Who: Texas Tech (12-3, 1-2) vs. Kansas State (13-2, 2-1)
Where: Lubbock, Texas, United Supermarkets Arena
When: Tuesday, January 10, 8:15 p.m. (CT)
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network
Notable: The 88 points Kansas State scored against Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse were the second most the Wildcats have ever scored there. The most was 91 points on February 7, 1962.
Quotable: "Some of the things we would like to see our team improve on is be a more consistent team on defense. We've proven in a lot of situations that we can be a good defensive team, but we haven't been able to put together 40 minutes of complete play out there. Offensively, one of our biggest issues is turnovers. Even against Kansas, we're getting good shots and making them. We just can't have those wasted possessions. That's been a focal point this week as it will be in every practice we have the rest of the season. The lower turnover games we have, the better offense we play."—Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard
There is no rest in the Big 12. After suffering their most lopsided loss of the season, 85-68 at Kansas, the Texas Tech Red Raiders return home to face a Kansas State team that finds itself ranked No. 25 in the nation.
That ranking is no joke either. The Wildcats’ two losses were by one point to Maryland, and by two at Kansas in a game that, if the officials had been competent, would have gone into overtime.
In addition to those two losses, K-State has very solid wins over Washington State, Colorado State and Texas. A road win over Texas Tech would be the jewel in that crown.
As is the case with several Big 12 teams this season, the Wildcats are all about offensive balance. All five Kansas State starters—Wesley Iwundu, Barry Brown, Kamau Stokes, Dean Wade and D.J. Johnson—score in double figures.
Johnson, a 6-foot-9 bruise, connects on 63 percent of his shots, leads K-State in rebounding with six per contest, and paces the squad in blocked shots with 25. Stokes is a deep bombardier knocking home 41 percent of his 3-point attempts, as well as leading the Wildcats in assists with over four per contest. Brown’s 34 steals leads K-State in that category.
As a unit, the Wildcats force 16 turnovers per contest, which will be a major concern for a Red Raider outfit that looks pedestrian when it doesn’t value the orange.
Texas Tech is a team that looks very formidable from several statistical angles. The Red Raiders outshoot their foes 51 to 41 percent, and 40 to 35 percent from beyond the arc.
Tech connects on 74 percent of its free throw attempts, and owns a plus-9 rebounding margin as well.
Guard Keenan Evans, who quietly goes his way without attracting a whole lot of attention, is arguably having the best season of any Red Raider. He leads the team in scoring with 14 points per contest, hits 47 percent of his 3-pointers, leads Tech in steals with 20, and has a 2/1 assist/turnover ratio.
If Evans isn’t the team MVP to this point, Zach Smith certainly is. He averages 12 points and eight rebounds per outing, connects on 60 percent of his shots from the floor, and averages two blocked shots per contest. He’s also recorded a drawer full of spectacular slam-dunks whose galvanic properties are unquantifiable.
Against a rock solid K-State team, Texas Tech will likely need a couple of highlight reel rim-shakers from Smith to secure the win.