Texas Tech basketball coach Tubby Smith, along with players Dusty Hannahs and Robert Turner, speak…
Another Wild Night at USA?
Where: United Spirit Arena, Lubbock, Texas
When: 6 p.m. (CT), Tuesday
TV: ESPN2, Suddenlink (230) U-Verse (606) DirecTV (209) Dish (144)
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network from Learfield Sports
The Matchup: If there's any team in the Big 12 that reflects a mirror image of Texas Tech, it's the Kansas State Wildcats. Like the Red Raiders, the Wildcats are not burdened with a collection of lottery picks. And like Texas Tech, KSU does it with defense and rebounding rather than with high test offense.
Just as the Red Raiders are plus-three in rebounding margin, the Wildcats are plus-two. Just as Tech limits its opponents to a low shooting percentage, so K-State holds its foes to 40 percent from the floor and 29 percent from three. Kansas State's offensive output, however, is nothing spectacular as the Wildcats shoot only 44 and 33 percent themselves and average a modest 69 points per contest. On the season, K-State has 95 more assists than turnovers, however, which is pretty good. The Wildcats have only one true road victory and that was over TCU.
Similar to Tech, which has three main weapons in Jaye Crockett, Jordan Tolbert and Robert Turner, so KSU lives and dies with Marcus Foster, Thomas Gipson and Shane Southwell. Foster, the frosh from Wichita Falls, averages an amazing 15 points per game, grabs four boards and dishes out over two assists per outing. Gipson, whose father played for the University of Texas, averages 12 and six, while Southwell is good for 10 points, five rebounds and three assists per contest.
Texas Tech is on a series of three-game streaks right now. After losing three in a row to West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kansas State, the Red Raiders won three consecutively over TCU, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. Tech followed that up with three Ls against Iowa State, Kansas and Oklahoma State. History says the Red Raiders will start another winning steak when the Wildcats come to town. But to do so, Tech will have to break an eight-game losing streak to the program from the Little Apple.
The Red Raiders will go to battle with three players who average double figures scoring in Jaye Crockett (15 ppg), Jordan Tolbert (11 ppg), and Robert Turner (10 ppg). Crockett is Tech's leading rebounder with seven boards per outing, while Turner's three assists per game leads Tech in that category.
The Red Raiders outshoot their opponents from the field, 46 to 44 percent, but trail from distance, 34 to 33 percent.
Tech Player to Watch: After a period of dormancy, forward Jordan Tolbert has been erupting a bit as of late. Tolbert scored 15 points and pulled down 10 caroms in the loss to Oklahoma State, scored 16, pulled down six against Kansas, and was good for 10 and nine against Iowa State.
Kansas State Player to Watch: Tech may long regret letting Marcus Foster get away. Although the Wildcats fell hard to Oklahoma in their last game, Foster was a very bright spot with 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting.
Notable: Texas Tech is pulling out all the stops in trying to break student attendance records. There will be 30 give-aways of various sorts as Tech hopes to lure at least 10,000 students to the United Spirit Arena.
Quotable: "We've got a quick turnaround. We've got Kansas State on Tuesday. There's no time to dwell on this loss. It's going to hurt for now, but as far as tomorrow, it's in the past." —Tech point guard Robert Turner
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