Kansas Jayhawks vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders Pick 3/7/20
Kansas Jayhawks (27-3 SU, 18-11 ATS) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (18-12 SU, 14-16 ATS)
When: Saturday, March 7, at 2 p.m.
Where: United Supermarkets Arena, Lubbock, Texas
Point Spread: KU -3.5/TTU +3.5 (GTBets)
Total: O/U 133.5
Last Time Out:Kansas beat TCU 75-66; Texas Tech lost 71-68 in overtime to Baylor.
Scouting the Jayhawks:
Could this Kansas team be ready to make a run at a national championship game? Maybe, maybe not. The Jayhawks are certainly the most unified team among the favorites because everyone understands the way that he can help the team reach its full potential. To that end, Kansas has really become kind of a three-legged stool of Devon Dotson, Udoka Azubuike, and Marcus Garrett. Dotson is the man who makes everything go, as he’s been Kansas’ scorer and team leader for the past two seasons and has really taken over more than his share of games. But it’s Azubuike who is probably Kansas’ most valuable player and Garrett, who is the Jayhawks’ most important player.
Azubuike can change a game with his ability to rebound and block shots, and his inside scoring is as good as it gets in the Big 12. But the ball has to get somewhere, and that’s where Garrett comes in. When Garrett is running the show, Kansas knows that it’s in great shape as far as getting the ball where it needs to go and denying the ball to the right spots on the other end. Garrett’s defense has been outstanding all season, and the Jayhawks need that to make that their formula for success for the rest of the campaign.
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Scouting the Red Raiders:You can look at Texas Tech’s down-the-stretch finish one of two ways. You can see the three losses and wonder if the Red Raiders are going to be bounced from the tournament quickly. Or you can see that Texas Tech gave Baylor a tight battle down the stretch and nearly had the Bears beaten. How you choose to look at the Red Raiders will have a substantial effect on the way you see each of these teams and this game in turn, as Texas Tech has a shot to get a game that it needs to have if it can pull this game off. To do it, the Red Raiders need to follow part of their formula from the first time that they played the Jayhawks while fixing the other part. Texas Tech is normally a great defensive squad that doesn’t always have much of an ability to put up points. Against the Jayhawks, Texas Tech flipped that completely by getting huge games out of T.J. Holyfield and Jahmius Ramsey, who both scored in double figures and got some help in the form of at least eight points each from the other three starters. That’s the offense that Texas Tech needs to produce, but giving up 78 points is just far too many.
X-Factor:Motivation. Both of these teams have plenty of it in this game, as Kansas is playing to regain the Big 12 title while Texas Tech is playing to try to make the NCAA tournament. If the Red Raiders can get this win, they’ll take all of the guesswork out of the equation and simply have enough of a resume to make it to the NCAA tournament. If Kansas wins, the Jayhawks will lock down the No. 1 seed in the Midwest, which they almost have been assured of ever since they managed to get a win at Baylor. So the question is, which is the stronger motivator, the need to get into the tournament, or the need to return to the mountaintop? Whichever side sees more to play for should win.
Kansas will Cover if:The Jayhawks can assert their will on the glass. The way that Kansas finishes off its opponents it is by letting Azubuike to it by limiting opponents’ possessions and scoring on the interior when it’s available to attack. There really isn’t anyone who can guard Azubuike, and that’s one reason why he’s averaging a double-double.
Texas Tech will Cover if:The Red Raiders can replicate their offensive showing while stepping up on defense. Texas Tech very nearly had Kansas beaten at Allen Fieldhouse, and Lubbock is no easy place to play. The Red Raiders have to bring their shooting touch and get everyone involved in the offense from the beginning, which can neutralize Kansas’ advantages.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
Kansas is a truly great team, and this is no easy challenge, but I have to think the Jayhawks have just enough to pull out the cover and clinch the Big 12 regular-season title. Kansas hasn’t lost on the road in the Big 12, and after last year, when the Jayhawks couldn’t win away from Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas is likely highly motivated to get a result and clinch the title in front of the fans who celebrated their crown last season.
Texas Tech really needs to get a win here, but with how defense-oriented Kansas in and how well the Jayhawks are playing as of late, the conditions aren’t right for the Red Raiders to pull this off. Texas Tech’s strengths line up too well with what Kansas does well, and the Jayhawks throw in rebounds as well. That’s enough for me. Give me Kansas.
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