What: Iowa State (13-4) @ Texas Tech (8-8, 1-4)
When: Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 8 p.m.
Where: The United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas
Texas Tech’s United Spirit Arena seats 15,098 fans. A quality guarantee is hard to come by now days. Here’s one for you: I GUARANTEE you that Wednesday night’s tussle between the surging Iowa State Cyclones and the struggling Texas Tech Red Raiders will not be a sellout. Take that one to the bank. Put your mortgage on it. Whatever.
The point of that intro is that this game could not fall on Iowa State’s schedule at a better time.
There’s no doubt that TCU and Texas Tech are the two worst teams in the Big 12 Conference. Iowa State’s 63-50 win at TCU over the weekend is what it was. The Cyclones didn’t play well. Iowa State turned the basketball over 16 times while giving up 16 offensive rebounds to boot. Iowa State actually won a road basketball game by 13 points where it only made five 3-pointers and went to the free throw line a measly three times inside of a basketball arena that acts more like a morgue.
It was the perfect “preview” for Iowa State will see on Wednesday night in Lubbock. Now Texas Tech isn’t as bad as TCU. The Red Raiders did beat the Horned Frogs 62-53 in their Big 12 opener.
The big storyline going into this one is simple in my opinion. It’s just like last Saturday’s win in Fort Worth.
Survive and advance. The thought of Iowa State playing its best game of the season in the atmosphere that it will see on Wednesday is unrealistic at best. Survive and advance. Just don’t slip up against this team as that would be devastating come March.
Breaking down the Red Raiders…
The following statistic should tell you everything that you need to know about this basketball game: Five members of the Iowa State basketball team are averaging double figures in scoring (also note that Chris Babb is averaging 9.1 points per game so that number is close to being seven) so far this season. Only one Red Raider can say the same.
That man is junior forward Jaye Crockett, who does it all for Texas Tech. He leads the Red Raiders in scoring at 13.6 points and rebounds at 8.3 per contest. Crockett has led Texas Tech in scoring in 11 of 16 games this season.
Surprisingly though, Texas Tech ranks sixth in the Big 12 in scoring offense at 69.1 points per game. Their downfall is defense, where the Red Raiders are dead last giving up 70.9 points per game. Opponents are shooting 45 percent from the field against Texas Tech and 37 percent from 3-point range. The Red Raiders rank last in the Big 12 in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense and 3-point defense. Hence the 1-4 record in league play.
Because of the above paragraph, Iowa State, the Big 12’s top scoring team, is an atrocious match-up for Texas Tech.
According to rankings at KenPom.com, Texas Tech’s best win this season was over North Carolina A&T. That’s the same North Carolina A&T team that Iowa State beat 86-57 back on Nov. 20.
I point this out not to get Iowa State fans overconfident about this contest, but to put Texas Tech’s struggles in perspective. Having said that, the Red Raiders have had their moments. For instance, Tech only trailed Kansas by two points at the half on Jan. 12. As Fred Hoiberg pointed out in his Monday press conference, Tech game Oklahoma a game for a half too.
When you stack these two teams up against each other, this one isn’t even close. But it’s still a league road game. Iowa State is good, but not “don’t have to show up” good. What I love about this team though is its depth. Six guys on Iowa State’s roster could score 20 points on any given night and it wouldn’t shock me. Against an opponent that struggles on defense as much as Tech does, I’d be really surprised if the Cyclones don’t win this game handily.
Iowa State 84, Texas Tech 64