Game Preview | Kansas St. vs. Texas Tech

TEXAS TECH (7-11, 0-6)
VS.
KANSAS ST. (14-4, 3-3)
Game Essentials
Date | January 25, 2012
Time | 8:00 pm
Location | Lubbock, TX
TV | ESPNU
Radio | Affiliates

Texas Tech Starting 5
Javarez Willis (5-11/171) | 8.9 PPG | 1.8 APG
Ty Nurse (6-1/180) | 8.6 PPG | 2.0 RPG
Terran Petteway (6-6/185) | 4.4 PPG | 2.3 RPG
Jordan Tolbert (6-7/210) | 12.5 PPG | 6.2 RPG
Robert Lewandowski (6-10/256) | 7.5 PPG | 4.0 RPG

Kansas St. Starting 5
Angel Rodriguez (5-11/180) | 6.8 PPG | 2.2 APG
Will Spradling (6-2/180) | 10.8 PPG | 2.7 APG
Rodney McGruder (6-4/205) | 15.5 PPG | 5.6 RPG
Jamar Samuels (6-7/230) | 11.1 PPG | 6.8 RPG
Thomas Gipson (6-7/275) | 8.7 PPG | 5.7 RPG

WHAT TO EXPECT

I'M SO SCARED BABY | I'm afraid that Kansas St. is about to beat up Texas Tech. Like the article mentioned this morning, head coach Billy Gillispie has always appreciated the type of team that Frank Martin runs out on the court, which is a tough and defensive minded team. K-State only allows teams to shoot 39.3% from the floor and only 28.4% from the three-point line. Not only that, they have a 7 rebound advantage on opponents and they'll simply wear you down as they have eight players that average 18 minutes a game. Not only that, F Jordan Henriquez-Roberts had been previously suspended this past week and Martin has re-instated him for tonight's game.

SHOOTING YOURSELF IN THE FOOT | Dan highlighted this yesterday, but Texas Tech's turnovers are absolutely killing this team and as Dan stated, this team is in the top 10 in turnovers, averaging 17.0 per game, contrasted with the thought that this team only averages only 11.6 assists per game, which is 266th out of 338 teams. As a team, Texas Tech has 209 assists and the NCAA leader in assists, Iona's Scott Mochado's has 201 by himself. So the situation compounds itself in that possessions are being thrown away while not finding any easy buckets. Willis has seemingly regressed this year in terms of assists to turnovers and by himself, he's averaging 1.8 APG while also averaging 2.3 TPG. The difficult thing is that in comparison to K-State, who have no players that average more than 2 turnovers per game, but Texas Tech has 5 players average more than 2 turnovers per game: Willis, Lew, Tolbert, Crockett and Minnis. At this point, I don't know if it's worth to give Kevin Wagner the starting role as this team's point guard.

KEY MATCHUPS

SPRADLING VS. NURSE | Spradling is not overly athletic, but he's awfully effective, the 3rd leading scorer for K-State, and is essentially a second point guard for the team. Nurse, on the other hand, has seen a wild swing in minutes, where prior to the TAMU game, he was averaging about 30 minutes a game, but during the TAMU game he only saw 15 minutes, then saw 40 minutes against OU, and then only 20 minutes against Iowa St. This is a microcosm of how the rotations aren't really set for any position, other than maybe Lew, who continues to see minutes. There's just not a lot of consistence and I keep thinking that this is a result of Gillispie either trying to teach lessons (i.e., you play hard when you are out on the floor and you'll continue play). But back to Nurse, who averages a little under 9 points a game, in the past 4 games, Nurse is averaging 2 PPG and shooting 14% from the floor.

TOLBERT VS. SAMUELS | Another forward who has a similar build to Tolbert and Tolbert, yet again, gets to try and get back in the groove. Tolbert's scoring has fallen off quite a bit in conference play as the competition has gotten better and tonight will be no different. Tolbert has been up and down the past five games as well, seeing 15 minutes per game to 30, although he's averaging only 5.4 PPG over those last 5 games and he's shooting only 25%. Tolbert is missing some easy shots, shots he made earlier in the year, so maybe it's just a confidence thing for Tolbert, but it would help mightily if he could get somewhat back on track.

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