Texas Tech vs. Kansas Prediction: Each Team Should Find Offensive Success

College basketball expert Mike Spector offers his best bet for the Big 12 Tournament Championship between Texas Tech and Kansas, which tips at 6:00 pm and airs on ESPN.
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Texas Tech vs. Kansas Prediction: Each Team Should Find Offensive Success

With how much success Texas Tech has had in recent years, it is incredible that tonight marks just its second-ever appearance in the Big 12 Tournament Championship. While the Red Raiders are relatively new to this setting, Kansas has been a fixture in the conference championship, with this being its third finals appearance in the last four tournaments.

With Baylor bowing out of the tournament early, Kansas may have already wrapped up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but a win tonight would leave no doubt. Will the Jayhawks once again be lifted by a partisan Kansas City crowd en route to its 12th Big 12 Tournament title? Or will the Red Raiders be able to break through for their first? Perhaps the question we should be asking is, will this be yet another rock fight between two of the conference’s best defensive teams?

Here are our picks and predictions for the Big 12 Tournament Championship between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Kansas Jayhawks.

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Texas Tech vs. Kansas Prediction

Texas Tech and Kansas split two regular-season meetings this year, with the latter being a double-overtime instant classic at Allen Fieldhouse. The Red Raiders and Jayhawks each won two games in the Big 12 Tournament to get to this point but did so in vastly different ways. Kansas has scorched the nets, averaging 81 points through the first two games. Meanwhile, Texas Tech has ridden a dominant defense to its two victories, allowing Iowa State and Oklahoma an average of 48 points. However, Kansas’ offense is not on the same level as the Cyclones’ and Sooners’ offenses, and we look for the Jayhawks to crack holes in the Red Raiders’ usually impenetrable defense.

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The only way to score consistently on Texas Tech is to hit jump shots, as the Red Raiders pride themselves on taking away the paint in Mark Adams’ “no-middle” defense. Kansas does not have the best post presence, to begin with, as David McCormack has been held to single digits 14 times this year. Thus, the Jayhawks have consistently hit jump shots all year long, which is a big reason they lead the conference in scoring at 78.8 points per game.

Kansas made 10-of-26 3-point shots in its first meeting with Texas Tech, which at the time was the second-most 3-pointers the Red Raiders allowed all season (Gonzaga made 13 against them). The Jayhawks followed that up by connecting on 8-of-23 3-pointers in the rematch, but even shooting 34.8% from deep is an accomplishment against a Red Raiders team that has allowed just 31.6% from beyond the arc all season.

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The Jayhawks offense has a higher ceiling when point guard Remy Martin is healthy, and Martin just played 19 minutes yesterday against TCU. That is a good sign he is trending in the right direction, as that is the most he has played since returning from a seven-game absence on February 26. In the nine games Kansas played without Martin, the team averaged nearly two points less per game. His ability to shoot over the top of the Red Raiders defense will force Texas Tech to extend more, and his presence alone will take defensive attention away from guys like Big 12 leading scorer Ochai Agbaji.

As much as we love Kansas’ offense, it is Texas Tech’s offensive outlook that has us liking the over. In their first game against the Jayhawks, the Red Raiders scored 75 points without Kevin McCullar (9.8 ppg) or Terrence Shannon Jr. (10.3 ppg). They did so by bullying Kansas in the paint, either due to Clarence Nadolny’s penetration or attacking Kansas’ thin frontcourt through the post. In that first meeting, the Red Raiders went 24-for-39 (61.5%) from inside the arc, and Mark Adams will likely implore his team to bully their way to easy baskets once again.

The over is 9-3 in Texas Tech’s last 12 games against teams with a winning record and is 9-3-1 in Kansas’ last 13 neutral site games. Look for tonight’s matchup to follow these trends and exceed the projected total.

Texas Tech vs Kansas Line Movement

Texas Tech vs Kansas Pick

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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