Tonight in Lubbock, the No. 14 Texas Tech Red Raiders square off against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. This last week has been by far the roughest of the season for the Red Raiders as they have lost two straight games for this first time this season. This Oklahoma State team just toppled the then No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners by a score of 83-81 in overtime. As most of you know, the Red Raiders most recently lost to Iowa State on the road by a score of 70-52.
The Cowboys have outpaced expectations this season after the scandal that rocked their program earlier this season that resulted in a then-assistant coach Lamont Evans being brought in on bribery charges for funneling players to certain agents before becoming professional athletes. The Cowboys are 13-6 and have a bunch of great players that can help them make it to the NCAA tournament. They already have a signature win previously mentioned against the Oklahoma Sooners. If the Cowboys can find a way to get another signature win, they may be on their way to another tournament bid.
The Cowboys play 9-10 players in their rotation depending on the night. They are led by senior guard/forward Jeffery Carroll. Carroll averages 16 points and 6 rebounds per game for the Cowboys. He is their leaders offensively and he will be relied on to get buckets. Carroll is also a volume-type shooter as he shoots 13 times per game and makes about half of them. He can shoot from behind the arc however, he only shoots 29% from that range. Justin Gray will most likely get the first crack at guarding him.
Graduate transfer Kendall Smith is another player to watch this game. Smith originally signed with UNLV in 2013 but transferred to Cal State Northridge for two years before coming on to this Oklahoma State team. He is averaging 10 points and 3 assists per game this year. Tavarius Shine had a good week last week as he averaged 15 points in the Cowboy’s last two games. Shine could be due for another good game against the Red Raiders.
The Red Raiders need to win this one badly if they are to stay in the AP top-25 poll next week. Look for Malik Ondigo to help fill some of the minutes that Zach Smith left when he was injured. With another big on the floor, I believe that the Red Raiders will have the opportunity to shine offensively, especially with someone that has as much talent as Malik. Keenan Evans also needs to get back on track offensively as he only averaged 9 points per game last week. He needs to find more ways to get to the rim and get to the line.
Ultimately, I think that the Red Raiders get this one done at home against a good team. I see Jarrett Culver having a huge night and Keenan Evans getting back to his normal self. I think this game will be close, but the Red Raiders will have what it takes to get back to their winning ways tonight in Lubbock. Prediction: Red Raiders 75 Cowboys 68.