Texas Tech (8-7) at Oklahoma State (11-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 19, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gallagher-Iba Arena (13,611) -- Stillwater, Oklahoma. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: TTU 7-6, OSU 8-1. Away Record: TTU 1-1, OSU 0-3. Neutral Record: TTU 0-0, OSU 3-0. Conference Record: TTU 1-3, OSU 1-2. Series Record: Oklahoma State leads, 38-13.
GAME NOTES: The Oklahoma State Cowboys hope to return to winning as they host the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Gallagher-Iba Arena for a Big 12 Conference matchup.
OSU leads the all-time series with TTU 36-15, including an 18-3 mark in Stillwater. The Cowboys have won the last four meetings, and eight of the last 10.
Travis Ford's Cowboys had an impressive run through their non-conference slate, as they compiled 10 wins including triumphs Tennessee (62-45), NC State (76-56), and South Florida (61-49). During that time, they were defeated by only Gonzaga in a thriller and Virginia Tech by 10 points on Dec. 1. Oklahoma State's success did not carry over into the Big 12, where it has a 1-2 standing after its 77-68 setback at Oklahoma last Saturday.
Chris Walker's first year as a head coach at Texas Tech seems to be getting continuously tougher. The Red Raiders beat TCU by nine in their Big 12 opener, but their 81-63 loss to Oklahoma on Wednesday was their third straight double- digit setback since downing the Horned Frogs. Texas Tech is just one game above .500 overall and has no quality wins to its credit. The Red Raiders can play an up-and-down game as indicated by their scoring offense of 70.7 ppg, but their allowed average of 70.4 ppg needs to be reduced.
TTU will struggle to contain the Cowboys' dynamic backcourt of Markel Brown and Marcus Smart. Brown has shown drastic improvement in 2012-13. The 6-foot-3 junior elevated his scoring average by 4.3 points to lead the squad with 14.8 ppg. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Smart's freshman campaign is going strong. He is just behind Brown in the scoring column with 14 ppg, and he leads the Cowboys in assists (70) and steals (42). Philip Jurick is the top rebounder with 7.2 per contest and Le'Bryan Nash has a habit of exploding for gamebreaking performances on occasion. OSU should be able to turn things around if it continues to lead the Big 12 in free throw percentage (.763), while ranking second in turnover margin (2.20).
The Red Raiders will counter Nash with their junior forward, Jaye Crockett, who posts team-highs of 13.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per tilt off the bench. Crockett notched a double-double of 11 points and 10 boards in TTU's loss to the Sooners, while Dejan Kravic netted a team-high 20 points. Kravic's strong showing pushed his scoring average to 10.2 per game, but he is the only player on the team other than Crockett in double-digits.
Although both of these teams produce just over 70 points per outing, Oklahoma State is a much more sound team on the defensive end. The Cowboys have an x- factor coming off the bench in Phil Forte, who is a sniper from beyond the arc. His presence on the floor gives OSU too many options for TTU to handle.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oklahoma State 77, Texas Tech 66
01/19 10:37:31 ET