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One game stands between Texas Tech and its first Big 12 title

The toughest finale belongs to the Red Raiders, who will have to play their best against a very capable Cyclone team

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Following their first sweep of Texas since 1996, No. 8 Texas Tech is in the position to clinch its first-ever Big 12 Conference Championship on Saturday with a win. The difficulty of that proposition? The victory is going to have to come against the only team to beat the Red Raiders in Lubbock this year: Iowa State. In their house. On Senior night. (storm emoji)

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech (25-5, 13-4 Big 12) is tied with Kansas State (23-7, 13-4 Big 12) on the top of the conference standings coming into the last day of competition. Currently on a program-best eight-game conference winning streak, the Red Raiders are as close as they have ever been to a conference championship in the Big 12 and first since 1996 in the Southwest Conference. Tech is also looking to shake off a seven-game losing streak at Iowa State with their last win coming in 2011. Iowa State’s coach, Steve Prohm, is 5-2 against Texas Tech and 5-1 against Coach Beard.

Iowa State (20-10, 9-8 Big 12) is looking to stop the bleeding of dropping four of their last five games in time for Senior night. With a number of issues with team-chemistry as well as mounting injuries, Coach Prohm is going to be coaching his best to put a positive light on the ending of this regular-season. Fortunately the Cyclones play well at home. This season they currently are 12-3 while in the Hilton Colosseum. Coach Beard has made it clear that Tech is going to have to play its best game if they want to stay in the fight of the Big 12 race, and it’s largely due to the simple equation:

Prohm + Hilton = not a walk in the park.

Kenpom currently has Texas Tech 7th overall with an adjusted offensive efficiency of 37 and an adjusted defensive efficiency of 1. Iowa State, contrarily, is ranked 18th overall with an adjusted offensive efficiency of 10 and an adjusted defensive efficiency. Now, with Marial Shayok being doubtful for tomorrow’s match up, it is egregious to expect Iowa State to be it’s usual offensive machine. In their past few games they’ve been able to score around 70 points but it was against teams like West Virginia (127th adjusted D), Texas (44th adjD), and Oklahoma (21st adjD). The differences between a twenty-first ranked defense and the best defense in the nation is a large margin.

Expect Coach Beard to lean on his teams’ defensive prowess when engaging a banged up Iowa State team in their arena. It’s never a smart decision to underestimate any team in the Big 12, much less a Cyclones team that at one point was picked to win the conference. On the other side of the court Coach Prohm will expect his team (seniors especially) to step up for the last home game of the regular season. It’s unsure whether Marial Shayok or Weiler-Babb will play in the final Big 12 game, but regardless Prohm needs to have the Hilton rocking and the players ready to go. Despite what pundits believe, Texas Tech is not in any lull with the chance of their first Big 12 title on the line

Final prediction: Texas Tech 65, Iowa State 57


Coach Beard on Iowa State:

Texas Tech vs Iowa State by the numbers:

Fireside Chat: