Texas Tech (14-17) vs. Oklahoma State (20-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 12, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sprint Center (18,555) -- Kansas City, Missouri. Television: Big 12 Network, ESPN3.com. Home Record: Texas Tech 11-6, OSU 13-3. Away Record: Texas Tech 2-10, OSU 3-7. Neutral Record: Texas Tech 1-1, OSU 4-1. Conference Record: Texas Tech 6-12, OSU 8-10. Series Record: Oklahoma State leads, 39-16.
GAME NOTES: The 18th annual Big 12 Conference Tournament gets underway in Kansas City on Wednesday, with one of the first-round matchups pitting the Texas Tech Red Raiders against the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Oklahoma State, which has won this tournament twice before, but not since 2005, is the eighth seed in the event this time around. The Cowboys dominated in non-conference play, winning 12 of the first 13 games on the schedule in fact. However, in league play the squad was forced to muddle through a seven- game slide and eventually closed out the regular season with an 85-81 overtime loss to Iowa State last Saturday.
Meanwhile, the ninth-seeded Red Raiders enter the postseason three games under .500 overall and sporting a record of only 6-10 in league action. Texas Tech appeared to be heading toward a seventh straight setback on Saturday, but the team managed to slip by Texas in Lubbock by a score of 59-53.
As far as this tournament is concerted, the Red Raiders have never taken home the title, although they did match up against this same Oklahoma State program in the championship round back in 2005, coming up short in a 72-68 final.
OSU owns a 39-16 advantage in the all-time series between the programs and is 5-1 when the squads meet in this particular tournament. The Cowboys have taken all but one of the last eight encounters, including an 84-62 blowout victory in the most recent battle late last month.
The winner of this contest will be back in action in less than 24 hours, taking on top-seeded Kansas in the quarterfinals.
Texas Tech is a squad that registered 68.6 ppg overall during the regular season, but in league play that number dropped to 64.5 ppg as Jaye Crockett turned out to be the lone double-digit scorer, on the average, in those 18 decisions with his 13.8 ppg. On the season overall, Crockett accounted for 13.7 ppg, followed by Jordan Tolbert with 10.9 ppg as the pair also combined to clear more than 12 rebounds per game in order to give the squad a slight advantage on the glass over the competition (plus 2.8 rpg).
The key figure on the OSU roster this season has been Marcus Smart, or at least he's the one who has drawn the most attention, particularly following that issue he had with shoving a fan that earned him a suspension. He led the program in scoring with 17.9 ppg and was first in the passing department with 131 assists, not to mention making 75 steals, but the Cowboys are so much more than just Smart these days. Add Markel Brown to the mix and you have another potent scorer (17.2 ppg) who can get teammates involved (94 assists) and clean the glass (5.6 rpg), while Le'Bryan Nash and Phil Forte pitch in with another 14.2 ppg and 13.2 ppg for a group that generates 80.7 ppg on the campaign.
As long as all the key performers put forth their best efforts for the Cowboys, there's no reason to think Oklahoma State can't handle the Red Raiders with ease tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oklahoma State 79, Texas Tech 63
03/12 10:35:40 ET