Texas Tech’s national title defense hasn’t gone exactly as planned. The Red Raiders have won just one of their first six games against quality opponents, so it might be tough for them to get back to the Big Dance this year. Texas Tech’s non-conference schedule ranked 315th in the country in overall strength, and given the lack of quality victories, it will likely need an automatic bid to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Can the Red Raiders get back on the winning track against the Wildcats on Tuesday night?
Red Raiders drop second straight conference gameTexas Tech dropped its second straight conference game on Saturday, coming up short on the road against West Virginia 66-54. Davide Moretti was the lone Red Raiders player in double-figures with 16 points, as Texas Tech shot just 32.8 percent from the floor and 6-for-28 from 3-point range in the loss.
Chris Beard’s squad comes into the week slotted at No. 27 in the latest KenPom rankings after suffering back-to-back Big 12 losses. Texas Tech has scored 104.3 points per 100 possessions for the season (94th in the NCAA) but that number has dipped all the way down to 94.0 points per 100 possessions (6th in the Big 12) through their first three conference games. The Red Raiders aren’t afraid to share the sugar on offense and they’ve assisted on a healthy 66.1 percent of their made field goal attempts on the year (6th in the NCAA). Texas Tech ranks outside the top-100 in several major offensive categories and those numbers might look even worse had the Red Raiders faced better opponents during their non-conference schedule.
Instead, Texas Tech relies on its defense to get stops and stay in games. The Red Raiders have limited opponents to just 87.1 points per 100 possessions (11th in the NCAA) while forcing them to turn the ball over 23.4 percent of the time (24th in the NCAA). Opposing teams own an effective field goal percentage of just 45.6 percent versus the Red Raiders’ defense (57th in the NCAA), including just 43.5 percent from 2-point range (29th in the NCAA).
Wildcats continue freefall with loss to LonghornsKansas State fell to 0-3 in Big 12 Conference play on Saturday with a 64-50 loss on the road against the Texas Longhorns. Cartier Diarra was the only Wildcats player to score in double-figures on the night, finishing with 14 points. Kansas State shot just 37 percent from the field and turned the ball over 18 times to remain winless in conference play.
Bruce Weber’s squad enters Tuesday’s matchup ranked No. 96 in the latest KenPom rankings after dropping eight of their last 11 games. The Wildcats have scored only 98.8 points per 100 possessions (202nd in the NCAA) for the season while turning the ball over 21.1 percent of the time (274th in the NCAA). Through 15 games, they sport an effective field goal percentage of only 48.1 percent (225th in the NCAA) and have shot a paltry 65.8 percent from the free-throw line as a team during that span (295th in the NCAA).
On defense, Weber’s squad relies on forcing turnovers to get stops but they’ve been getting torched from beyond the arc in conference play. Kansas State has limited opponents to just 91.6 points per 100 possessions (38th in the NCAA) and they’ve forced teams to turn the ball over 24.9 percent of the time (12th in the NCAA). However, Big 12 opponents have shot a red-hot 34.2 percent from deep against the Wildcats’ defense through three contests (9th in the Big 12).
- Wildcats are 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 games following an ATS loss.
- Wildcats are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 games overall.
- Wildcats are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.