There’s a full college basketball schedule on Saturday, including a top-25 Big 12 showdown between the Kansas Jayhawks and the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The no. 6 Jayhawks have established themselves as one of the best teams in the country, while the no. 25 Red Raiders have surpassed expectations thus far. On the road, the Jayhawks are favored by 4.5 points with an over/under of 140 points.
After a long hiatus, the Red Raiders lost a mid-week game to Iowa State in their Big 12 opener. The loss dropped Texas Tech to 10-3 on the season, with the team’s other losses coming against Providence and Gonzaga. However, the Red Raiders have a win over Tennessee on their resume.
Meanwhile, the Jayhawks are 12-1 on the season, with their only loss coming on a miraculous buzzer-beater against Dayton. Kansas has rattled off eight straight wins since that loss. That stretch includes wins over St. John’s, Missouri, Colorado, and an 11-point win over Oklahoma State earlier this week.
The New Star
Everything for Kansas this season has revolved around Ochai Agbaji, who is averaging over 20 points per game while shooting 45% from three-point range. Agbaji is joined in a loaded backcourt by Christian Braun and Arizona State transfer Remy Martin. Braun is averaging over 16 points per game while becoming more than a shooter, while Martin has solidified the point guard position for Kansas.
However, there has been a little less consistency from the Kansas frontcourt. David McCormack and Jalen Wilson are still the primary figures, although both have seen their numbers regress from last season, especially Wilson. But outside of Mitch Lightfoot, who’s been steady but unspectacular, the Jayhawks don’t have many other capable big men.
Piece It Together
It’s a little unclear who will be available for Texas Tech on Saturday, as the Red Raiders lost to Iowa State this week with just seven players available. Leading scorers Kevin McCullar and Terrence Shannon missed the game due to injury, while other players were missing due to COVID protocols. McCullar leads the Red Raiders in points, assists, rebounds, and steals but is 50-50 to play against Kansas.
Fortunately for the Red Raiders, Davion Warren and Bryson Williams both average double figures and can help pick up the slack for McCullar. Oral Roberts transfer Kevin Obanor can also be a scoring threat and a strong rebounder. But with Shannon likely out and McCullar’s status up in the air, the Red Raiders will need a lot more from their supporting cast, including former starter Marcus Santos-Silva and Winthrop transfer Adonis Arms.
Rock Chalk It Up
Even at full strength, the Red Raiders might have a hard time keeping up with the Jayhawks. Despite uneven performances from the team’s frontcourt, the Kansas backcourt has been good enough to win all but one game this season. Bet on the Jayhawks score enough against Texas Tech that the Red Raiders can’t keep up, allowing Kansas to cover the 4.5-point spread.
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