Texas Tech has righted the ship winning Four of its last five Games to find itself in the Big 12 hunt, level with Kansas, though two Games behind leaders Kansas State. With three home Games following the trip to Oklahoma State, this is a perfect time for the Red Raiders to edge closer. It’s a different situation for the Cowboys, who have had some issues in the Big 12, losing their last six, including three at home. They’ve been competitive in some Games, but haven’t done enough to get wins.
Neither one of these teams is good on the offensive end, but the difference is that Tech leads the Conference in terms of defensive efficiency, while OK State is last. That’s why this Game is likely to be around 120 total points, similar to Tech’s last win at Oklahoma (66-54). To stay competitive, OK State’s defense has to play better, otherwise there may not be a chance. The good news for OK State backers is that Texas Tech’s offense has had issues on the road, failing to reach 70 points in all six of its road Games.
As for the Red Raiders, they’re still winning Games even though their best player, Jarrett Culver, is in a bit of a scoring funk, shooting just 2-for-18 from three in the last Four Games. He does a little bit of everything else with 17.6 points, 6.3 boards and 3.8 assists per Game, but his lack of shooting has opened for other guys to produce. The backcOurt duo of Matt Mooney and Davide Moretti has been the biggest help, both reaching double digits more often than not with Moretti the scorer and Mooney more of the passer. That would be the biggest worry for the Pokes, but Brandone Francis has stepped up with 27 points in the last two Games and that’s added another dimension to the Tech offense.
Oklahoma State doesn’t do one thing well defensively so a more balanced Texas Tech team won’t help matters. Guards Isaac Likekele and Thomas Dziagwa have a small size advantage in the backcOurt, but that usually isn’t a factor. It also doesn’t help that Culver could lock down one of OK State’s best players in Lindy Waters (12.2 ppg) or Cameron McGriff (13.4 ppg). If one of those guys is taken out of the Game by Culver that’s another issue for the Pokes since they don’t have many offensive threats. Likekele has 31 points in the last two Games and Yor Anei dropped 20 points recently, but that still hasn’t resulted in a win. Unfortunately for the freshman Anei, he’ll likely have an issue against the bigger Norense Odiase or even Tariq Owens.
As with any low-scoring Game, the underdog always has a chance, but betting on Oklahoma State isn’t easy. The Cowboys haven’t looked any better at home so that’s another problem. With the Red Raiders playing a little more team ball as Culver has struggled with his shot, that’s only made them a better team and if they continue that in this Game, the result shouldn’t be much different than the recent win at Oklahoma.
Our Pick – Oklahoma St +7