University of Kansas

Lubbock has been unkind to Jayhawks

LUBBOCK, Texas — Asked the same question — how shocking is it that Kansas has not won at Texas Tech with Bill Self as its head coach? —two Jayhawks gave answers that ended up on polar opposites.

Brady Morningstar's brand of logic was the patient kind, laced with the forgiving perspective of a 25-year-old wise man.

"I know 0-3 down there is not a good record," Morningstar said, "but three chances isn't a lot of time to win at a certain place, so I don't know if it's shocking."

Marcus Morris' viewpoint was the kind KU fans would expect from their All-America candidate, a guy who sees no obstacle too tall for the Jayhawks to climb.

"It is very surprising," Morris said. "Because every year we have a good team, and since Coach has been here we have been winning the Big 12. But to never win there is very surprising. My freshman year we didn't win there, but we still won the Big 12."

Morris then paused for a second and allowed his mind to wonder.

"Maybe it's just a jinx or something," he said.

And maybe it is. Certainly, that's as good an explanation as any other. In 2005, 2007 and 2009, the years Kansas lost in Lubbock, the Jayhawks won at least a share of the Big 12 regular-season championship (the last two were outright league titles). KU went a combined 83-20 overall and 40-8 in conference play during those seasons, while Texas Tech went 57-43 and 22-26. Self's teams won the five games against Tech that were not played in United Spirit Arena by an average of 29.8 points.

The most shocking defeat in Lubbock was the last one, when Kansas came to town with a 13-1 league record and were soundly beaten by the Red Raiders 84-65. KU would finish that season with a 14-2 Big 12 mark, while Tech finished 3-13.

"It's the only building we haven't won in," Self said. "I don't think we've played particularly well when we've gone down there, but they've also played great. I don't know what it is."

On paper, this year's game is a mismatch on par with the 2009 game that went so poorly for the Jayhawks. Kansas, now 20-1 and 5-1 in the Big 12 after a 90-66 rout of Kansas State, is ranked No. 2. Texas Tech has played so poorly this season that its current three-game winning streak only served to get it to 11-11 overall and 3-4 in the Big 12. Tech has lost at home to TCU, New Mexico, Baylor and Texas, which bullied the Red Raiders 83-52.

Given the way his past trips to West Texas have gone, Self is much more focused on Tech's three wins in a row over Nebraska, Iowa State and Oklahoma State than its early-season woes.

"They'll be a big challenge," Self said. "Pat (Knight) has them playing. They're an experienced team, and their experienced players are really playing well."

Texas Tech senior Mike Singletary is the reigning Big 12 Player of the Week after averaging 29 points and 8.5 rebounds last week. During his career, Singletary has shown an ability to get hot at any moment, and he'll be a tough match-up for KU as a 6-foot-6 wing player.

"He is a tough guard," Morningstar said. "He can do it everywhere on the floor. He's capable of putting up big numbers. When he's going, people are going around him. I think if we shut him down, that'll be a pretty good start on trying to get our first win in Lubbock."

At this point, it's pretty hard to predict what the right equation will be for Kansas. If nothing else, Self's lack of a win at Tech has the Jayhawks' feeling offended.

The Morris twins went to their Twitter accounts on Monday afternoon to air their intentions for tonight.

"Coach Self has never won at Texas Tech," Marcus announced. "Things have to change!!!"

Added Markieff: "We're gonna get this 'W' for Coach Self."