Bill Self (Steve Puppe photo)
News, notes and quotes on No. 2 KU’s matchup at Texas Tech tonight at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas, at 8 (CT) on ESPNU, while looking for the Jayhawks (20-1, 5-1 in Big 12) to win their first game at TTU in the Bill Self era.
SCOUTING TEXAS TECH
Texas Tech returns nine letterwinners and three starters off last
season’s team, which went 19-16 and 4-12 in the Big 12. The Red Raiders
(11-11, 3-4 Big 12), who have matched their longest winning streak of
the season winning their last three conference games, are coming off a
75-74 overtime victory against Oklahoma State at home on Saturday. TTU,
which also beat Nebraska and won at Iowa State in Big 12 play, started
the conference losing their first four games.
Senior forward Mike Singletary, who was named Big 12 Player of the Week
on Monday, leads the team in scoring with 14.3 points per game and also
rebounding at 6.2 boards per game. Senior guard John Roberson is next
in scoring (12.9 ppg, team-high 4.1 apg and 49 three-pointers),
followed by senior forward Brad Reese (12.4 ppg, team-best 22 blocks
and 30 steals), junior forward Robert Lewandowski (9.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg),
senior guard David Tairu (9.0 ppg) and senior forward D’walyn Roberts
(5.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg).
TTU averages 74 points per game and allows 75.6. The Red Raiders are
shooting 45.4 percent from the field, 35.6 percent from three-point
range, and 72.3 percent at the free-throw line. They’re holding
opponents to 44.8 percent shooting and 35.6 percent from beyond the
arc, while averaging 33.2 rebounds per game, compared to their foes’
36.3 boards per contest.
Pat Knight is 48-53 in his third year as head coach at TTU.
LOOKING FOR FIRST WIN IN LUBBOCK
The Jayhawks are aiming to win their first game in Lubbock under Self
after going 0-3. Senior guard Brady Morningstar doesn’t think it is
necessarily shocking KU has yet to win there.
“We have only had three chances to do so and I know 0 and 3 down there
is not a good record, but three chances isn’t a lot of times to win at
a certain place,” Morningstar said. “I don’t know if it is shocking. I
just think it is a tough place to play and if you don’t go in prepared
on the defensive end and on the offensive end, it is an easy place to
“The last two times I have been down there, we weren’t doing that right
so we took a loss. It is kind of surprising that he (Self) hasn’t won
down there because of how much talent he has had on his team since he
has played (at Tech), but Texas Tech is a good team. Playing at Lubbock
they always give us their best shot because it is Kansas coming to
town. We always take everyone’s best shot.”
Morningstar knows defending Singletary will be key.
“He is a tough guard,” Morningstar said of the 6-6, 235-pounder. “He is
a bigger guard. He can do whatever on the court. He can score, he can
rebound, he can pass, he can steal. His stats from the (Iowa State game
on Jan. 26) were 33 (points), 10 (rebounds) and seven (six assists) or
what not. Those are pretty good numbers for anybody in the country. He
is capable of putting up big numbers and I think he makes the team go.
He is a tough matchup, but we are looking forward to it. ... If we shut
him down it will be a pretty good start on trying to get our first win
TOUGH ROAD AHEAD
KU has a tough test ahead with road games at Texas Tech and Nebraska on
Saturday, then hosting No. 14 Missouri on Monday in the Phog.
“This is probably the biggest week of the year for us,” coach Bill Self
said after his team’s 90-66 victory over K-State Saturday in Allen
Fieldhouse. “We haven’t won at Texas Tech since I’ve been here; we are
0-3 down there. Then we’re going back to Nebraska who handled (Texas)
A&M (Saturday). They are good. It took everything we had to
beat them here, so we know that this is an important week. Then we have
Missouri here that next Monday. In the next nine days, there’s a good
chance we will know a lot more about our conference chances.”
The Jayhawks and sophomore forward Thomas Robinson are trying to move
on after the death of Robinson’s mother, Lisa, on Jan. 21. Robinson
scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 20 minutes against KSU,
just two days after his mother’s funeral.
“I think it was a good step forward,” Morningstar said about the win.
“It was definitely what we needed. I was so glad that Thomas played
like he did, because he deserved everything in the world. He played
such a great game. It showed everyone how focused he was and how
prepared he made himself for that game because he knew it was an
important game for him and for the team.
“You have to give Thomas credit for all the stuff he is going through.
I don’t know a lot of people who could have had the past couple of
weeks like he had (Robinson also lost both his grandparents) and then
come out and play like that and help his team win like that is huge,
especially for being a 19-year old. It is a good step forward for the
team. We look forward to keep playing like that.”
KU leads the all-time series with Texas Tech 19-4 with Kansas winning
two straight and three of the last four meetings. KU is 6-4 in Lubbock,
but just 2-3 in the United Spirit Arena. The Jayhawks’ last victory in
Lubbock was on March 3, 2003, 65-56, under head coach Roy Williams.