Basketball

Preview and Game Thread: Texas Tech vs. Kansas State

The Red Raiders travel to Manhattan to take on the Kansas State Wildcats, who are looking for their first win in Big 12 play.

Date: Saturday, January 9th
Time: 7:00 pm
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (11-3, 1-2)
Bad Guys: Kansas State Wildcats (10-5, 0-3)
Location: United Supermarkets Arena | Lubbock, Texas
TV/Stream: ESPN3
Radio/Stream: 93.7 FM/104.3 FM/950 AM

TEXAS TECH
THE STARTERS Pts / Reb
POINT GUARD Kennan Evans (6-3/180) 7.9 / 3.0*
SHOOTING GUARD Devaugntah Williams (6-4/205) 14.0 / 3.8
SMALL FORWARD Toddrick Gotcher (6-4/205) 11.9 / 4.4
POWER FORWARD Zach Smith (6-8/215) 9.8 / 6.4
CENTER Norense Odiase (6-9/260) 10.1 / 4.9
THE BENCH Pts / Reb
SIXTH MAN Aaron Ross (6-8/225) 6.9 / 4.1
SEVENTH MAN Justin Gray (6-6/210) 7.5 / 3.2
EIGHTH MAN Devon Thomas (6-0/170) 3.4 / 1.6*
KANSAS STATE
THE STARTERS Pts / Reb
POINT GUARD Kamau Stokes (5-10/170) 8.7 / 3.1*
SHOOTING GUARD Justin Edwards (6-4/200) 12.1 / 5.8
SMALL FORWARD Wesley Iwundu (6-7/210) 12.7 / 4.3
POWER FORWARD Dean Wade (6-8/225) 10.9 / 6.0
CENTER Stephen Hurt (6-11/265) 6.7 / 5.1
THE BENCH Pts / Reb
SIXTH MAN D.J. Johnson (6-10/240) 6.4 / 4.4
SEVENTH MAN Barry Brown (6-7/215) 9.1 / 2.5
EIGHTH MAN Caribe Ervin II (6-8/220) 3.5 / 1.7

* Assists.

1. KenPom has Kansas State as the 44th best team in the nation with an adjusted offense ranked 150th in the nation and an adjusted defense at 14th in the nation. Texas Tech, despite two losses, continues to hover right around the same mark. The Red Raiders are 41st overall with the 92nd best offense and the 20th best defense. These are two pretty evenly matched teams.

2. K-State is not a particularly good offensive team as they don’t have any shooters about 47% from the floor and that’s Iwundu. As a team, they shoot 42% from the floor and only 28% from the three-point line. Obviously, that’s not great, but offense isn’t their calling card. I always tend to think that defense plays better at home rather than on the road. Kansas State is averaging 0.9 points per possession on defense and opponents to only shoot 41% from the field and 27% from the three-point line.

3. It might be close to making a change in the starting lineup, or at least a change to the division of minutes. Head coach Tubby Smith said after the game that Devaugntah Williams being scoreless isn’t the problem, but it is not contributing in other ways that’s the issue. Williams had no rebounds against Kansas, despite playing 25 minutes. He’s got to figure out how to contribute other than score and as coach Smith said after the game, if he does the other things, the offense should follow. Meanwhile, Justin Gray has seen a resurgence on the offensive end of the ball. His height and athleticism have been on full display the past two games. If Williams is going to be hot-and-cold, then maybe Gray should get a lot more minutes.

4. The biggest difference between these two teams is that Texas Tech does have a much better offense. Kansas state only shoots 42% from the field, while the Red Raiders shoot 46% and allow teams to shoot 39% from the floor. Texas Tech is a much better team at creating offense this year. Still, the offense seems pretty dependent on Norense Odiase being able to create inside, which could be a problem with K-State’s size.

5. Head coach Tubby Smith said that Kansas State is a young and athletic team who are very good defensively:

“They have a young team but are pretty deep as well as being athletic and long,” Smith said. “Bruce Weber’s teams are always aggressive defensively and in transition offense. They are averaging seven or eight steals a game. They are really dominating the boards, and that is something we have struggled with the last couple of games. They are not shooting that well from the outside, although they make some three’s against Oklahoma in their last outing. This is a team that can beat you in many ways especially at home. If you’re not patient offensively, they are going to force you into turnovers. We’ve got to a good job taking care of the ball and getting up great shots, as well as limiting them to one shot.”

Texas Tech really needs this game, but K-State needs it just as bad. If either team wants to make the tournament, K-State is going to have to defend it’s home court against teams like Texas Tech and the same could be said about the Red Raiders. Steal a game like this in Manhattan and that’s a big win for the Red Raiders.

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