Texas Tech Red Raiders (13-11, 5-6)
Iowa St. Cyclones (18-5, 6-5)
|WHERE||James H. Hilton Coliseum | Ames, Iowa|
|WHEN||12:30 pm Saturday February 15th|
|CONSUME||Radio - TTSN | TV - Big 12 Network|
|Texas Tech||Iowa St.|
|Robert Turner (6-3/180)||PG||DeAndre Kane (6-4/200)|
|Toddrick Gotcher (6-4/195)||SG||Matt Thomas (6-3/200)|
|Jaye Crockett (6-7/210)||SF||Dustin Hogue (6-6/215)|
|Jordan Tolbert (6-7/225)||PF||Georges Niang (6-7/240)|
|Dejan Kravic (7-0/235)||C||Melvin Ejim (6-6/220)|
Key Matchup | Turner vs. Kane: I mentioned this during the VTM roundtable and I'll mention this again, I think Kane is the cog that makes the ISU machine go. Just love the way he plays. Kane shot 13 free throws the last time these two teams met and that means he was just abusing Turner defensively. Turner has to keep him in front of him and not let him drive to the basket. Turner can make it tough on Kane as well by doing exactly what he did in the Oklahoma game, which is to really utilize that mid-range game and find open teammates after getting past his man.
Take Aim: The last time these two teams played, Iowa St. was undefeated and just rolling offensively. The Cyclones are still doing really well, but have struggled on the road in conference play. At Hilton, ISU is 11-1, and is 3-4 on the road. There’s definitely some Hilton magic, but ISU is just good at home and that’s why they’re favored by 13. As an aside, I think Oklahoma was favored by 10 on Wednesday, but I’m thinking that ISU isn’t going to have a similar let-down, especially after Texas Tech grabbed a win on the road. Seems like Fred Hoiberg let his team know that Texas Tech is quite dangerous and can’t afford to be taken lightly.
According to KenPom, Iowa St. is still very much balanced and still a top 25 or so team, 25th in AdjO and 42nd in AdjD. For comparison purposes, the Cyclones were 15th and 50th when they played last year, and right now Texas Tech is 72nd overall, with the 44th best AdjO and 112th AdjD.
Iowa St. is still a team led by four players, Melvin Ejim, who is just getting better as the year progresses, who is averaging 19 points a game and over 8 boards, and the offense is run by DeAndre Kane, who is averaging almost 16 points a game and over 5 assists a game. I really love the game of Kane.
Texas Tech stays in games and Tubby Smith figures out the best way to make it close and considering this is his first swim through the Big 12. Texas Tech will need to continue to have big games from Crockett, who is by far Texas Tech’s most consistent player and leader. His play has been phenomenal, but I do think he’s going to need more help than just Turner this game. A lot of Oklahoma’s miscues were a result of them just missing shots that they normally make, although there’s no doubt that Texas Tech’s defense was much better against the Sooners. Still, I don’t think that Texas Tech fans can count on a poor shooting performance like Buddy Heild had for the Sooners. Any one of the four Cyclones that average in double-figures, can have a break-out game. It will be incredibly important to keep ISU off the line and must clean up any and all defensive rebounds.
Game Day Links:
The official site with their official preview (via Texas Tech).
The players are hoping for their sixth conference win (via LAJ).
Tubby Smith emphasizes a new mentality and family atmosphere at Texas Tech (via DMN).
Our friends at Wide Right & Natty Lite ask if Texas Tech is a threat (via WRNL).
National writer John Rothstein writes about how Tubby Smith is doing a terrific job at Texas Tech (via CBS Sports).