The Texas Tech men’s basketball team will begin their conference play on Dec. 17.
Tech will welcome Kansas to United Supermarkets Arena for the first conference match of the season. Last year, they ended the season against Kansas with a 66-62 loss.
The Jayhawks won the Big 12 regular-season championship for the 17th time since 2000 last year. Led by All-American Devon Dotson and Big 12 Player of the Year Udoka Azubuike, Kansas won all but one of their 18 conference games.
With both of those players entering the NBA Draft, the Jayhawks will look for contributions from their returners and newcomers.
The Jayhawks return Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year guard Marcus Garrett. Garrett averaged 9.6 points and 1.8 steals per game last season, according to ESPN.
Tech will then travel to Norman to face the Sooners. According to Tech Athletics, the Red Raiders are trailing in the season series with 26 wins to Oklahoma’s 38.
The Sooners welcome back guard Austin Reaves and forward Brady Manek after each player individually averaged at least 14 points and five rebounds per game last season, according to ESPN. Manek was selected to the All-Big 12 third team, while Reaves was selected to the Big 12 All-Newcomer team after transferring in from Wichita State.
Tech will begin a two-game conference homestand against Oklahoma State and Kansas State.
For Oklahoma State, Cade Cunningham, 247Sports’ highest-rated recruit in the class of 2020, will be joining head coach Mike Boynton and the Cowboys this season. Cunningham is expected to be the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, according to Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report.
Oklahoma State brings back guard Isaac Likekele after he averaged 10.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game his sophomore season, according to ESPN.
Kansas State --The Wildcats will be without their three leading scorers from last season as forwards Makol Mawien and Xavier Sneed have graduated and guard Cartier Diarra has transferred to Virginia Tech. Kansas State finished last in the Big 12 Conference standings last season.
After their homestand, Tech will begin a road trip with Iowa State. Guard Tyrese Haliburton has declared for the NBA Draft after two seasons with the Cyclones.
Last season he led the team in scoring, assists, rebounds and steals before injuring his wrist in February, according to ESPN.
The Cyclones will return guard Rasir Bolton, who was selected to the All-Big 12 Honorable Mention after averaging 14.7 points per game last season, according to ESPN. Iowa State will also add four-star center Xaiver Foster, who is the 13th highest ranked center in the class of 2020, according to 247Sports.
The Red Raiders will then travel from Ames, Iowa, to Austin to take on Texas. The Longhorns will return all five of their top-five leading scorers last season. The guard trio of Matt Coleman III, Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramey averaged a combined 35.1 points per game last season, according to ESPN.
Baylor is coming off a historically good season in their program’s history. Tech will host them at United Supermarkets Arena in hopes of avenging their losses last season. The Bears finished with a conference record of 15-3. Last season was the first time since 1948-49 that the Bears lost three or fewer conference games.
The Bears’ leading scorer last season was sophomore guard Jared Butler, who averaged 16 points per game last season according to ESPN.
After initially declaring for the NBA Draft, Butler made the decision in early August to withdraw his name and return to Baylor for the upcoming season.
Tech will make the trip to Fort Worth to match up against TCU in the first round of play.
The Horned Frogs will be without guard Desmond Bane for the first time since the 2015-16 season as he enters the NBA Draft. Bane has led TCU in scoring for the past two seasons and was selected to the All-Big 12 First Team last season.
TCU will return guard RJ Nembhard and center Kevin Samuel, who averaged a combined 22.1 points and 12.1 rebounds per game last season, according to ESPN.
The Mountaineers are led by their two big-men, Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver. Tshiebwe and Culver averaged a combined 21.6 points and 17.9 rebounds per game last season, according to ESPN. Tshiebwe was a unanimous selection to the Big 12 All-Freshman team last season.
Guard Miles McBride was also selected to the Big 12 All-Freshman team after averaging 9.5 points per game last season, according to ESPN.
The Red Raiders will face West Virginia on the road in Morgantown.
The second round of Big 12 play is as follows:
- Jan. 23: Red Raiders vs. Iowa State
- Feb. 1: Red Raiders vs. Oklahoma
- Feb. 6: Red Raiders at Kansas State
- Feb. 9: Red Raiders vs. West Virginia
- Feb. 13: Red Raiders at Baylor
- Feb. 17: Red Raiders vs. TCU
- Feb. 20: Red Raiders at Kansas
- Feb. 23: Red Raiders at Oklahoma State
- Feb. 27: Red Raiders vs. Texas