KU’s perfect Big 12 road record at stake
One of 15 Kansas basketball teams to win a Big 12 regular-season title in the 17-year Bill Self era, the 2019-20 Jayhawks can distinguish themselves from the other champs on Saturday in Lubbock, Texas.
The No. 1-ranked Jayhawks (27-3, 16-1) are a win over Texas Tech (18-12, 9-8) from attaining a perfect record in nine league road games. Tipoff is 1 p.m. at United Supermarkets Arena.
The best a Self-coached KU team has fared on the road in conference action is 8-1 in 2016-17 and 7-1 in 2010-11, 2009-10 and 2006-07.
“Any road game is a great win whenever you get one,” said Self. His Jayhawks teams have compiled a 99-45 league road record in his 17 seasons. KU has finished .500 once and under .500 just twice, every other season a winning one in enemy buildings.
“This year what are we 9-1 overall (8-0 in league on road)? We’ve had one loss. We gave that away,” Self added of a 56-55 loss against Villanova on Dec. 21 in Philadelphia. “We had that game and didn’t close. I’m not saying we’ve been great on the road. I’m saying we’ve been above average away from home. We want to win at home. Our crowd is unbelievable at home. But usually the most important games you play in your season are not at home. NCAA Tournament games are not at home. (So) it’s nice to be able to do that away from home.”
KU had its worst conference road record in the Self era a year ago. The Jayhawks were 3-6 in league road contests.
“We were not the best road team last year,” sophomore point guard Devon Dotson said. “Our group coming back had more experience. Having more experienced guys on the court … we came into the season knowing what it takes to pull out a win on the road.”
Noted sophomore wing Ochai Agbaji: “We like playing on the road. On the road we get all the sellout crowds. It’s a matter of listening to scouting report and taking every game the same.”
The Jayhawks, who wrapped up at least a share of the 2019-20 Big 12 regular-season league title by beating TCU, 7566, on Wednesday in Allen Fieldhouse, can win the crown outright by tripping Texas Tech, a team that has dropped three straight games.
KU, if it loses at Texas Tech, also would be crowned undisputed champs if West Virginia beats second-place Baylor in a noon tipoff Saturday in Morgantown, W.Va.
“I think it’s the best of all worlds for us,” Self said. “Just go down there and let it fly. It’s not a pressure game. I don’t want to say it doesn’t mean anything. It does for seeding (in NCAA Tournament). As far as pressure, there shouldn’t be any to perform. We should go down there and let it go.”
Texas Tech’s last game was Monday’s 71-68 overtime loss to Baylor in Waco, Texas.
“Tech is a hard team to prepare for,” Self said. His Jayhawks nudged the Red Raiders, 78-75, on Feb. 1 in Allen Fieldhouse. “They run motion. That is hardest to prepare for if the team knows what they are doing and they do. You saw Tech’s effort against Baylor. It was tremendous. They have time to rest and recoup.”