Game Preview | Oklahoma St. Cowboys vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Spo

The Texas Tech Red Raiders have their first sell-out crowd since 2007 and host the nationally ranked Oklahoma St. Cowboys.

THE INFORMATION

Game Details
TEAMS Oklahoma St. Cowboys (16-6, 4-5)
Texas Tech Red Raiders (11-11, 3-6)
WHERE United Spirit Arena | Lubbock, Texas
WHEN 8:30 pm Saturday February 8th
CONSUME Radio - TTSN | TV - ESPNU

THE CHARACTERS

Starters
Texas Tech Oklahoma St.
Robert Turner (6-3/180) PG Marcus Smart (6-4/220)
Toddrick Gotcher (6-4/195) SG Markel Brown (6-3/190)
Jaye Crockett (6-7/210) SF Le'Bryan Nash (6-7/235)
Jordan Tolbert (6-7/225) PF Brian Williams (6-5/210)
Dejan Kravic (6-11/235) C Kamari Murphy (6-8/220)

THE ANALYSIS

Key Matchup | Smart vs. Turner: Turner is going to have his hands full, and Randy Onwuasor is going to have his hands full backing up Turner. Marcus Smart is a force, one of the best players in the country, but he and Oklahoma St. have a bit of a bad spot. Oklahoma St. is looking to end a three game losing streak and I’m guessing that Smart and anyone else is going to come out with a vengeance. Smart is really a fantastic player, but he’s come under some heat recently as being labeled a "flopper" of epic proportions. Think Manu Ginobili and Jose Juan Barea. I have to think that the mental aspect of the game isn’t getting to Smart, but even if it is, he’s still averaging 17.3 points a game, 5.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.4 steals a game. Turner and Onwuasor have to make sure that Smart doesn’t dominate the game.

Take Aim: There’s actually a lot of hand-wringing going on in Stillwater right now after OSU has lost 3 in a row, wondering if Travis Ford is the coach for their team. I suppose I get that on some level, but this is still a pretty talented team. Maybe Texas Tech’s biggest advantage is going to be inside as both Smart and Brown both average 17 points a game, and Nash averages 14.6 points a game, with Phil Forte III coming off the bench and averaging double-figures. That’s the extent of the offense (which is plenty), while the frontcourt really doesn’t do all that much and if there was a time for Kravic and Tolbert to dominate a game, this would be it.

I’d also add that Oklahoma St. really only goes six players deep, at least this was the case against Iowa St. Maybe this is a situation where Ford really only trusts six players, but the starting five and Forte are the main guys. Texas Tech would maybe create some serious issues for OSU of they could get some of their frontcourt in some foul trouble, which means that Texas Tech is really going to have to increase that free throw rate and make it clear that they want to establish themselves inside.

Oklahoma St. is a top 25 team according to Texas TechKenPom, and are quite good offensively, 19th in AdjO, while a bit worse defensively, 47th in AdjD. Texas Tech is still struggling on defense, 176th in AdjD, while are doing quite well offensively, 45th in AdjO.

Game Day Links:

The official site has your official preview ( via Texas Tech).

The Red Raiders are excited for the sell-out crowed and Kravic knows that the fans still believe in them and this team believes they can win against Oklahoma St. (via LAJ):

"It shows that fans still believe in us, even though we’ve lost some games," senior center Dejan Kravic said. "There have been close games, and we’ve been in every game in the Big 12 so far. They still believe in us and they believe we can win this upcoming game."

Our friends at the DT talked with head coach Tubby Smith about the sell-out and what it means for this team (via DT):

"It is wonderful," he said. "It shows the hard work of a lot of people to make this happen. We hope that we can play to the level of support that we have gotten. I am excited and our players are excited. It also gives validation that we are moving in the right direction with the program."
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