KU’s per­fect Big 12 road record at stake

The Kansas City Star - - Sports - BY GARY BEDORE [email protected]­star.com Gary Bedore: 816-234-4068, @garybedore

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.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.