Both Kansas and Texas Tech are just one game back in the loss column for first place in the Big 12 conference standings. Who'll win in their lone regular season matchup?
TV schedule: Monday, February 12th, 9:00 pm ET. ESPN
Arena: United Supermakets Arena in Lubbock, Texas
It's always hard playing in the Big 12, with just about every game being a Quad 1 or 2 opportunity. It's even harder when one of your best players isn't available, as was the case with Kansas not having Kevin McCullar Jr. for Saturday's clash with Baylor. To the Jayhawks' credit, they managed to pull out a 64-61 win over a top-15 team, led by 15 points and seven rebounds from Hunter Dickinson, and 11 points, five rebounds, and six steals from freshman Johnny Furphy.
We'll see if McCullar is back 48 hours later as the Jayhawks are on the road at Texas Tech. After a three-game losing streak, the Red Raiders bounced back with a 66-59 home win over UCF. Four players were in double figures, led by 13 points and 13 rebounds from Darrion Williams, while big man Warren Washington (10 points and 11 rebounds) also produced a double-double.
The Red Raiders are 6-4 in league play, 1.5 games behind Houston for first place in the Big 12 standings. With a road game at Iowa State and the difficult Hilton Coliseum coming up, this is almost a must-win for them to have any chance of staying in the regular-season title race. As for Kansas, they still have road games at both Baylor and Houston in March. So while winning at Texas Tech is admittedly a difficult task, it's more winnable than the looming matchups.
Without knowing the status of McCullar, it's hard to make a real prediction. So I'll just hedge my bets. If he's playing at least 20 mpg on Monday, Kansas will win. If he doesn't, the home Red Raiders will prevail.