The Texas Tech Red Raiders (17-9, 8-5) will travel to Ames, Iowa to face the Iowa State Cyclones (11-15, 4-9) in a contest to get a crucial win in Big 12 play. The Red Raiders will be looking to solidify a spot in the NCAA Tournament while the Cyclones will be looking to start a run that might land them a spot in a postseason tournament of some sort.
When these two teams last met up, the Red Raiders won handily by a score of 72-52. This was in a completely different environment as that game was in Lubbock. The Red Raiders will be coming into a hostile place with a fan base looking for a great win over a good team. This should be a good game for both teams and the crowd in Ames is always excellent.
The Cyclones have been dealt a huge blow as their point guard and leading scorer, rebounder, assist-man, and pretty much everything else except for blocks Tyrese Haliburton is out for the season with an injury. They still have a couple of good pieces that will cause fits for the Red Raiders.
Rasir Bolton is currently their leading active scorer. He is averaging 14.6 points per game and has scored in double-digits in their last two games. He also rebounds the ball 3.5 times per game and has 2.7 assists per game. He is a decent three-point shooter as well as he makes 33% of his attempts from outside.
Another one of their guards to watch out for is Prentiss Nixon. He has stepped up his production since Haliburton has gone down with an injury. He has put up 17 and 20 points in the team’s last two games and has taken on a role of his own in Haliburton’s absence. He will be Iowa State’s hottest hand going into this game.
Another Cyclone who has come on as of late is Senior Forward Michael Jacobson. He has put up double-digit games in his last two outings including 21 in the blowout win against Texas. He has also been very good rebounding the ball lately, coming up with 8 against Kansas and 13 against Texas. He has been a presence in the middle the last week.
For the Red Raiders it’s simple, don’t turn the ball over too much and don’t commit silly fouls. Fouling was the main reason this team lost last weekend and if the Red Raiders would have won in Stillwater, they might still be ranked and be a lock for the NCAA Tournament. Since they did not, some still think the Red Raiders have more work to do to get in.
Davide Moretti had a great game last time out and I predict that he will again tomorrow. Kevin McCullar is another name to look out for as he has taken the starting forward job away from Terrence Shannon Jr. and is playing very well of late. If both of these guys have good games, I believe the Red Raiders will be victorious.