Iowa State (13-4) at Texas Tech (8-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 23, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: United Spirit Arena (15,020) -- Lubbock, Texas. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: ISU 10-0, TTU 7-6. Away Record: ISU 2-3, TTU 1-2. Neutral Record: ISU 1-1, TTU 0-0. Conference Record: ISU 3-1, TTU 1-4. Series Record: Iowa State leads, 11-10.
GAME NOTES: The Iowa State Cyclones will try to win their fourth straight Big 12 Conference game on Wednesday night, as they pull into Lubbock to challenge the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Since losing its conference opener in a heartbreaker at nationally-ranked Kansas on Jan. 9 (97-89 in OT), Iowa State has defeated Texas, West Virginia, and most recently TCU last Saturday, 63-50, to move to 3-1 in league play. The Cyclones have been solid most of the season, as they sit with a 13-4 record overall and have won seven of their last eight contests.
Meanwhile, Texas Tech has experienced an opposite trajectory in the Big 12. Since winning its conference opener on Jan. 5 against TCU (62-53), it has lost four in a row, culminating in a blowout defeat at the hands of Oklahoma State last Saturday, 79-45. The hot-and-cold Red Raiders have two winning streaks of three games or more, and two losing streaks that have lasted at least three games, leading to an even 8-8 mark on the year.
Iowa State snapped a five-game losing streak to Texas Tech with a 76-52 win in Lubbock last season, taking an 11-10 lead in the all-time series in the process.
Iowa State played well at both ends of the floor in its 13-point victory over TCU, shooting 50 percent from the field while holding the Horned Frogs to 36.4 percent. Tyrus McGee was the catalyst coming off the bench, shooting 7-of-13 from the field for 16 points to lead all scorers. Melvin Ejim tallied a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, while Will Clyburn (12 points) and Georges Niang (10 points) were also effective. The Cyclones are used to putting together outstanding performances at the offensive end, as they boast the Big 12's top-ranked scoring offense at 80.5 ppg. The balanced effort is paced by Clyburn with 14.0 ppg, and he also grabs 7.4 rpg. McGee (13.0 ppg) is deadly from 3-point land, making good on 48-of-106 from long range (.453). Niang (11.2 ppg) and Ejim (11.1 ppg) are both high-efficiency forwards as each shoots greater than 49 percent from the floor. Korie Lucious adds 10.1 ppg to the mix and dishes out the third-most assists in the conference at 5.5 per contest.
On the road last weekend, Texas Tech put forth perhaps its worst performance of the year in a 34-point loss to Oklahoma State as it shot just 28.3 percent from the field (including 3-of-17 from 3-point range). Jaye Crockett was actually solid in his 24 minutes off the bench, tallying 11 points and seven rebounds, and Jordan Tolbert added 10 points but on just 2-of-6 from the field. Although the Red Raiders have scored 50 points or fewer in three of their last four games, they are typically much stronger on offense (.430 FG percentage, 69.1 ppg). However, they are plagued by a defensive effort that allows an average of 70.9 ppg. Despite starting just one game this season, Crockett is the team's leading scorer at 13.6 ppg, reaching that figure on greater than 52 percent shooting from the field. He also ranks fourth in the conference with 8.3 rpg. While no other player for Tech averages double figures, Dejan Kravic (9.8 ppg), Josh Gray (9.1 ppg) and Tolbert (8.2 ppg) have proven to be solid options at one time or another.
Texas Tech hasn't had much to hang its hat on lately, and it hasn't found much solace at home this season (7-6). Expect the Cyclones to continue their hot streak and blow past the Red Raiders.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iowa State 78, Texas Tech 67
01/23 10:39:35 ET