A clash of Big 12 powerhouses sees the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks paying a visit to the No. 14 Texas Tech Red Raiders on Thursday in the conference opener for both squads. Kansas (6-1) has won six straight since a season-opening loss to Gonzaga on Thanksgiving Day, while Texas Tech (6-1) comes in on a four-game winning streak, making this a great game to bet online.
The Red Raiders haven’t been playing top competition, defeating Troy, Grambling State, Abilene Christian, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at home since their only loss to Houston. The Jayhawks’ resume is a little stronger, with wins over Kentucky and Creighton, though Kansas hasn’t played since last Friday.
The Jayhawks won both meetings between these schools last season, including a 66-62 victory in Lubbock. In fact, the Red Raiders have come out on top in just six of their 43 meetings with their conference rival, with the most recent coming in 2018-19.
Both teams would like to add to their resumes for when the field is picked for NCAA March Madness, and a win in this one would be a plus for either team.
The Jayhawks have been putting the wins together since falling short against No. 1 Gonzaga in their opener, averaging 81.6 points so far. Freshman forward Jalen Wilson is the team leader in both scoring (15.3 points) and rebounding (8.7), though Bill Self has four double-figure scorers in his starting five.
Junior guard Ochai Agbaji is scoring 14.1 points per game while shooting 45.9 percent from three-point range. Guard Christian Braun has also been shooting well from long range, hitting 44.4 percent and averaging 11.9 points per game.
Senior guard Marcus Garrett runs the show for the Jayhawks, dishing out nearly four assists per game. He’ll need to be on his game against a Texas Tech defense that likes to apply a lot of pressure to opposing ballhandlers.
Georgetown transfer Mac McClung has made himself comfortable at Texas Tech in a hurry, leading the team in scoring with 14.1 points per game. The junior guard is also passing the ball more, averaging just over three assists per game after averaging under three in both of his seasons with the Hoyas.
Sophomore guard Terrence Shannon Jr. has been playing well, averaging 11.8 points and 4.7 rebounds. He’ll need to hit the boards and try to replicate the career-high 11 rebounds he had against the Jayhawks last season since the Red Raiders will be lacking in height in this one.
Texas Tech is outrebounding opponents by more than six boards a game this season, but the Red Raiders have just one player taller than 6-8 on their roster. Kansas, on the other hand, has 6-10 David McCormack in its starting lineup, which will put the Red Raiders at a disadvantage.
These two squads are both hoping to make some college basketball news and knock Big 12 favorite Baylor off its pedestal, so every game is going to be important in that quest. The Red Raiders need to win their home games, while the Jayhawks are used to winning everywhere.
Both of these teams are good in transition, so this one could be a run-and-gun contest. The Red Raiders love to tighten the defensive screws on opponents, holding teams to 51.6 points per game while forcing 20.5 turnovers per contest.
Kansas will have to handle the defensive pressure and work for good shots, but the Jayhawks can play a little defense as well, leading to some fast-break opportunities. We can see Kansas dominating the glass — they average almost 11 rebounds more than their opponents — and making just enough plays to pull out the win.
If you want to do a little college basketball betting on some Big 12 action, take the Jayhawks on the road in this one.