Preview: Kansas State at Texas Tech
Kansas State and Texas Tech have four more opportunities to gain momentum heading into the Big 12 tournament, but the Red Raiders have the more difficult path to the end of the regular season. Texas Tech hosts Kansas State on Tuesday riding a three-game losing streak, and faces games against conference leader and eighth-ranked Kansas and No. 17 Texas before the tournament. The Wildcats still have to host No. 19 Iowa State and have dropped two of their past three games.
Kansas State held off the Red Raiders 66-58 in the first matchup Jan. 28. Points figure to be at a premium again; the Red Raiders allow a conference-low 69.3 points per game, while the Wildcats are tied for second at 69.9 points allowed. Texas Tech needs a return to form from leading scorer Jaye Crockett, who has struggled to 16 points combined in his past two games, while Kansas State freshman Marcus Foster is averaging 21.2 points in his past five contests.
ABOUT KANSAS STATE (18-9, 8-6 Big 12): The Wildcats have held 13 opponents to 60 or fewer points, but were shredded by 50.9 percent shooting and 10 3-pointers in an 86-73 loss Saturday at Oklahoma, the second time in three games the Wildcats have allowed 86 or more points. Foster is third in Big 12 action in 3-point shooting at 43.4 percent and averages 16.6 points in conference games. The Wildcats are 6-6 since a 10-game win streak.
ABOUT TEXAS TECH (13-14, 5-9 Big 12): Crockett is 6-for-19 from the field in his past two games, and his six points in Saturdayâs 84-62 loss to Oklahoma State marked just the fourth time he has not reached double figures in scoring. The Red Raiders have not reached 70 points in their past eight games, and allowed 50 points to the Cowboys in the second half Saturday. Jordan Tolbert, who recorded a double-double Saturday with 15 points and 10 rebounds, is 36 points from 1,000 in his career.
1. Kansas State leads the Big 12 in conference play in 3-point defense at 31.2 percent; Texas Tech is second at 31.7 percent.
2. The Wildcats have lost six consecutive road games and are 4-8 away from home.
3. Foster scored two points on 1-of-8 shooting in the earlier matchup with Texas Tech, but Will Spradling scored a season-high 17 points.
PREDICTION: Kansas State 74, Texas Tech 67