Kansas vs. Texas Tech Betting Odds
Big 12 play is in full swing, and this conference is very, very good.
Many projections have the Big 12 picking up eight bids in the NCAA tournament. But those bottom two teams might have an argument for an at-large as well.
Defense is the calling card in this conference, as every team ranks among the top-50 in defensive efficiency.
While Texas Tech enters this game as one of the top defenses in the nation, Kansas has been dominant on the offensive end. In the end, we’ll get No. 4 ranked offense against the No. 5 ranked defense, per KenPom.
So, when an unstoppable force meets an immovable offense, which side comes out on top?
Kansas Jayhawks Odds
Curiously, Kansas’ 21-9 record and second-round NCAA appearance was a letdown for Bill Self. But following some transfer portal moves and player development, the Jayhawks are back in the National Championship hunt.
Outside of a neutral-court, MTE letdown against Dayton, Kansas steamrolled its non-conference schedule. The signature win for the Jayhawks was a 13-point throttling of Michigan State on opening night, but Kansas has covered in most of its games.
As mentioned, the key is on offense. The Jayhawks are making everything, ranking 37th in 3-point shooting, 11th in 2-point shooting, and eighth in effective field goal percentage. Overall, Kansas is dropping 84.3 points per game, good for eighth in the nation.
While the Jayhawks are filled with shot-makers, including guys like Christian Braun (16.8 PPG), Remy Martin (10.4 PPG), and David McCormack (9.0 PPG), Ochai Agbaji has separated himself as a Wooden Award candidate.
He’s playing over 80% of available minutes with a 129 ORtg, both numbers are top-100 nationally. He’s shooting nearly 28% of available shots with a 62.8 effective field goal percentage, and both those numbers are also top-100 nationally.
The usage combined with the efficiency is truly staggering, but he does it with style as well.
Christian Braun finds Ochai Agbaji for the Jayhawk alley-oop 💥 pic.twitter.com/NHu0Yn1xuB
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) November 10, 2021
The defense leaves something to be desired in the Big 12, but the Jayhawks are no slouches on that end. The team is especially active on the perimeter, ranking top-50 in turnover rate and pick-and-roll points per possession allowed.
Outside of Sparty, the Jayhawks haven’t faced too tough of a test. But those tests are coming, starting with the Red Raiders in Lubbock.
Texas Tech Red Raiders Odds
In the post-Chris Beard era, Texas Tech continues to run the no-middle scheme. A defense designed to force ball-handlers sideline and baseline rather than in the middle.
Credit: Coach Matt Dennis.
Because of this scheme, the help can come early and often because everyone knows where the ball is going.
The upside of this scheme is it allows almost no easy shots at the rim. The downside is it allows lots of 3-point opportunities on the weak side from skip passes, but the Tech defense is generally active enough to force turnovers.
But disregarding the premise of the scheme, let’s talk about its effectiveness. Texas Tech is 28th in defensive effective field goal percentage, 17th in turnover rate, and 31st in defensive rebounding rate.
The Red Raiders are defending hard, generating turnovers, and forcing bad shots.
The problem for the Raiders moving forward is regression, especially at the charity stripe. Opponents are shooting just 63.8% from the line this season, a simply unsustainable number. And if the Red Raiders keep shooting only 65.8% from the line themselves, the team is in for a long season.
Kansas vs. Texas Tech Prediction and Pick
My pick: Texas Tech +5 (-110 at PointsBet)
As mentioned, the Red Raiders prioritize elite interior defense with the no-middle scheme. That leaves the perimeter wide open for shooters.
Well, Kansas can shoot, but it’s not predicated on it. In fact, the Jayhawks are sub-270 in 3-point rate.
The Red Raiders are going to take away McCormack, and Agbaji and Martin will have to carry this team offensively. I’m skeptical those two can continue running as hot as they are, considering the two are shooting a combined 42.5% from 3.
I’ll take Texas Tech to pull off a big victory here.