Texas Tech has lost eight straight games heading into this weekend, where they finally got back in the win column against LSU. The Red Raiders will now look to pick up their first conference win of the season tonight as they host Iowa State. We’ll preview the game before going over which side I’ll be backing in this one.
Iowa State had been phenomenal in conference play, but they could not pick up a win on Saturday against SEC opponent Missouri. The Cyclones have been solid on defense all season and currently rank 10th in defensive efficiency rating according to KenPom, but Missouri was able to find a lot of success on offense.
The Tigers shot 49% from the field en route to scoring 78 points in the game, the most points the Cyclones have allowed since November 24th. Iowa State’s slow tempo has caused many high-powered BIG12 offenses to score far below their usual average, so they’ll look to get back to that style of play tonight against a Texas Tech team that only managed 50 points the last time these two teams met.
When these two teams played last, the Cyclones scored their highest total of points in a conference game this season with 84, and after scoring only 61 points on Saturday, they’ll look to get back on track offensively. Finding success against Texas Tech a second time will not come easily, with the Red Raiders holding opponents to just 41.3% from the field.
Texas Tech may be winless in conference play, but it can’t be blamed on their defensive effort. Currently, the Red Raiders are ranked 60th in the country in defensive efficiency rating, according to KenPom, and they are fresh of holding LSU to a 37% shooting percentage from the field.
Offensively it will be imperative for the Red Raiders to carry their three-point shooting momentum from Saturday into tonight. Texas Tech shot 61% from three against LSU, and in order to compete with an Iowa State defense allowing an average of just 20 made field goals per game, they will need to shoot well above their season average from three again.
Iowa State can currently be found as -1 point road favorites, and I’ll be taking them for my play in this one. Both schools are high-level defensive teams, but Iowa State holds an edge in that category. The Cyclones are forcing the 3rd most turnovers a game in the country this season, and the last time these two teams met, they forced Texas Tech to have 18 turnovers in the game.
Protecting the ball has been an issue for the Red Raiders this season, and with Iowa State’s slow-paced tempo, the amount of possessions that end with shots is an essential factor that I don’t think Texas Tech will be able to overcome. Iowa State is holding opponents to just 48.2 field goal attempts per game, so unless the Red Raiders can have another outlier shooting game, I don’t think they can do enough offensively to stay in the game.
Offensively I think Iowa State can get back on track tonight, especially with their ability to create efficient looks for each other. The Cyclones are 28th in the league in assists per game, and they ended the last meeting between these two teams with 20 assists. Texas Tech has been good defensively, but they have struggled against teams that move the ball well and are solid offensive-rebounding teams.
Iowa State (-1)