No. 23 Kansas Jayhawks (16-7 general, 10-5 Large 12) vs. No. 15 Texas Tech Purple Raiders (14-6 general, 6-5 Large 12)
Time: 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021
Location: Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kansas
TV: ESPN | Radio: IMG Jayhawk Radio Community
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Keys for Kansas
1. Get straightforward baskets to assist laboring offense
With the main target for this Kansas group being a lot on the defensive finish in current weeks, the Jayhawks’ offense has hit a little bit of a lull.
Kansas coach Invoice Self believes he is aware of the explanation for that and it goes past Self’s perception that this group’s below-average passing means is making offense more durable.
“There’s quite a lot of groups that labor rating,” Self stated Friday whereas waiting for the matchup with Texas Tech. “We’re a kind of groups. However one cause why (we give off) the looks that we’re laboring to attain (so) a lot is as a result of we’re not getting offensive put-backs proper now. We’re not scoring in transition. We’re not getting issues that you do not have to earn.”
Whereas quite a lot of these unearned factors will be the results of high quality protection — steals, deflections, profitable the battle for unfastened balls — Self stated the transition portion of the equation, nonetheless they will get it, is an space that should enhance.
“We’re not taking part in three in opposition to two or two in opposition to one,” he stated. “We’re taking part in 5 in opposition to 5, and that makes it more durable.”
Self’s philosophy is that offensive stats will be considerably deceptive. The groups that shoot the very best percentages don’t get all of their baskets in half-court settings.
“In the event you play 5 in opposition to 5, no one’s going to shoot 50%,” Self stated. “No one. The explanation you shoot 50% is since you get some straightforward baskets that you do not have to earn. So we have to begin producing that.”
2. Be keen to win ugly
After Wednesday’s victory at Kansas State, Self stated he thought his group higher get used to taking part in in some grind-it-out, low-scoring video games as a result of these are those KU is greatest suited to win.
Few groups in America current that choice in addition to Texas Tech, which not solely performs elite protection in a number of areas, but additionally performs a slower tempo than most groups, which severely limits every recreation’s whole possessions and magnifies the significance of every one.
This Kansas group discovered that out throughout a 58-57 win in Lubbock, Texas, earlier this season, however each groups are a little bit completely different since that first assembly.
For starters, it’s the Purple Raiders who’re ranked larger this time round, at No. 15 within the nationwide polls and contemporary off of a stint within the high 10.
Past that, Tech has sophomore guard Kevin McCullar obtainable this time round. McCullar missed the primary assembly due to an damage, however he’s again for this one he’ll carry his 10.4 factors and seven.0 rebounds per recreation in Large 12 play with him.
“I believe he’s the glue,” Self stated of McCullar. “I believe he’s the steadying affect. He can guard anyone, he is acquired nice dimension, he’s an incredible rebounder, he is an excellent scorer, he can drive it, he can move it. To me, that was an enormous miss for them by him not having the ability to play early within the season. They’re undoubtedly a greater group with him on the market.”
Texas Tech isn’t afraid to attain. They’ve scored 77 factors or larger in 10 of their 20 video games thus far and are averaging 74.3 per recreation for the season. However they’re stingy in terms of the defensive facet of the ball, surrendering simply 62.7 factors per recreation, practically 12 fewer than the Kansas offense is averaging.
Given the development of the Jayhawks’ protection of late, and the truth that each groups rank within the high 20 in KenPom.com’s adjusted defensive effectivity rankings (KU twelfth and Texas Tech nineteenth), a low-scoring grinder like these two groups performed the primary time round again in December is the almost definitely consequence on this one.
3. It’s time to make pictures once more
These subsequent three video games current a stiff check for Kansas, they usually’ll inform folks so much about this group and the place the Jayhawks are coming into March.
But when there’s one space that would illustrate a serious step ahead for the Kansas offense, it’s outdoors capturing.
The Jayhawks nonetheless rank third within the convention in 3-point share at 35.7%. However there was a time, not way back, when KU was way more constant from the surface and shot it even a little bit bit higher.
Redshirt freshman Jalen Wilson has discovered his capturing contact once more, knocking in 6 of 13 3-pointers in KU’s final three outings. However Ochai Agbaji (2 for his final 11) and Christian Braun (4 for his final 15) have fallen off a little bit.
To ensure that the Jayhawks to have success in these subsequent three video games, all three of these guards are going to must knock down open pictures.
“I do not assume it is a unusual system,” Self stated of the group’s objective of constructing 40% of its open appears to be like from 3-point distances. “I do not know that we have to do something so much completely different apart from make some pictures.”
The three-point line is the place KU’s protection additionally elements into the equation. Even when the Jayhawks don’t instantly discover their rhythm once more from the surface, the Kansas protection has a magic variety of kinds for what it will possibly permit.
In 15 Large 12 video games thus far this season, KU is 10-0 when its opponent has made eight 3-pointers or fewer and 0-5 in video games when the Kansas opponent has hit 9 or extra.
KU’s ball display screen protection vs. Texas Tech guard Mac McClung
Texas Tech guard Mac McClung scored a game-high 21 factors in KU’s 58-57 win in Lubbock, Texas, earlier this season, however the Jayhawks did an excellent job of constructing him work to get these factors.
The Georgetown switch was 5-of-16 from the ground and 2-of-8 from 3-point vary in that one. He did, nonetheless, get to the free throw line 10 instances, and he hit 9 of these 10 makes an attempt, bringing one main Self concern about defending McClung into full focus.
“One factor he does nice, he comes off a ball display screen (and) if he can get downhill, he’ll attempt to assault the large,” Self stated. “He’s superb with the ball. And he can get a shot off two toes. An excellent shot for him is not an excellent shot for many gamers in our league.”
By that, Self means McClung’s athleticism and scorer’s instincts permit him to make pictures even when he’s properly guarded as a result of he can use his physique and leaping means to create separation and shoot above the defender.
With that in thoughts, whichever Jayhawks are matched up with him all through this one have to do a couple of issues from begin to end.
“We have to be there on the catch, we won’t get lifted, we won’t get break up (on double groups) and, actually (we’ve got to) keep down on the shot fakes,” Self stated. “He’s going to attain. He’s a scorer. So we simply must restrict his good alternatives.”
Agbaji, Braun, Wilson, Marcus Garrett and Dajuan Harris all acquired turns guarding McClung within the first matchup. And the Tech guard who ranks second within the Large 12 in scoring at 17.2 factors per recreation, made all of them pay, scoring 13 of Tech’s first 20 factors and 9 of the primary 11.
After racking up 4 straight wins over groups close to the underside of the Large 12 Convention standings, the Jayhawks are set to kick off a stretch of three video games in opposition to ranked foes to complete the common season.
The chance is an enormous one and it not solely presents Kansas with an opportunity to manage its personal destiny within the cost for a second-place end, however it additionally provides the Jayhawks an opportunity to show that their current enchancment can result in high quality outcomes in opposition to higher groups.
Win or lose in any of them, Self is on the lookout for one easy factor from his group.
“I wish to see us play our greatest ball,” Self stated. “I do not assume we’ve performed our greatest ball but. I believe that we did some good issues at completely different instances this season, however I believe our greatest ball’s nonetheless in entrance of us and I believe we’re a little bit bit extra assured group now. So I am simply wanting ahead to seeing this group’s ceiling on the courtroom.”
Self stated something lower than that may seemingly reduce into KU’s probabilities of success in opposition to No. 15 Texas Tech, No. 12 Texas and No. 2 Baylor within the subsequent seven days.
Kansas leads the all-time collection with Texas Tech 38-6, together with a 19-1 edge in video games performed at Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks, nonetheless, are simply 5-2 in opposition to the Purple Raiders within the final seven conferences, and the three most up-to-date matchups have all been determined by 4 factors or much less.
Kansas opened as a 3-point favourite in Las Vegas, and KenPom lists KU with a one-point edge (67-66) and a 56% win likelihood.
No. 23 Kansas
G – Marcus Garrett, 6-5, 195, Sr.
G – Ochai Agbaji, 6-5, 210, Jr.
G – Christian Braun, 6-6, 205, Soph.
G – Jalen Wilson, 6-7, 190, RS-Fr.
F – David McCormack, 6-10, 265, Jr.
No. 15 Texas Tech
G – Mac McClung, 6-2, 185, Jr.
G – Kyler Edwards, 6-4, 195, Jr.
G – Kevin McCullar, 6-6, 205, Soph.
G – Marcus Santos-Silva, 6-7, 245, Sr.
F – Micah Peavy, 6-7, 215, Fr.