Who: Texas Tech (18-11, 8-9) vs. Kansas State (16-4, 5-12)
Where: Lubbock, Texas, United Supermarkets Arena
When: Saturday, March 5, 2:00 p.m. (CT)
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network
Notable: Kansas State is just 1-7 in Big 12 road games, but has won four out of the last five meetings with Texas Tech in Lubbock.
Quotable: "Obviously, they will learn a valuable lesson. They will learn a tough lesson about being physical and defending the right way, especially in our post defense. We didn't contest. We did a poor job defensively. Then, there are the basic fundamentals of squaring up to the basket and protecting the ball. There were a lot of one-hand passes and bounce passes that we don't even teach. All of the sudden, they showed up tonight. There were some slow passes that were intercepted. We have to work on our pass fake. I guess it is a different animal when you go up against a team that was focused tonight. They were ready to play. It was their senior night. They really took it to us in all phases of the game."—Tubby Smith on Texas Tech’s loss to West Virginia
K-State coach Bruce Weber ought to send TCU coach Trent Johnson a thank you-note. Were it not for TCU acting as cannon fodder, the Wildcats would be on a seven-game losing streak right about now. That’s right. The only wins KSU has enjoyed over their last seven outings have come at the expense of the Horned Frogs.
But that fact should come as little comfort to a Texas Tech Red Raider team that, after losing two straight games, must do everything it can to secure an NCAA tourney berth that would have been considered ludicrous when the season began. Little comfort because in the meeting between the two clubs earlier in the season, the Wildcats clobbered the Red Raiders 83-70.
The Wildcats, seldom a hot-shooting team, torched Tech by knocking down 56 percent of their field goals, and 53 percent of their trifectas. And frankly, Tech’s shaky perimeter defense has made many a hack look like a marksman this season, so manning up with K-State’s perimeter players will be job one for the Red Raiders in this game.
The victory over Texas Tech was one of the rare instances when KSU really shot the ball well. Hence, for the season K-State has connected on only 43 percent of their field goals and 30 percent of their 3-pointers. But the Wildcats are a strong plus-four in rebounding margin, a number that should concern the Red Raiders given that they were recently brutalized on the boards by West Virginia by a 40-23 count.
Guards Justin Edwards and Wesley Iwundu are KSU’s go-to guys on offense. They both average 12 points per game, but that’s where the similarities end. Edwards is also a good rebounder (six per game) and defender—he leads Kansas State in steals with 53. Edwards also shoots 31 percent from three where Iwundu is little threat, connecting only 21 percent of his efforts from deep. Iwundu does, however, outshoot Edwards from the field 48 to 44 percent, and he leads KSU in assists with 111.
Barry Brown, who hurt Tech badly in Manhattan, averages nine points per contest, but shoots only 36 percent from the floor.
As a team, Texas Tech’s strength continues to be free throw shooting. The Red Raiders are No. 38 nationally in free throws made (524) and No. 25 in free throw shooting percentage (74.9).
Individually, Toddrick Gotcher and Aaron Ross lead Tech in scoring at 11 points per game, while Zach Smith’s seven boards per contest leads the squad in that category.