3-Point Preview: No. 14 Iowa State hosts Texas Tech at Hilton Coliseum

Texas Tech’s head coach Mark Adams gestures during the Big 12 basketball game against Oklahoma, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, at United Supermarkets Arena.

Location: Hilton Coliseum
Time: 7 p.m.
KenPom Prediction: 66-61, Iowa State

1 – How good is this team?

Nobody in the Big 12 has a worse on-paper resume at this point in the season than Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are 0-5 on the year against quality opponents and 10-0 against teams that rank outside the top 100 on KenPom.

The Red Raiders feasted on bad teams during the non-conference portion of the slate, but their lack of being battle tested could probably be a contributing factor in this team losing its first three Big 12 games by six points, three points and five points in overtime. The worst part is those last two games came at home in Lubbock.

There are good players on this team, including senior forward Kevin Obanor, senior guard De’Vion Harmon, sophomore center Daniel Batcho and freshman guard Pop Isaacs, but there isn’t really anybody on this roster who terrifies you.

“They’re a program with a lot of pride,” Iowa State head coach T.J. Otzelberger said. “They’ve had some tough losses, some close losses, they’re gonna win a lot of games in the league. We need to make sure that we’re at our best tomorrow night because we know they’re going to come in here really trying to win the game.”

2 – Different kinda match-up

Last year, there was no worse match-up in the league for Iowa State than Texas Tech. They were long, athletic and versatile at every position. They were a veteran team and nearly every guy on the roster exuded strength and versatility.

I’m not sure that will be the case this year even with some of the returning players on the Red Raiders’ roster.

Obanor is the headliner, averaging a team-high 16.4 points per game while shooting 50.6 percent from the field, 36 percent from deep and 87 percent from the free throw line. He scored in double figures in both of Tech’s games last week, including a 26-point performance in the loss to Kansas.

“Obanor has played a lot of games (in this league),” Otzelberger said. “(He) has won a lot of games and has had a lot of success in this league.”

Harmon, a 6-foot-2 transfer guard from Oregon (by way of Oklahoma), is averaging 12.4 points and a team-high 3.7 assists per game. He scored a game-high 23 points, including going 9-of-12 on 2-point shots, in Tech’s overtime loss to Oklahoma on Saturday.

“(Harmon is) another guy who has been in this league at OU,” Otzelberger said. “Now back with Tech. They’ve got some veteran guys.”

Botcho and Isaacs are each averaging double figures in scoring on the season, at 11.8 and 11.3 points per game, respectively, but they’re doing it in vastly different ways. Botcho, a 6-foot-11 center, is shooting over 67 percent from the field while Isaacs, a 6-foot-2 guard, is shooting better than 42 percent from 3-point range.

The Red Raiders also have Jaylon Tyson, a 6-foot-7 transfer from Texas, who is shooting 44 percent from deep this season.

While this group combines to form a formidable and competent team, they’re not quite the same defensive juggernaut this program has been in recent seasons, ranking No. 24 in adjusted defensive efficiency nationally, which is a significant drop for a program that finished No. 1 in that metric a year ago and has finished inside the top-10 nationally in four of the past six seasons.

They’re going to look to play faster than any other recent Texas Tech team with an adjusted tempo that ranks inside the top 150 nationally. For context, Tech hasn’t had a team finish in the top 200 in adjusted tempo since 2013.

“They try to disrupt your rhythm,” Otzelberger said. “They’ve got bigger guards, and they’ve got versatile frontline players, which allows them to switch a lot of things. They are pushing the ball more in transition than they did last year. They’re being more opportunistic trying to get out in transition and attacking early.”

3 – There for the taking

Playing faster hasn’t necessarily equated to success for Mark Adams’ team as they currently sit with the third-lowest ranked adjusted offensive efficiency in the league at No. 78 nationally.

They’ve been even worse in Big 12 play, currently sitting with the No. 9 offensive efficiency rating, No. 9 effective field goal percentage, No. 8 offensive rebound percentage, No. 8 team 3-point percentage, No. 6 2-point percentage and No. 7 free throw percentage in league play only.

Nobody in the league has turned the ball over at a higher rate than the Red Raiders, who have given the ball to the other team on a league-worst 23.9 percent of possessions. Iowa State is forcing teams into turnovers on a league-high 25.7 percent of possessions.

This game is not a bad match-up for Iowa State in the same ways that last year’s Texas Tech team gave the Cyclones fits. The keys will be continuing to run good efficient offense like Otzelberger’s team has done in each of its first three Big 12 games, preventing any of Tech’s big guns from finding an early rhythm and getting hot and forcing the league’s most turnover-prone teams into mistakes to create easy opportunities for Iowa State on the other end.

Accomplish those three things and Iowa State will have a great chance to be 4-0 in league play for the first time in 23 years and only the third time in program history.

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.