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Men’s Basketball Preview: Talkin’ Texas Tech Part I

The 1st place Cyclones go for 4-0 in Big 12 play.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Texas Christian Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State returns to Hilton Coliseum after winning twice on the road in Big 12 play last week and leaping 11 spots in the AP Poll. Things do not let up with 0-3 Texas Tech looking to spoil the party and get their first conference win. Can the Cyclones get to 4-0 in league play?

Last Time Out

This happened:

Iowa State went to Fort Worth and beat TCU on that shot to improve to 3-0 in Big 12 play, but really controlled the whole game before things got out of hand late and they lost the lead. The difference in this team is that they were able to get it back and still take the game. Gabe scored 15 points to lead the team. Tamin Lipsey, Bob Jones, Jaren Holmes, and Tre King were also all in double figures. King had the best game in his short Iowa State career.

About Texas Tech

Is the shine coming off Mark Adams already? Texas Tech reached the Sweet 16 a year ago behind a dominant defense and an unbeatable home court advantage. This year’s team has already lost twice at home and will come to Ames playing with desperation, trying to avoid an 0-4 start to Big 12 play. The Red Raiders have “slipped” to 24th in defense on Kenpom this year and sit as the lowest rated Big 12 team as of this writing (41st overall). The offense is well above average in just about every metric, except for one key measure. They turn the ball over on almost 20% of offensive possessions, which should play right into what Iowa State does best on defense.

Opponent Player to Watch

Actually, that’s a bit of an open question.

Just like when Tech came to Hilton last year, they may be doing so again with a reduced rotation. Of the guys that will for sure play, Kevin Obanor is the name to watch. Now in his 2nd year at Tech, the 6’8” forward leads the team in scoring with 16.4 PPG and rebounding with 6.3 RPG. When I’ve watched him play, he always has a knack for hitting big outside shots.

An under the radar guy to watch, assuming he plays, is freshman guard Pop Isaacs. He was a top 100 recruit coming into the season who is shooting 42% from 3 and scored 17 and 18 points against TCU and Kansas respectively before missing the Oklahoma game. As we know, when guys are injured before playing Iowa State, they usually play and excel, so don’t be surprised if he shows up and drops 30.

Pick Three

  1. Kalscheur and Grill make 5 3s combined
  2. Tre King hits double figures again
  3. Bob Jones makes 3 hustle plays in key spots

What Will Happen

All the signs point to an Iowa State letdown against a desperate Texas Tech team. But something feels different about this Iowa State group. They have proven that they are resilient, and have shown time and time again that they can jump out to leads and ride their defense home. This one could look a little ugly at times, but our defense that forces turnovers at the highest rate in the country should be able to force a mistake-prone Tech into enough mistakes that we bring it home and continue the best conference start in decades.

Iowa State - 69

Texas Tech - 64

Game Notes

The Matchup: #14 Iowa State (12-2, 3-0 Big 12) vs. Texas Tech (10-5, 0-3 Big 12)

Where: Hilton Coliseum, Ames, IA

When: Tuesday, January 10th 7:00pm

Spread: Iowa State -6.5 | O/U 128.5

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/Varsity Radio App Talent: John Walters (PxP), Eric Heft (Analyst)

TV: Big 12 Now/ESPN+ Talent: Sean Kenney (PxP), Lance Blanks (Analyst)

Live Stats: