It’s been a weird season, and conference play has the opportunity to get even weird (not just because of COVID-19). The first conference game was over a week ago, but Kansas opens up their quest to start a new streak by traveling on the road to Texas Tech. They will put their 29-game win streak in conference openers on the line in a game that they aren’t favored to win. Will they be able to make it an even 30? Our crew gets together to tell you what to expect.
Disagree with anything you see here? Feel free to give your own prediction in the comments below!
Brendan: If I’m focusing on the positives for KU here, you don’t have to deal with a ton of fans in the building, which would otherwise be a big asset for Texas Tech, and you’re going to have the best player on the floor. You’ve got two elite coaches squaring off, of course, which always makes this an intriguing matchup. I’m not entirely sure of what to make of this game, truthfully, but I’m fired up nonetheless. Give me the Jayhawks in a close one because why not. Kansas 70, Texas Tech 68
Kyle_Davis21: What a way to start out Big 12 play, as the Jayhakws have three top-10 KenPom teams in a row. Similar to Creighton, it’s hard to get a full read of Tech yet because the Red Raiders have only played one game against a KenPom top-100 team and that was an 11-point loss to Houston. This is going to be a defensive battle and, I would imagine, a fairly low-scoring game. Both offenses have struggled at times, and Tech also has not been great inside the arch. KU gets the nod on offense and, given Brendan’s point about a not-sold-out road arena, I’m going to take Kansas in a tight battle. Kansas 73, Texas Tech 70
Mike.Plank: It’s ridiculous that KU went 17-1 in this league last year. We already know about KU’s home record, but the Jayhawks just don’t lose road games, which is part of why they won 15 league titles in a row. And it’s already starting - the two worst teams in the league, KSU and TCU, already have road wins in conference. Once again, the rest of the league is going to beat itself up and people will wonder how Bill Self does it. I think the Jayhawks smother Tech defensively while lighting it up from the perimeter. This is “wrong team favored” here, give me KU in a rather comfortable road win. Kansas 77, Texas Tech 62.
dnoll5: I’m probably the worst person to analyze anything as I had forgotten college basketball existed since that Creighton game and a one minute span of the Omaha game where I was alerted that KU was playing so I watched until a commercial. Anyway, I think Texas Tech is probably decent, but I’m really excited to see what KU with rest looks like, and I think they’ll look good. Kansas 80, Tech 65.
Fizzle406: Playing in an empty gym at Texas Tech will be like the Tubby Smith years. Tech has been good lately and Vegas likes them in this one so I’m going to trust the degenerate gamblers. Texas Tech 72, Kansas 70
David: If KU’s offense had been more consistent to this point I would feel better about this one. Tech is a lock to play great defense, and I’m just not sure we’re a lock to find any ways around it. On the other side though, I don’t think Tech is capable of running up any big numbers on the Jayhawks. I’m not sure how to evaluate home court advantage without fans, but like Fizzle said, this may feel like the bad Tech years where sometimes KU played like they were in...well an empty building in Lubbock, TX. I’ll give a small advantage to Tech. Texas Tech 70, Kansas 67
Andy Mitts: I struggle with this one, because KenPom says that Texas Tech has the #1 defense in adjusted efficiency this year. However, they haven’t really played anybody worth talking about to this point, so how much of that is their stats inflating against poor opponents. Similarly, while Kansas has been able to gut out wins, they have had very serious problems against teams that probably aren’t as good as this Texas Tech team. Ultimately, Kansas needs to do one of two things: either get David McCormack going REALLY early (like in the first 2 minutes), or pull him at the first sign of trouble and get Mitch Lightfoot in there. I’m still not convinced that Self is going to be willing to abandon playing McCormack this early into the conference season, but I also know that he is super competitive. I have to put my trust in him to find some way to pull this one out. Kansas 64, Texas Tech 62.