by Zack Lambert
#23 Texas Tech at Kansas State
Spread: Kansas State (+3.5)
Time/Location: 8:00 ET, Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan, Kansas
Texas Tech (10-5, 1-2)
After an emotional run to the Final Four and National Championship that resulted in a loss to Virginia, Texas Tech decided to extend Chris Beard’s contract while making him the 3rd highest paid coach in college basketball. Regarding the players from that championship run, only a quarter of the minutes returned and just less than a quarter of the points returned, so Beard had his work cut out for him.
Texas Tech plays a style of basketball that might remind one of their title game opponents, Virginia. Tech is 284th in field goals attempted while forcing an above average number of turnovers and keeping close care of the ball.
The main concern for Tech is their streakiness. Earlier in the year they lost 3 games in a row, starting against Iowa at the Las Vegas Invitational. Currently Tech is sitting one a 2 game losing streak against Baylor and West Virginia. Now, these teams aren’t slouches by any measure, but both games were at home. The totals came out to 109 and 120 points respectively which shows that Tech is vulnerable at their own game.
Kansas State (7-8, 0-3)
Kansas State is a single loss away from matching last season’s loss total, causing quite the stir around Bruce Weber in Manhattan. State sits 318th in PPG despite having the 28th best defense in the country. Only 2 players on the roster are averaging over 10 PPG and only 5 over 5 PPG. The team completes only 41% of their field goals and has on OffRtg of 95.3.
Luckily for Weber, his hard-nosed defensive focus does pay off. Kansas State is 43rd in DefRtg and are consistently in the top 50 in many defensive categories. 4 players are averaging over a steal per game and the team plays great defense without fouling a lot. However Kansas State does turn the ball over somewhat often so the turnover differential isn’t great and makes for even lower scoring games. The only win in the last 6 games for State was a 2 point victory over Tulsa.
Analysis and Pick
Even with the very low total that we’re working with I’m still going to recommend the under. Tech specializes in slowing the game down with their monotonous offense and staggeringly staunch defense. To help that number, Kansas State is terrible on offense and plays good defense. Their home atmosphere will help slow Tech down even more on offense, so take the under for this game.
This Texas Tech team has a ton of experience and Kansas State’s crowd won’t make them crumble. Playing away in college is tough no matter what, but Tech won’t lose control. Kansas State isn’t a good team and Tech will exploit that. Take Texas Tech to cover the spread.