Preview and Game Thread: Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State

Date: Saturday, February 20th
Time: 8:30 pm
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (16-9, 6-7)
Bad Guys: Oklahoma State Cowboys (12-14, 3-10)
Location: Gallegher-Iba Arena | Lubbock, Texas
TV/Stream: ESPNU / WatchESPN
Radio/Stream: 93.7 FM/104.3 FM/950 AM

POINT GUARD Kennan Evans (6-3/180) 8.8 / 2.8*
SHOOTING GUARD Toddrick Gotcher (6-4/205) 10.1 / 3.8
SMALL FORWARD Justin Gray (6-6/210) 8.9 / 3.6
POWER FORWARD Zach Smith (6-8/215) 10.0 / 7.0
CENTER Matthew Temple (6-9/260) 3.1 / 1.9
SIXTH MAN Aaron Ross (6-8/225) 10.0 / 4.2
SEVENTH MAN Devaugntah Williams (6-4/205) 11.4 / 3.3
EIGHTH MAN Devon Thomas (6-0/170) 2.8 / 1.4*
POINT GUARD Tyree Griffin (5-10/165) 4.9 / 3.5*
SHOOTING GUARD Jeff Newberry (6-2/185) 11.0 / 4.7
SMALL FORWARD Jeffrey Carroll (6-6/205) 8.6 / 4.4
POWER FORWARD Leyton Hammonds (6-7/215) 10.3 / 5.1
CENTER Mitchell Solomon (6-9/240) 3.8 / 3.9
SIXTH MAN Chris Oliver (6-8/230) 8.5 / 3.8
SEVENTH MAN Tavarius Shine (6-5/205) 5.3 / 3.3
EIGHTH MAN Joe Burton (6-6/210) 4.2 / 1.3

* Assists.

1. KenPom has the Cowboys at 73rd overall, 117th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 55th in adjusted defensive efficiency. Texas Tech has moved up to 40th overall, 54th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 44th in adjusted defensive efficiency. Without Jawun Evans for Oklahoma State, that’s a rough offensive team. And make no mistake, Evans is really talented. Texas Tech didn’t have an answer for him when Oklahoma State traveled to Lubbock. It doesn’t look like he’ll play on Saturday and if that’s true, then this game becomes even more important.

2. Oklahoma State has struggled as of late, losing most recently to Kansas, but did get a win over Kansas State in overtime, but then dropping games to TCU, Iowa State and Texas Tech. Of course, without Evans and without Phil Forte, this really wasn’t the team that they were supposed to have. Forte would have provided a terrific scoring punch, but he was injured early in the year and Evans, a true freshman, has been injured during this most recent rough stretch.

3. Since the Oklahoma State game the last time these two teams played, where Evans only scored 7 points and was just 2 of 7 from the field with 1 assist, Evans has been on a tear. Evans has averaged 16.5 points a game and he’s shot 62% from the field over that stretch, including 58% from the three-point line. It’s been a strange road for Evans this year and I was somewhat reserved to thinking that Evans was going to just be a guy that couldn’t score in the Big 12, but he’s really proved me wrong (thankfully) and he’s exhibited some terrific moves (that stutter step in the lane for a layup against Oklahoma was a thing of beauty).

4. Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith did overachieving and how at some point, every team has to do that:

“I blurted out overachieving (in the press conference after the Oklahoma game), and that’s something we talk about on a regular basis,” Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith said. “In order to achieve our dream of being the best, there’s going to be that point in time when you have to overachieve and when you have to raise your level of play. But I believe that these guys have earned the right to be where they are. They’ve earned it every day in practice. That’s what I was trying to communicate to them was to keep believing in yourself and keep believing in what we’re doing.”

5. These are the games that you’re supposed to win, but stuff happens. Playing on the road in the Big 12 is ridiculously tough and team win on the road when there seems like there’s zero chance of a win. It’s not just me, but even Vegas has Texas Tech favored by 1 and that’s it. It’s moved to 1.5, but the idea remains the same. Funny things happen on the road. I won’t be disappointed if Texas Tech doesn’t get the win, I think they will, especially with Evans out, but that wouldn’t erase how great this team has been for the past three games.

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