Who: Texas Tech (13-9, 3-7) vs. Iowa State (17-6, 6-4)
Where: Lubbock, Texas, United Supermarkets Arena
When: Wednesday, February 10, 8:00 p.m. (CT)
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network
Notable: Georges Niang gets most of the publicity, but point guard Monte’ Morris has been a freak of nature this season. He leads the Big 12 in assists per game (7.3), steals (2), and assist/turnover ratio (5.3). Moreover, in his last five games Morris’ assist/turnover ratio is an absurd 13, and he has not turned the ball over during the last two games. Furthermore, Morris has played five complete games this season. One could make a strong case that Morris is the Big 12’s true MVP, but with Hield-o-mania overwhelming everything else, that will never happen.
Quotable: “The loss of [Norense] Odiase hurts them from a physical and size standpoint, but watching the Oklahoma State game the other night, [Aaron] Ross played really, really well, [Zach] Smith is a long athlete, really good activity level up front, so we’ve got to do a good job, and then they’ve got Temple. We’ve got to do a good job with all those guys. The guy that really concerns you is [Toddrick] Gotcher, especially at home. He made big, big plays against Oklahoma State. If he misses one of those [3-pointers] Oklahoma State probably wins, but he made big, big threes down the stretch of that game, and we’ve got to do a great job on him as well.”—Iowa State coach Steve Prohm on Texas Tech’s big men and Toddrick Gotcher
Could Texas Tech be catching Iowa State at a good time? Difficult to say. On the one hand the Cyclones have lost two of their last three games--on the road at Texas A&M and at home against West Virginia. On the other, ISU has won three straight conference road games, knocking off Kansas State, TCU and Oklahoma State.
One other significant factor will be the absence of suspended forward Jameel McKay. McKay has been too much for the Red Raiders in the past, averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds per contest in three games against Tech.
But even without McKay, Iowa State does not lack for firepower. Georges Niang averages 19 points, six rebounds and three assists per game while shooting 52, 38 and 82 percent from the three basketball vectors.
The aforementioned Monte Morris is the Big 12’s best point guard, and Matt Thomas is the type of mad bomber who has given Tech fits in the past. Indeed, he was ISU’s leading scorer against Tech in Ames earlier this season with 22 points, 18 of which came from 3-pointers.
Devaugntah Williams and Toddrick Gotcher continue to lead Tech in scoring with 12 and 11 points per game respectively, but in Big 12 play Aaron Ross and Justin Gray are the leaders, each averaging 11 points per outing.
As a team the Red Raiders outshoot their opponents from the floor 44 to 42 percent, and are connecting on 75 percent of their free throws. However, Tech shoots 32 percent from beyond the arc while allowing the opposition to connect on 34 percent of their efforts from that distance.
The Red Raiders are plus-1 in rebound margin and have blocked 20 more shots than their foes this season.
Following the Iowa State tilt, Texas Tech will travel to Waco for a clash with the Baylor Bears at 7:00 p.m. (CT) on Saturday.