The second game of ESPN's Big Monday doubleheader in college basketball tonight is an important matchup from the Big 12 as No. 4 Kansas (19-5) visits No. 23 Texas Tech (17-6). The Jayhawks are 3-point underdogs on the SportsLine consensus in part because they might be without the Big 12's leading scorer in Kevin McCullar Jr., who has two triple-doubles this season, and the conference's assists leader in Dajuan Harris Jr. Click here for model picks.
McCullar, averaging 19.5 points per game along with 6.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists, has battled a bone bruise for most of conference play. The former Texas Tech transfer has largely played through it but missed Saturday's 64-61 home win over No. 13 Baylor, Kansas' 18th straight home victory. Nicolas Timberlake made his first start with the Jayhawks in his place and scored eight points in 31 minutes. Timberlake had a chance to clinch the game in in the final seconds but missed the front end of a one-and-one. Baylor's Ja'Kobe Walter's 3-point attempt afterward caromed off the rim, however.
Harris played 36 minutes against the Bears and had 14 points and five assists but injured his ankle. His 6.6 assists per game top the Big 12, KU leads the conference in assists per game at 20.3 thanks in large part to Harris and McCullar. Head coach Bill Self spoke about both players after the game.
"I don't know anything about (Harris), but I can't imagine Kevin being a lot better on Monday if he can't hardly move on Saturday. But we'll see. So — but I don't know about (Harris). They said he got it pretty good, but he's a pretty tough kid so we'll see if he can come back," Self said.
At 7-4, Kansas is one game behind Big 12 leader Houston (8-3) in the conference standings. It has six wins against ranked opponents this season and is 75-23 all-time on ESPN Big Monday, including 56-17 under Self. CBS Sports' Jerry Palm currently has Kansas as a No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region of the 2024 NCAA Tournament.
Texas Tech ended a three-game losing streak Saturday with a 66-59 win against UCF to improve to 12-1 at home under first-year coach Grant McCasland. Leading scorer Pop Isaacs (16.9 PPG) had an off game with just seven points to break a streak of 13 straight double-figure scoring performances. Darrion Williams recorded his fifth double-double of the season with a team-high 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Warren Washington had his second double-double of the year with 11 rebounds and 10 points. Washington had missed the Red Raiders' previous game.
Tech is currently 3-3 against ranked opponents this season and will be looking for its first top-10 win since a home victory last season against No. 6 Texas. The Red Raiders, who are 13-0 this year when holding opponents under 70 points, have lost four in a row in this series and are just 6-17 all-time vs. Kansas in Lubbock. This is the only scheduled meeting this season.
Palm currently has Texas Tech as a No. 9 seed in the Big Dance.
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