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Kansas looks to grab Big 12 crown at Texas Tech

Mar 4, 2009 - 11:19 AM No. 8 Kansas (24-5) at Texas Tech (12-17) 9:30 p.m. EST

LUBBOCK, Texas (Ticker) -- After losing its starting five from last season's National Championship team, many expected Kansas to experience a rebuilding season. So much for that.

The eighth-ranked Jayhawks aim for their fifth straight Big 12 regular-season title Wednesday when they visit a struggling Texas Tech squad.

Instead of retooling, Bill Self and the Jayhawks (24-5, 13-1 Big 12) reloaded with some new faces and a pair of emerging stars. While freshmen Tyshawn Taylor has filled a valuable role, averaging nearly 10 points and 26 minutes per game, Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich have elevated their games to new heights.

Collins, averaging team-highs with 18.5 points and 5.0 assists per game, is averaging 23.7 over his last four games, including a pair of big-time performances against two of the league's elite teams.

The junior sank five 3-pointers in a 26-point performance while Taylor added a career-high 26 and Aldrich collected 15 points and 20 rebounds in an 87-78 win over then-No. 3 Oklahoma last Monday.

Collins then scored 25 points and Aldrich had another double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds, his 17th of the season, as the Jayhawks took control of the Big 12 with a 90-65 rout of then-No. 8 Missouri on Sunday.

Texas Tech (12-17, 2-12) has lost six straight and 10 of 11 overall, including a 78-63 loss to the Sooners on Saturday.

John Roberson had 17 points and seven assists in the losing effort. The sophomore leads the Red Raiders in both categories, averaging 14.3 and 6.5 per game.