Texas Tech at Iowa State men’s basketball: Game preview and prediction


Iowa State (18-5, 6-5) just can’t catch a break. Going into the second half the Big 12 season, the Cyclones thought they’d be able to succeed against a weaker slate in conference play.

Not so much.

West Virginia is hurling toward an NCAA tournament bid after dropping 102 points on ISU, and now Texas Tech (13-11, 5-6) comes into Ames after sweeping both Oklahoma schools in the past week.

Want a day off in college basketball? Don’t play in the Big 12 conference.

Jan 4, 2014; Lubbock, TX, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Naz Long (15) drives to the basket against Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Robert Turner (14) in the second half at United Spirit Arena. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech Red Raiders vs (11)Iowa State Cyclones

James H. Hilton Coliseum | Ames, Iowa
Saturday, February 15th, 2014
Tip-off: 12:45 PM CT | TV: Big 12 Network (affiliate list)

Texas Tech is mediocre when it comes to scoring (71.6 points per game, 172nd nationally), they aren’t that competitive on the glass (33.4 rebounds per game, 262nd nationally) and they don’t move the ball particularly well (12 assists per game, 240th nationally). Even with all of that, they have won their last three games after beating TCU for the second time and then defeating the pair of Oklahoma schools.

The question is, how much of that is thanks to a backloaded schedule? It’s prove-it time for the Red Raiders, who still have to face Kansas twice and a road game at Baylor is looking like the easiest one left on the schedule.

What’s factored into TTU’s success is efficiency; part of that is due to being the worst team in the Big 12 when it comes to getting possessions (averaging 64.8 per game), but they are making 46.6 percent of their shots (ranks 65th nationally).

Series notes

Iowa State holds a 13-11 record over Texas Tech, and the Red Raiders have only won three times in their 11 visits to Ames. The Cyclones have smoked them in their previous two visits at Hilton Coliseum, by 20 in 2013 and 18 in 2012.

ISU held off a furious comeback by TTU in their last meeting in Lubbock, eventually winning 73-62.

What to watch for

Even though Texas Tech doesn’t have many possessions, they also limit the amount of them for their opponents. The Red Raiders are ranked at the top of the conference in possessions per 40 minutes (64.8) and field goal attempts (78th nationally).

That all leads to opponents struggling with rebounds on both sides of the court. Opponents average 29.6 total rebounds and also foul frequently (18.4 per game). Essentially, their defense tries to make opponents play as bad as them, with the defensive numbers mirroring their offense.

Iowa State can’t fall into that trap. It’s very important for them to control the tempo at home, creating a fast-paced game. Obviously, making shots is incredibly important, but players like Georges Niang and Melvin Ejim can’t fall into foul trouble if they start getting flustered on the glass.

[Also see: 5 players to watch during TTU-ISU]


Tempo is a huge part of this matchup, and unfortunately for Texas Tech, it will be hard to control inside Hilton Coliseum. The Red Raiders must slow the game down, limit easy 3-point attempts for the Cyclones, and avoid lots of second-chance opportunities.

What plays in favor of Texas Tech is rebounding, and they even won the battle 37-34 in the previous meeting. But as long as Iowa State limits Jaye Crockett on the glass and Dejan Kravic again can’t get things going, they should be able to keep this game moving up and down, giving them the firm advantage at home.

ISU 80, TTU 71 (Odds N/A)