- Visiting Kansas is a 1.5-point underdog against Texas Tech in the Big 12 opener for both teams Thursday at the United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock
- Kansas has won six games in a row and Texas Tech is on a four-game winning streak
- Texas Tech is holding opponents to 51.6 points a game and 35.5% shooting
Normally, Big 12 teams would have most of November and all of December to play nonconference games in preparation for the meatgrinder of a conference schedule.
However, in a pandemic, little is normal.
Thus, two of the Big 12’s top team will jump into conference action with their earliest opener ever Thursday night when No. 5 Kansas visits No. 14 Texas Tech at 7 p.m. ET at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock.
The Red Raiders are favored at home.
#5 Kansas vs #14 Texas Tech Odds
|Kansas||+105||+1.5 (-110)||Over 132.5 (-110)|
|Texas Tech||-125||-1.5 (-110)||Under 132.5 (-110)|
Odds as of Dec. 16 at BetMGM.
Kansas is 6-1, having won six straight games since losing to No. 1 Gonzaga on Thanksgiving. However, the Jayhawks are just 2-4 against the spread.
Texas Tech has won four games in a row to also raise its record to 6-1 with the lone loss coming against No. 6 Houston. The Red Raiders are 4-3 ATS.
Texas Tech “D” Suffocating
Texas Tech reached the national championship game in 2018-19 where it lost to Virginia in overtime. Some analysts believe this version of the Red Raiders might be better.
As usual under coach Chris Beard, Texas Tech is playing suffocating defense. The Red Raiders are second in the nation in points allowed at 51.6 points a game and 14th in opponents’ field goal percentage with a 35.5 mark.
I don’t think it’s talked about enough that Texas Tech has the top ranked defense without their best defender stepping on the floor yet. This should get fun when McCullar finally gets healthy. ?⚫️ pic.twitter.com/H8sQdAMEvT
— TTU_Basketball_Fans (@fans_ttu) December 10, 2020
On three occasions, Texas Tech has allowed 46 points or less. The most points scored against the Red Raiders were 64 in the loss to Houston.
Transfer guard Mac McClung has made a big impact in his first season in the program. The former Georgetown standout is averaging a team-high 14.1 points a game.
Another transfer, graduate forward Marcus Santos-Silva has averages of 8.1 points and a team-leading 7.3 rebounds. He spent the previous four seasons at VCU.
Two holdovers are also having fine seasons. Sophomore guard Terrance Shannon Jr. (11.8) and junior guard Kyler Edwards (11.3) are both scoring in double figures.
Shannon scored 15 points in a 77-57 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday, a game in which Texas Tech wasn’t able to cover the 28-point spread.
Wilson Comes Back Strong
Kansas will present a big challenge to the Texas Tech defense as the Jayhawks are scoring 80.3 points a game.
Jalen Wilson is spearheading a four-pronged offensive attack with a 15.3 scoring average. He is also Is pacing Kansas in rebounds with 8.7 a game.
Jalen Wilson vs Creighton – 23 points pic.twitter.com/Qhq6fcBwrj
— Jayhawk Video (@JayhawkVideo) December 9, 2020
The redshirt freshman forward has shined a year after playing in two early-season games then breaking his ankle.
Wilson is followed in scoring by junior guard Ochai Agbaji (14.1), sophomore guard Christian Braun (11.9) and junior forward David McCormick (10.1).
Agbaji hit four 3-point field goals and finished with a game-high 18 points as Kansas rolled to a 95-50 victory over visiting Omaha on Friday as a 24.5-point favorite. Senior forward Mitch Lightfoot came off the bench to score a career-high 14 points in just 14 minutes.
The Jayhawks dominated the Mavericks as they held a 54-31 rebounding advantage, scored 42 points off 28 turnovers, and got 47 points from their reserves.
Kansas won both meetings between the teams last season by a combined seven points and has been victorious in 20 of the last 22 games.
The Jayhawks notched a 78-75 win at home in 2019-20 then a 66-62 victory at Lubbock in the regular-season finale. That turned out to be the last game of the season for both teams as the pandemic wiped out the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments.
Agbaji scored a combined 23 points in the two games.
Look for this game to be close again with defense swinging things Texas Tech’s way.
The Pick: Texas Tech -1.5 (-110)