Who: Texas Tech (11-3, 1-2) vs. Kansas State (10-5, 0-3)
Where: Manhattan, Kansas, Bramlage Coliseum
When: Tuesday, January 12, 7:00 p.m. (CT)
TV: Fox Sports KC
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network
Notable: In computations relying heavily on the RPI, Kansas State has the fourth toughest remaining schedule in college basketball. Texas Tech has the third most difficult.
Quotable: “Woodard. Woodard. It’s not even a question. We didn’t guard him last year. We just didn’t guard him. We got here this morning and it was a semi-blizzard for Oklahoma—I’m from Wisconsin and that was just a rain shower—and Cousins was here at 7:30 this morning shooting before us. I don’t know how he got here. There was a little scooter out there so if that was his then he rode here in the snow. I don’t know, I’m probably starting some rumor, but those guys—Buddy started it. They have a culture of a commitment to getting better. Hield took it to another level, Cousins took it to another level, Spangler has taken it to another level and now Woodard has taken it to another level.”—KSU coach Bruce Weber on why Oklahoma is such an improved team
The Kansas State Wildcats may be unrecognizable because of a huge roster turnover from a year ago, but should still be familiar to Tech fans because they play a game that resembles Tech’s.
First and foremost, KSU is a defense-oriented basketball team. They hold opponents to 41-percent shooting from the floor and 27 percent from three-point range. The Wildcats also force opponents into an average of 15 turnovers per contest, which is a good number.
On offense, K-State resembles Tech in that it is not a terrific shooting team—only 42 percent from the field and 28 percent from deep—and relies heavily on scoring from the free throw line where the Wildcats average four more points per game than their opponents and shoot five more free throws per game.
Also like Tech is KSU’s good but not great plus-three rebounding number.
And just as the Red Raiders do not rely on a single superstar to propel their success, so the Wildcats do not have a true headliner. Senior forward Wesley Iwundu leads KSU in scoring at 13 points per contest. Fellow senior Justin Edwards kicks in 12 points, six rebounds and three assists per outing.
K-State enters the game with Texas Tech on a three-game skid, having dropped decisions to conference foes West Virginia, Texas and Oklahoma. The losses to the Longhorns and Sooners came on the road.
Texas Tech is on a two-game losing slide of its own, falling to Iowa State and Kansas after opening Big 12 play with a victory over Texas. If the Red Raiders are going to get any conference road wins, Manhattan is as good a place to start as any because although K-State is a very respectable team, they are also beatable.
Tech continues to be led in scoring by Devaugntah Williams who averages 14 points per contest. However, he was AWOL in the losses to Iowa State and Kansas. A reignited Williams would do wonders for Tech’s chances against the Wildcats.
One player Tubby Smith and the Red Raiders have been able to rely upon the entire season is senior Toddrick Gotcher. He averages 12 points and four boards per game, while shooting at a 41-percent clip from beyond the arc. And his 3.6-to-one assist/turnover ratio is easily a team best.
As a team the Red Raiders shoot a respectable 46 percent from the floor, but are hitting only 30 percent of their three-point attempts.
Texas Tech is decidedly a first-half team, outscoring opponents by an average of nine points in the opening period. However, the Red Raiders haven’t finished particularly well, outscoring the opposition by an average of only two points in second halves.