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Basketball Preview: We’re Talking Texas Tech Pt. 1

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A Top 10 team comes strolling to Ames and it’s......Texas Tech?!?

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Last Time Out

Possessed with a defense that had more holes than the ozone layer, Iowa State had one of their worst performances of the year Wednesday evening in Fort Worth and it ended with a 96-73 loss. While the Midwest has suffered from some frigid ass temperatures lately it appears global warming is alive and well in north Texas. TCU was blistering hot from everywhere on the court. At one point it looked like they might flirt with becoming the first team to ever shoot better than 100% from the field. Maybe next time.

We could break this one down more, but there are some things that are better off never, ever being discussed again. Burn the tape already Steve!

About Texas Tech

Oh how the Big 12 pines for the days when you could circle the Texas Tech games as easy wins on the schedule. In fact, urban legend has it that one coach new to the league actually thought their name was BYE.

After years and years of being on the receiving end of the Big 12 basketball’s version of bukkake, Texas Tech has shown that the cream eventually rises to the top.

Previewing Texas Tech isn’t as easy as it used to be. We used to talk about how shitty they were, explain why its a trap game and then ultimately predict ISU to win by 40. Those days unfortunately are behind us as Texas Tech is going to be one of the best opponents to stroll into Hilton this season, including Kansas who got beat by this same Red Raider team inside Phog Allen.

Armed with 3rd most efficient defense in the country, Texas Tech forces turnovers, creates tough looks and doesn’t allow you to get many offensive rebounds. Good looks will be few and far between for this Cyclone team.

Although they don’t play with great pace (219th in adjusted tempo), this Red Raider team is still effective on offense. Their strength lies close to the hoop where they shoot over 55 percent. They grab offensive rebounds at an above average clip and they get to line early and often. Their weakness is three point shooting. The good news for the Red Raiders is they should have exceptional looks early and often in this one.

Players to Watch

Keenan Evans is having the season of his life. The senior is currently seventh in Ken Pomeroy’s mid-season player of the year rankings. Evans has posted an offensive rating over 120 so far this season, taking 29% of his team’s shots when he is on the floor and assisting on another 24.7% of the possessions. He is struggling a little bit from long range (29.9%), which of course means he will go off on Saturday.

One of Chris Beard’s freshmen phenoms, Jarrett Culver, is a big reason why the Red Raiders are where they are at this point in the season. Culver has been rock solid all the way around, taking care of the ball and recording a steal on 3.3% of available possessions, good for 104th in the nation. The diaper dandy is Texas Tech’s most dangerous threat from three point range, shooting 37.1% from deep in his first Big 12 season.

What to Expect

There will be Cyclone fans calling for an upset here. I get it, Texas Tech doesn’t exactly project a blue-blood image, but this year the letters on their jersey might as well say Kansas. They are that good.

There are a couple of factors that help Iowa State here though. First, Cameron Lard won’t have to guard as much of a three point threat as he had to against Kansas and TCU. Texas Tech’s four and fives have shot a relatively low amount of threes and their success rate has been rather putrid. However, we know that doesn’t always come to fruition during the game.

Second, Iowa State has some “bad shot” makers. The Cyclones will have to earn everything on the offensive end, but if Wigginton and Jackson are on, they have proven even the most ill-advised shots can sometimes fall in.

Iowa State went a span of about six years without being an underdog inside Hilton Coliseum more than a couple of times. They will enter Saturday’s game against Texas Tech as a seven point underdog. Woof, things have changed. It doesn’t look like this will be the last time they are in this position this season either.

Part of me wants to throw caution to the wind and project a court-storming inside Hilton Coliseum, but the brains have won out today.

Texas Tech- 73 Iowa State- 59

Pick Three

  1. Iowa State suffers their first double digit loss inside Hilton Coliseum since....the Milwaukee game.
  2. Justin Gray, who has four three pointers on the season, goes off for four three pointers made in this game alone.
  3. An Iowa State player or coach gets a technical foul.

Game Notes

Game Time: Saturday, January 20th, 1 PM

Line: Texas Tech (-7) O/U (143)

TV: ESPNU