Who: Texas Tech (14-6, 3-5) vs. LSU (9-10, 1-7)
Where: Lubbock, Texas, United Supermarkets Arena
When: Saturday, January 28, 1:00 p.m. (CT)
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network
Notable: Five of the 14 players listed on LSU’s roster hail from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Baton Rouge has roughly 20,000 fewer people than Lubbock.
Quotable: “I think you have to reward the guys who are able to get out and be competitive and able to give multiple efforts. That's what you’re looking for. They've got to be able to separate themselves. It’s easy right now for some not to, and it’s going to be tough for guys who want to dig deep to be competitive because of the way our schedule is about to turn. You’re going to have to be able to compete at a high level to have a chance to have success.”—LSU head coach Johnny Jones on shortening his rotation as a means of turning the Tigers around
We’ve seen this picture before. In Louisiana State, Texas Tech will face a struggling team that appears to be all but dead in the water. The Tigers enter Lubbock as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge riding a six-game losing streak, and having lost eight of their last nine games.
Cake-and-pie time for the Red Raiders, right? That was the conventional wisdom before Tech strolled into Norman, Oklahoma and got kicked upside the head by an Oklahoma team that was winless in Big 12 play.
A brief spell later the floundering Cowboys of Oklahoma State visited Lubbock to confront a Texas Tech team that was undefeated at home. Surely lightning wouldn’t strike twice? But it did. OSU zapped the Red Raiders like a bolt from a thunderhead and departed the Hub City with a 19-point win in their saddlebags.
Now here come the Bayou Bengals who look for all the world like a very bad basketball team. They have a losing record, shoot worse from the field, 3-point range and the foul line than their opponents, and are on the bad side of the ledger both in rebound and turnover margin. In short, any good basketball team would dispatch LSU, particularly at home. We will see if Texas Tech is any good or not.
If the Red Raiders are good, they will likely keep Antonio Blakeney, LSU’s best player, in check. The swing player averages 16 points, five rebounds and two assists per game.
Like the Baylor Bears, Texas Tech’s most recent opponent, LSU also has some size. Duop Reath, LSU’s second leading scorer, stands 6-foot-10, while Elbert Robinson, who plays sparingly, is seven-foot-one. They should not be confused with Johnathan Motley and Jo Lual-Acuil.
As an aside, Skylar Mays, who leads LSU with four assists per game, is the younger brother of Stan Mays, who played for Texas Tech during Tubby Smith’s tenure.
Tech enters this game with four players—Keenan Evans, Zach Smith, Anthony Livingston and Aaron Ross—averaging between 10 and 14 points per game.
Smith also leads the team in rebounding with seven per game, and blocks with 30.
Ross’ 46-percent shooting percentage from three, and 91-percent mark from the charity stripe, lead the Red Raiders in those categories.