University of Kansas

Kansas-Texas Tech basketball preview

Updated: 2014-02-18T16:44:41Z

Kansas City Star

• WHEN/ WHERE: 7 p.m. Tuesday at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

• TV/RADI O: KMCI (Ch. 38); KCSP (610 AM)

• ABOUT KANSAS (19-6, 10-2 Big 12) : The victories haven’t always come easy for Kansas inside United Spirit Arena in Lubbock. The Jayhawks are just 5-3 at the venue. KU coach Bill Self said he expects freshman center Joel Embiid to slide back into the starting lineup after missing Saturday’s game against TCU while recovering from nagging back and knee issues. Self is hopeful that Embiid can play close to 25 minutes — barring any foul trouble. Freshman wing Andrew Wiggins had 17 points on Saturday against TCU. Wiggins now has 402 points this season, three shy of surpassing Paul Pierce for sixth on the all-time freshman scoring list at Kansas. Wiggins could also pass Kerry Boagni (408 points) on Tuesday. Guard Ben McLemore set the KU freshman scoring record last season, finishing with 589 points.

• ABOUT TEXAS TECH (13-12, 5-7 Big 12): Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith has engineered a feel-good turnaround in his first season after some years of turmoil in Lubbock. On their fourth coach in four years, the Red Raiders have won three of four and own Big 12 victories against Oklahoma State (the Marcus Smart fan incident game) and Oklahoma. It was the first such stretch for Texas Tech since 2011. Nearly as impressive: Texas Tech lost by just six at Iowa State on Saturday. Smith, who spent the previous six seasons at Minnesota, is the only other Big 12 coach beside Bill Self to own an NCAA title. Smith led Kentucky to a championship in 1998. The Red Raiders drew 15,098 fans (a sell-out) at United Spirit Arena for Oklahoma State and a similar crowd will be expected on Tuesday.

• BOTTOM LINE: A victory will give Kansas 20 victories for the 25th straight season. The Jayhawks will then return home to face Texas on Saturday and Oklahoma next Monday. “The next three games will probably determine the league race in a lot of ways,” Self says. That said, KU can put itself in good position with a win in Lubbock.

P No. Kansas Ht. Yr. PPG
F 21 Joel Embiid 7-0 Fr. 10.7
F 34 Perry Ellis 6-8 So. 14.0
G 22 Andrew Wiggins 6-8 Fr. 16.1
G 1 Wayne Selden 6-5 Fr. 10.4
G 10 Naadir Tharpe 5-11 Jr. 9.0
P No. Texas Tech Ht. Yr. PPG
F 11 Dejan Kravic 7-0 Sr. 6.4
F 32 Jordan Tolbert 6-7 Jr. 10.8
F 30 Jaye Crockett 6-6 Sr. 14.8
G 4 Robert Turner 6-3 Jr. 9.7
G 20 Toddrick Gotcher 6-4 So. 7.7

| Rustin Dodd, rdodd@kcstar.com

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