12 opponents, they have shown a big improvement on defense. In conference play, the rank first in points allowed, and they give up the fewest rebounds.

Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith – Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Oddly enough, they rank 7th in field goal percentage against, but they guard the perimeter extremely well, ranked second in that category. Conference foes hit just 31.3% of their 3-pointers against Tech.

Texas Tech is the kind of team Kansas has struggled against thus far this season.

The Red Raiders are led in scoring and rebounding by Jaye Crockett with 14.8 points and 6.7 rebounds. Jordan Tolbert is second in both categories, scoring 10.8 points, and pulling down 5.9 rebounds.

Tubby Smith likes to use his bench as 10 players average more than 10 minutes a game in playing time.

Kansas should be at full strength heading into Lubbock tonight. Joel Embiid missed the TCU this weekend due to a sore back and knee. Brannen Greene missed the game for disciplinary reasons. The previous game against Kansas State, Jamari Traylor sat out for disciplinary reason as well.

Four players average in double figures for the Jayhawks, including Andrew Wiggins (16.1), Perry Ellis (14.0), Joel Embiid (10.7), and Wayne Selden, Jr. (10.4). Perry Ellis is coming off a career high 32 points against the Horned Frogs, and his second Big 12 Player of the Week (He shared the honors this time with Isaiah Austin of Baylor).

Kansas will need to replicate the fire and intensity they displayed in the second half of the TCU contest. They locked down on defense after the intermission, really locked down, for one of the few times all season, and hustled all over the floor. That hustle and fiery defense led to easy baskets at the other end.

The Kansas Jayhawks are also doing a much better job maintaining possession of the basketball on offense than they did earlier in the season. They have slowly been whittling down their average turnovers per game, and now at 13.4 for the season. This is an important improvement that needs to be noted.

Texas Tech is capable of beating anyone in the conference, especially at home. The Kansas Jayhawks cannot afford another lackadaisical performance on the road. They have to be ready to play this one or it will be a long plane ride home.

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