The No. 15 Texas Tech Red Raiders take on the struggling Oklahoma State Cowboys tonight in Stillwater, Oklahoma. This is a big game for the Red Raiders to win if they are to keep in the race for the Big 12 regular-season title. The Red Raiders are coming off of two blowout wins over both West Virginia and TCU. The Cowboys are on a 6-game Big 12 losing streak and recently lost to both TCU and No. 13 Kansas. Now, let’s talk about the Cowboys.
Oklahoma State is not deep on their bench but their starters can run and play with anyone. They are led by junior forward Cam McGriff. McGriff leads the Cowboys in both points and rebounds averaging 13.4 and 7.5 respectively. He also leads the team in minutes with 33 per game. He plays the power forward spot the vast majority of the time and will most likely draw Tariq Owens as a matchup offensively. Owens’ size and shot blocking ability will prove to be a tough matchup for McGriff.
There are two other players the Cowboys have that average double digits in scoring. Junior guards Lindy Waters III and Thomas Dziagwa average 12 and 10 points per game. Both are great at scoring the basketball shooting anywhere as they both are shooting around 45% from behind the three-point line. I believe Waters III will be guarded by Jarrett Culver and Dziagwa will be guarded by Matt Mooney due to Waters III being bit taller, but I think either guy could be guarded on the defensive end by Jarrett Culver, Matt Mooney or even Brandone Francis when he comes off the bench.
The Cowboy’s final two starters are both freshman and both will most likely develop into great players for this team. Isaac Likekele starts at point guard and was a Texas Tech recruiting target last season. Likekele chose the Cowboys over the Red Raiders last year and Likekele has become a good player for this team. He is averaging 8 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists per game for this team. He is all over the court for this team and is someone who will need to be guarded closely. Davide Moretti will get the start on him, but with Likekele’s bigger frame, a larger guy such as Kyler Edwards or Brandone Francis might end up on him later in the game.
Starting at center for the Cowboys is freshman Yor Anei. Anei is 6-10 and starts on the inside for the Cowboys. He is averaging 7 points and 4.5 rebounds this season for the team. He’ll stay in the paint on most possessions and will draw both Norense Odiase and Tariq Owens at points in the game. Curtis Jones is the only Cowboys coming off the bench consistently for the Cowboys. The junior transfer from Indiana is averaging 20 minutes per game off the bench along with 8 points and 3 rebounds per game.
This Oklahoma State team is not the best in the Big 12 and is on a bit of a losing streak. This team can still play with anyone and even beat this Red Raider team last year in Stillwater. The Red Raiders haven’t won in Stillwater since 2016 and they will be looking to do the same tonight.
Three Keys to Victory:
1. Go at the Cowboys
This Red Raiders team has the size and talent to attack the basket a ton against the Cowboys. The Cowboys don’t have the depth or size to compete with the Red Raiders in the paint. Jarrett Culver should drive the ball at every opportunity and Tariq Owens and Norense Odiase should get increased touches. Getting the Cowboys in foul trouble might force them to go to their bench, something they don’t usually do.
Jarrett Culver...the casual glance to the crowd... pic.twitter.com/nndFHZHAEn— Screen The Screener Podcast (@STheSPodcast) January 29, 2019
2. Dominate the Boards
The Red Raiders have a huge advantage in the paint tonight. Cam McGriff is a great rebounder for the Cowboys and if Norense Odiase and Tariq Owens can keep him at bay, the Red Raiders should have no issue controlling the boards tonight. Giving up too many offensive rebounds could keep the Cowboys in the game and that is something Coach Beard does not want. Odiase and Owens are key to getting this win in Stillwater tonight.
3. Defend the Arc
Oklahoma State has two lights-out shooters from behind the arc. Lindy Waters III and Thomas Dziagwa both shoot around 45% from the three-point line and can get hot at any point. Waters III averages 2 makes in 4.5 attempts per game and Dziagwa makes 3 in 7 attempts per game. They both take shots from outside and it will be important for Matt Mooney and Jarrett Culver to make sure those shots are contested. This team will be at home tonight so I wouldn’t be surprised is some shots went in for them, but giving this team wide open looks is something that could lose you this game.
I see this Red Raider team coming in focused on the goal and leaving with a win. It might be ugly and it might be close at some points but the Red Raiders simply have too much size and talent on their roster. Coach Beard will have this team with their eyes on the prize after getting upset in this building last year. The Cowboys will keep it close early but the Red Raiders pull away late and get the win. Score: Red Raider 69, Cowboys 52.