Texas Tech is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday, and thankfully this game is as easy as they come in the Big 12. Kansas State is not great on either end of the floor and they are extremely young as well. They typically start three freshman, and while all three have shown flashes at points, there are still lots of mistakes that occur in any Wildcat game. Bruce Weber has a lot of work to do in getting this squad to reach their potential, and Chris Beard needs to figure out some things with his team as well. Here are the pregame notes:
Kansas State Wildcats (5-6) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (8-3)
Location: United Supermarkets Arena (Lubbock, Texas)
Game time: 6:00 CST
Odds: Texas Tech -16
About Kansas State:
Kenpom Ranking: 153rd
Stats and Storylines
- The numbers say it all. There is not really a single thing that Kansas State does well this year. They are bad defensively despite having a couple seemingly good defenders, they do not shoot well, and their interior ability on offense is pretty bad. They have been in three close games all year and won all three (against sub-190 teams), or else they might be staring at a 2-9 record. They lost to Division II team Fort Hays State, and that game was not even particularly close.
- Stylistically the team is not much fun either. They only have one area where they are top 50 nationally: OREB%. They are top 25 in assist rate as well, but their actual assist numbers are low... because they do not make shots. They shoot threes at a reasonable rate (43% of their total shots), but their actual percentages are worse than Tech’s.
- As previously stated KSU plays three freshman, and they have all shown flashes at various points. Nijel Pack is the best of the bunch, as he is a 6’ guard with solid playmaking and a good shot. Davion Bradford is a legit seven-footer with great inside presence (shooting 80% at the rim), but asking him to be on the perimeter is not a good idea. Selton Miguel is a good POA defender, but his offensive game is fairly limited and his decision making is suspect.
- They played Pack off the ball more in the TCU game, and it seemed to open up the offense. He hit four threes in that game.
- Beyond the freshman it is hard to have much optimism with this program. Mike McGuirl is a pretty good playmaker and an okay defender, but he is a negative shooter and atrocious at the rim (30%), while also not being able to draw many fouls. DaJuan Gordon is a great defender that forces a lot of steals, but his offensive impact has not improved to the degree that KSU fans were hoping, although his on-ball playmaking has improved somewhat.
- KSU’s team defense has been absolutely awful for most of the year. They gave up 100 to Baylor, and have allowed four teams to hit ten or more threes against them. They are also allowing teams to shoot 53% from two point range this year, which is in the bottom 33% nationally. This should be a game where Tech rights the ship on offense.
About Texas Tech:
Kenpom Ranking: 14th
- Tech has the statistical profile of a team that should not have more than one loss. They have shot high quality shots (per SQ) than their opponents in all three losses, and in two of those arguably had the game under control at points in the second half. With that said- there are certainly things that have been concerning as of late.
- Spacing for Tech has been a major concern. At the winter break they were 270th according to the guys at shotquality.com, and their three point rate of 32.1% is 275th in the country.
- Going along with that- Micah Peavy has been extremely quiet in conference play, and unfortunately as I have prophesized at points on my Twitter: I feel like he will be played out of the rotation throughout Big 12 play. This is not a career-defining moment for Peavy, as another summer in Lubbock to refine his handle and shot will do wonders for him. With that said- a wing without any semblance of a jump shot or good playmaking is an obvious liability offensively, and aside from Roosevelt Jones (who was much more advanced as a playmaker), I cannot really think of any of those types of players who received heavy minutes early in their career.
- Tech needs better production out of their primary ball handlers. All three of Kyler Edwards, Mac McClung, and Jamarius Burton are in the bottom half for offensive rating with at least 50% of team minutes played in the Big 12. Burton ranks dead last on that list of players. McClung and Edwards played their best games of the conference season against OSU, but they still need to be better at initiating the offense. Burton is getting to the point analytically where putting Clarence Nadolny or Chibuzo Agbo in the rotation over him might be a reasonable move to make.
- This should be a game for Terrence Shannon to shine. The best wing defender for Kansas State is Dajuan Gordon, but I feel like they will put him on the ball more, which means he will draw more of Kyler Edwards and Mac McClung than the aforementioned Shannon.