Basketball

Preview and Game Thread: Texas Tech vs. Mississippi State

Texas Tech takes on Mississippi State in their second game of the Puerto Rico Classic at 4:00 pm. This is your preview and game thread.

Date: Friday, November 20th
Time: 4:00 pm
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (1-1, 0-0)
Bad Guys: Mississippi State Bulldogs (1-2, 0-0)
Location: Colieo Roberto Clemente | San Juan, Puerto Rico
TV/Stream: ESPNU
Radio/Stream: 93.7 FM/104.3 FM/950 AM

TEXAS TECH
THE STARTERS Pts / Reb
POINT GUARD Kennan Evans (6-3/180) 6.0 / 1.5*
SHOOTING GUARD Devaugntah Williams (6-4/205) 19.5 / 5.0
SMALL FORWARD Toddrick Gotcher (6-4/205) 9.5 / 5.5
POWER FORWARD Zach Smith (6-8/215) 7.5 / 6.0
CENTER Norense Odiase (6-9/260) 6.5 / 3.0
MISSISSIPPI STATE
THE STARTERS Pts / Reb
POINT GUARD I.J. Ready (5-11/170) 17.0 / 5.5*
SHOOTING GUARD Craig Sword (6-3/197) 12.5 / 3.5
SMALL FORWARD Fred Thomas (6-5/210) 9.5 / 6.0
POWER FORWARD Travis Daniels (6-7/225) 12.5 / 5.0
CENTER Gavin Ware (6-9/260) 19.5 / 8.5

* Assists.

1. The star of the show is Gavin Ware who averages nearly a double-double, 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. Next in line is I.J. Ready who averages 17 points and 5.5 assists a game, so there’s a nice inside-outside combination for Mississippi State. Craig Sword and Travis Daniels each averaging 12.5 points a game.

2. Mississippi State is ranked 142nd in KenPom’s rankings, including a ranking of 126th overall in adjusted offense and 182nd in adjusted defense. Much like Texas Tech, they struggle to be great thus far. Mississippi State has played Eastern Washington and Southern, beating EWU by nearly 20, but losing by 4 to Southern and losing yesterday to Miami. Texas Tech is 97th in the KenPom, 122nd in adjusted offense and 87th in adjusted defense. Texas Tech actually improved since playing Utah and Mississippi State got just a bit worse.

3. Ware is a big body, 6-9/260, and he should match-up with Norense Odiase nicely. Ware is a senior and he’s obviously figured out how to score to an extent and he’s big on the boards. Ready is the Bulldogs’ point guard and main distributor. Sword appears to be the off-guard and Daniels is another forward type that is maybe undersized, but he has a big frame at 6-7/225.

4. This is the time where the Texas Tech point guards will need to play some good defense as Ready can score. The guard defense was not good yesterday against Utah, as the guards for the Utes had struggled to score, but they both did very well yesterday. There were a handful of times yesterday where Devaughntah Williams was out of place and the defense was scrambling to recover. He has to be better and Keenan Evans and Devon Thomas will need to be ready to defend Ready, who is a terrific scorer.

5. I think that Texas Tech should win this game going away. Mississippi State appears to have some problems offensively and defensively, despite having some players that are averaging double-figures while Texas Tech struggles to have a player consistently in double-figures. I’m guessing that the defense is the biggest issue and that was the case against Miami where they allowed over 100 points.

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