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#629 Texas Tech -3.5 vs.
#630 Kansas State 121
Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at 8:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul

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#629 Texas Tech University
#630 Kansas State University
10-5
7-8
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73
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The Texas Tech Red Raiders will travel on the road to Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas on Tuesday evening for a Big 12 Conference showdown versus the Kansas State Wildcats.

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 game

Texas 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 Longhorns

Kansas 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).

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Kansas State has really struggled to score the basketball this season, which makes it tough to trust them at home against an elite defensive team. Texas Tech ranks 11th in the nation in defensive efficiency and 3rd in the conference through three games. The Red Raiders have forced Big 12 teams to turn the ball over 27.1 percent of the time and the Wildcats have coughed up the basketball on 21.9 percent of their offensive possessions during conference play. Since opening the season with a 4-0 record, Kansas State has lost eight of its last 11 games. Take Texas Tech to cover the spread on the road in this Big 12 battle on Tuesday night. 

Prediction: Texas Tech

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These two teams have similar styles. They come into the week ranked among the top-40 defensive teams in the nation and both teams force turnovers at a high rate on defense. Texas Tech has struggled on offense during Big 12 play, scoring just 96.0 points per 100 possessions through their first three conference games. The Red Raiders rank 218th in the country in adjusted tempo and 154th in average possession length on offense. Meanwhile, opposing teams have taken an average of 18.7 seconds to get a shot up against the Wildcats’ defense, which ranks 346th in the country. That should set us up for a slow-paced game between two solid defensive teams that have struggled to score the ball efficiently on offense. Take this Big 12 contest to stay under the projected total on Tuesday night.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.