Pregame Breakdown: OSU vs. Texas Tech

The regular season is behind Oklahoma State but the effects of it are not. Injuries have severely limited the Cowboys heading into the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday in Kansas City without Le'Bryan Nash or Philip Jurick and with Markel Brown nursing an unspecified wrist injury and sprained ankle.

The Cowboys are the No. 7 seed and square off with 10th-seeded Texas Tech at 8:30 p.m. at the Sprint Center. Tech presents a fortunate draw for the injury-riddled Cowboys but, as coach Travis Ford said earlier in the week, all games present a challenge. That challenge becomes even greater when you're as limited in numbers as the Cowboys.

Five-on-Five

Oklahoma State

1) The Cowboys lead the series with Texas Tech 37-13 and won both meetings during the regular season. OSU won 67-59 in Stillwater in the Big 12 opener and then blew out Tech 80-73 in Lubbock on Jan. 31.

2) Oklahoma State is 4-1 all-time against Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament. The lone loss came in the 2002 quarterfinals.

3) As expected, injured freshman forward Le'Bryan Nash is listed as "doubtful" for the game. Ford talked this week about how they will continue to cope with him out of the lineup. Obviously center Philip Jurick is out of the lineup, as well, after suffering a torn Achilles tendon in the loss at Kansas State. He is set to have surgery this week.

4) OSU has never lost a first-round game in the Big 12 Tournament, with an 8-0 record in the event's opening day. The Cowboys are 4-0 all-time as the No. 7 seed.

5) Markel Brown poses a huge matchup problem for the Red Raiders because of his athleticism, as evidenced by his 30-point performance in Lubbock. With Nash and Jurick sidelines, Brown will be relied on heavily to provide the necessary scoring punch to help Keiton Page.

Texas Tech

1) Billy Gillispie has had a forgettable first season in Lubbock. Aside from the team's 8-22 record, Tech is averaging just 59.5 points per game and 17.1 turnovers. The most points the Raiders have scored in conference play is 67 and it took overtime to do it. The lowest point output was 38 in a nine-point loss to Texas A&M.

2) Tech has won just once since Dec. 30 with an 65-47 victory against Oklahoma on Feb. 11. During their current six-game losing streak, the Red Raiders are losing by an average of 19.2 points.

3) This is easily a matchup of the league's two youngest teams. Texas Tech has seven freshmen and three sophomores on the roster. Only three players had Division I experience heading into the season.

4) OSU isn't the only team dealing with injuries heading into Wednesday. Tech freshman Kevin Wagner suffered a season-ending knee injury on Feb. 4 right when he was starting to make a big impact for the team. Wagner started six games and had a season-high 16 points along with four assists and two steals against Kansas State. Wagner wasn't much of a factor in either matchup against OSU, scoring four points combined.

5) One area where Texas Tech has shined is in field goal percentage. Tech has out-shot 18 of its 30 opponents this season. The Raiders out-shot OSU in both meetings this season but the Cowboys still won both handily.

Projected Starters

Oklahoma State (14-17, 7-11 Big 12)

F Michael Cobbins (6-8, 220, Fr., 5.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg)

G Brian Williams (6-5, 205, Fr., 8.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg)

G Keiton Page (5-9, 165, Sr., 16.8 ppg, 2.1 apg)

G Markel Brown (6-3, 190, So., 10.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg)

G Cezar Guerrero (6-0, 175, Fr., 5.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg)

Texas Tech (8-22, 1-17 Big 12)

C Robert Lewandowski (6-10, 256, Sr., 6.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg)

F Jordan Tolbert (6-7, 210, Fr., 11.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg)

G Ty Nurse (6-1, 180, Jr., 8.9 ppg, 1.9 apg)

G Javarez Willis (5-11, 171, So., 8.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg)

G Luke Adams (5-9, 150, Fr., 4.1 ppg, 1.2 apg)

Prediction

Getting sick of hearing about injuries? Well, this is the last time I'll mention them in this but they do make predicting the outcome of games exceedingly difficult. OSU blew Tech away in Lubbock in part because they were able to capitalize on turnovers and turn them into transition points. For the most part, OSU ran on the Raiders. That will be hard to do while watching out for fatigue. In any event, OSU is still the better team and should be able to move on to 9-0 in tourney openers. Prediction: OSU 68, Tech 58


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