Grudge Match

Texas Tech and Oklahoma State will square of for the third time this season 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Spirit Center in Kansas City, MO. The Red Raiders defeated the Cowboys 65-61 at home on Feb. 8 before falling 84-62 two weeks later in Stillwater.

Texas Tech (14-17, 6-12) versus Oklahoma State (20-11, 8-10)

Where: Kansas City, Missouri, Sprint Center

When: 6:00 p.m. (CT), Wednesday

TV: Big 12 Network (Suddenlink 6, U-Verse 14, DirecTV 640, Dish 432)

Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network from Learfield Sports

The Matchup: Since Marcus Smart's return
from a three-game suspension, Oklahoma State has been playing perhaps its best basketball of the season. His return coincided with OSU's 22-point victory over Texas Tech in Stillwater, of course, and the Cowboys followed that win up with another 22-point win at TCU. They then beat Kansas by seven and Kansas State by 16 before dropping a four-point decision at Iowa State their last time out. The Cowboys are playing for seeding in the NCAA tournament and will be well motivated.

OSU relies on the deadly quartet of Smart, Markel Brown, Le'Bryan Nash and Phil Forte who combine for 78 percent of the team's point total, 53 percent of its rebounds, and 74 percent of its assists. So Tech's task is simple: shut down Smart, Brown, Nash and Forte and the Red Raiders win going away.

The Cowboys do many things right. They shoot 47 percent from the floor, 37 percent from beyond the arc and 72 percent from the line. They have 100 more assists than turnovers, have forced 99 more turnovers than they've allowed assists, and they limit their opponents to only 40 percent shooting.

Texas Tech's win over the University of Texas, which snapped a six-game losing streak, may well energize this team. It will certainly boost the team's confidence, which may have been on the wane after a 25-point drubbing at Kansas. And an energized, confident Red Raider team can give Oklahoma State all it wants, especially on a neutral court.

Tech finished the regular season at plus-three in rebounding margin, which is quite an accomplishment given the quality of the competition and the team's lack of bulk up front. The Red Raiders also shot the rock at 46-percent proficiency and were good 73 percent of the time from the charity stripe.

Tech Player to Watch: Senior forward Jaye Crockett had one of the best games of his career last time out against Texas and you can bet he doesn't want his collegiate career to end against the Cowboys. After a series of subpar games occasioned, presumably, by a gimpy knee, Crockett looked like his old self against the Longhorns. Tech will need another big game from Crockett in order to knock off OSU.

Oklahoma State Player to Watch: In his return from suspension, Marcus Smart had a huge, stat sheet-stuffing game against the Red Raiders. Suffice it to say that Tech will have to contain Smart much better this time round to have a real shot at victory.

Notable: If the Red Raiders can get the Cowboys into an overtime situation, they might be good to go. OSU has played three overtime games this season and lost them all.

Quotable: "The ball bounced our way this time. It hadn't done that this year. We'd been snake-bit in some ways. But I tell our team all the time, ‘Good teams make good plays; you can't wait for it to happen,' and I thought tonight we were aggressive in a lot of ways, and I'm glad we hung in there. But you're right, when you win one like this it probably does the soul good—I know it does mine some good." Tubby Smith

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