Texas Tech is in Ames today to face a struggling Iowa State team that has yet to win a game in conference play. Despite being 0-4, they have played West Virginia, Baylor, and Texas close after a brutal home loss to Kansas State. The Cyclones have struggled in recent years, finishing in the bottom three of the Big 12 in two of the last three seasons. With that said- this team has a lot of talent and is surprisingly efficient in a couple areas, namely two point shooting (top 40 nationally) and 3pt defense (top 25 nationally). Let’s take a look at the game overview, and then I will break down three things Tech must do to walk out of Ames victorious.
Iowa State Cyclones (2-6) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (9-3)
Location: Hilton Coliseum (Ames, Iowa)
Game time: 3:00 CST
Odds: Texas Tech -8.5
Texas Tech: 15th
Iowa State: 87th
Texas Tech: 14th
Iowa State: 104th
Three key stats:
Iowa State turnovers
Iowa State has been awful at keeping control of the basketball. They have a turnover percentage of 22.6, which is 292nd in the country. Conversely, Texas Tech has been excellent in forcing turnovers and getting steals this year. They make opposing teams turn it over on 27% of possessions, which is the best rate in the Big 12 and third in the country. Rasir Bolton is by far Iowa State’s best playmaker, as he averages over five assists per game, but he struggles with the turnovers and that can be rough when the team has no other efficient playmaking guards.
If Tech can continue forcing turnovers, it will create a lot of transition opportunities. For a team that has struggled at times in a half court offense, that will go a long way towards giving them the points necessary to win.
Texas Tech free throw shooting
Iowa State fouls people. A lot. They have a 39.7% free throw rate against them , which puts them in the bottom quartile nationally, and they do not get to the line much themselves. Texas Tech gets to the line frequently, so in theory we should see a matchup that favors Tech in terms of having a huge free throw disparity. With that said- Tech needs to make their free throws. They are shooting right at 70% for the year, but have had multiple poor games shooting. Being able to capitalize on a huge disparity should go a long way in ensuring Tech is able to produce enough offensively.
Texas Tech assist rate
This is a pretty miniscule stat, but Iowa State has done well at forcing teams like Baylor and Texas to play more isolation basketball than normal. They are top 60 in the lowest opposing assist rates nationally, and against a team like Tech that has struggled with ball movement at times, that is a strength, Tech must move the ball well in this one, not just to have success against Iowa State, but also just to establish some offensive rhythm that has been lacking throughout the year.