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Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma St. | Game Preview

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NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 10: Le'Bryan Nash #2 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys shoots over Lamar Patterson #21 of the Pittsburgh Panthers at Madison Square Garden on December 10, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 10: Le'Bryan Nash #2 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys shoots over Lamar Patterson #21 of the Pittsburgh Panthers at Madison Square Garden on December 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
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TEXAS TECH (7-5, 0-0)
VS.
OKLAHOMA ST. (7-6, 0-0)
Game Essentials
Date | January 4, 2012
Time | 7:00 pm
Location | Stillwater, OK
TV | TBA
Radio | Affiliates

Texas Tech Starting 5
Javarez Willis (5-11/171) | 8.5 PPG | 2.5 AST
Ty Nurse (6-1/180) | 10.7 PPG | 1.6 AST
Terran Petteway (6-6/185) | 5.3 PPG | 2.2 REB
Jordan Tolbert (6-7/210) | 15.4 PPG | 6.0 REB
Robert Lewandowski (6-10/256) | 7.8 PPG | 4.3 REB

Oklahoma St. Starting 5
Keiton Page (5-9/165) | 13.0 PPG | 1.2 APG
Markel Brown (6-3/190) | 8.7 PPG | 6.0 RPG
Le'Bryan Nash (6-7/230) | 12.3 PPG | 5.0 RPG
Michael Cobbins (6-8/220) | 4.0 PPG | 3.7 RPG
Philip Jurick (6-11/270) | 1.9 PPG | 6.4 RPG

WHAT TO EXPECT

TOUGH NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE | Texas Tech has a better non-conference record, but OSU has played mch better opponents, the problem is that they have lost every gamem to all of those quality opponents. OSU wins come against TAMU-CC, Ark-Bine Bluff, UTSA, Tulsa (quality win), Langston, Missouri St. and SMU. The Cowboys have lost to a lot of very quality teams, Stanford, Virginia Tech (twice), Pittsburgh, New Mexico and Alabama. I think the problem for OSU is that they most likely thought they would have 3 wins from that group of quality opponents rather than none. Even then, I still think that on paper, OSU is significantly more talented with an RPI of #98, compared to #198 for Texas Tech, and that's even with one of the softest non-conference schedules for Texas Tech.

NOT A TYPICAL OSU TEAM | When I traditionally think of OSU, I always think of a team that plays incredibly annoying and tough man defense and has enough talented athletes and shooters to win 20 games a season. And a tough rebounding team, especially on the offensive boards. Thus far, that's not what we've seen from Oklahoma St. Right now, opponents have a 1 rebound advantage against Oklahoma St. and essentially have similar rebounding numbers to Texas Tech, although OSU is a better offensive rebounding team. OSU is holding opposing teams to under 40% from the field, which is good, but not enough to get any significant wins and that's just not a normal OSU team. I think the expectations for most Cowboy fans was a NCAA tournament spot, but I think that's in jeopardy, unless of course OSU goes on a tear in the conference, which seems likely.

One other thing to watch for OSU is that the Cowboys have some injury issues. Olukemi is out for this game and so I've plugged in Cobbins for the other possible starter. Not sure what OSU will do. Also, Brown is coming off an injury and there's a question as to whether or not he'll play, but I think he's scheduled to start and play.

KEY MATCHUPS

NASH VS. PETTEWAY & CROCKETT | Prior to Toddrick Gother's injury, I was fairly certain that he would take the opposing team's best scorer on defense. Not that Gotcher was some sort of shut down defender, but he was quick, gave good effot and had good size. Nash would have been a match-up problem for Texas Tech even if Gotcher had played. Last game Petteway got the start at small forward and given Nash's size, I'd expect an early dose of Petteway again and then expect to see plenty of Crockett as Crockett can better match-up with OSU's true freshman. And I think that if I'm either Petteway or Crockett, I let Nash have the outside shot. Despite being the second leading scorer on the team, he's only shooting 36% from the floor and 24% from beyond the three point line, which leads me to believe that he's probably pretty good going to the basket, but maybe TTU needs to give him whatever he wants from the outside.

PAGE VS. WILLIS | Seems like everytime that OSU beats Texas Tech, Page is having a good game and despite being 5-9, he's leading his team in scoring, but I don't know if he's truly leading his team. Page plays point guard, perhaps by default because of his height and Cezar Guerrero is the only other point guard on the team, but he's averaging only 1.4 assists per game, which is just behind team leaders, Brown and Roger Dowell who have 1.7 assists per game. Maybe this is a situation where Page is being asked to do too much heavy lifting from the scoring department and would be better suited setting up his teammates. Page is still a fantastic three point shooter and has hurt Texas Tech in the past with his three point shooting, but maybe the key is to let Page score, but if the ball is mainly in his hands and scoring, then he's not setting up his teammates.