Texas Tech (10-9 2-4) versus Oklahoma (15-4 4-2)
Where: United Spirit Arena, Lubbock, Texas
When: 3 p.m. (CT) Saturday
TV: Big 12 Network--Suddenlink (6), AT&T U-Verse (14), Direct TV (640), Dish (432)
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network from Learfield Sports
The Matchup: Lon Kruger's Oklahoma Sooners have no nationally recognized superstars, and statistically, they are not overawing, but they are 15-4 against a tough schedule and are ranked in the top 25. These facts testify to the job Kruger has done and to the chemistry the Sooners possess.
Having stated that OU doesn't have star power, it should be noted that the team does have a couple of 17-point-per-game scorers in forward Cameron Clark and guard Buddy Hield. Clark also pulls down six boards per game and shoots 83 percent from the free throw line. Ryan Spangler grabs 10 rebounds per contest for a team that doesn't have a player taller than 6-foot-8. He also shoots 65 percent from the floor. Guard Isaiah Cousins, from the same Mount Vernon, New York that produced the brothers McCray (Rodney and Scooter), averages 11 points and four boards per contest, while knocking down 43 percent of his trey attempts.
And shooting from deep is what Oklahoma does the most. The Sooners jack up 21 three-pointers per game, compared to Tech's 15 three-point attempts per game. The fact that OU connects on 38 percent of their long-range efforts may explain their propensity to heave the rock from Okmulgee. Oklahoma is plus-three in rebounding margin and, like Tech, shoots a sizzling 75 percent from the charity stripe.
Increasingly, Texas Tech is demonstrating that they will be in the thick of it in most of their Big 12 games. Of greater question is how many of these close games the Red Raiders will actually win. Tech's latest close-but-no-cigar effort came in a six-point loss to West Virginia on the road.
Usual suspects Jaye Crockett, Jordan Tolbert and Robert Turner continue to lead the Red Raiders in scoring with 14, 12 and 10 points per game respectively. Tolbert's seven rebounds per game is tops for Tech, while Turner leads the club in both assists and steals.
As a team, the Red Raiders continue to make strides in perimeter shooting and defense. In an area that was recently a liability, Tech now shoots 34 percent from deep whole holding their opponents to the exact same percentage.
Tech Player to Watch: A certain somebody rashly stated this time last year that Dusty Hannahs would leave Tech as one of the best shooters in school history. Hannahs is still well short of that accomplishment, but gave glimpse of his potential by going 7-of-7 from deep against West Virginia last time out. He is now connecting on 43 percent of his three-pointers and has taken the most on the team. As an aside, Hannahs is shooting a magnificent 93 percent from the free throw line as well.
Oklahoma Player to Watch: Rawboned forward Ryan Spangler is hardly the flashiest player in the Big 12, but he is a key reason for OU's surprising success this season. He chips in a very respectable 11 points per game, but more important, he's a glass animal, pulling down 10 big boards per outing. Spangler is a transfer from Gonzaga.
Notable: Like Texas Tech, Oklahoma played a pair of games in Brooklyn earlier in the season, defeating Seton Hall of the Big East and falling to then No. 1 Michigan State by 11.
Quotable: "I like that he [Dusty Hannahs] had six assists and no turnovers which is outstanding. I like the way he played tonight, and he's capable of doing that. He's a great three point shooter." —Tech head coach Tubby Smith
Texas Tech Hosts No. 25 Oklahoma
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