The Big 12 Conference race will come down to the final day, and this matchup between Texas Tech and Iowa State will have a lot to do with it. The Big 12 Conference has been wild and crazy all season long, and much of the same should be expected in the final weekend of the regular season. Texas Tech has a shot to wrap up at least a share of the regular season crown with a win in this game, while Iowa State hopes to play the role of spoiler. Iowa State stunned Texas Tech with a dramatic 68-64 victory earlier this season.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders are not only the hottest team in the Big 12; they are one of the hottest teams in the country. The Red Raiders have rattled off eight straight conference wins and come into this game with a record of 13-4. Texas Tech is in a first-place tie with Kansas State but is also playing for a better seed in March. Iowa State looked like a title contender for much of the season, but the Cyclones have lost four of their last five games in conference play. Iowa State sits in fifth place in the Big 12 with a record of 9-8. Iowa State is a 1.5 point favorite over Texas Tech on Saturday.
Texas Tech Refuses To Give Up Points
College basketball has turned into an up and down offensive type game, but that isn’t the way that the Texas Tech Red Raiders play. Texas Tech is one of the best defensive teams in all of college basketball, allowing just 58.2 points per game. The Red Raiders will challenge every shot at the hoop and are averaging close to five blocks per game. Texas Tech has given up less than 66 points in all but one of their last eight victories, and seem to be getting better on defense as the year goes on.
Texas Tech has struggled to score points for much of the season, but they do have an All-American candidate in Jarrett Culver. Culver leads the Red Raiders with 17.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game and is likely headed to the NBA after this season. Texas Tech does shoot the three really well as a team, coming into this game making close to 37 percent of their attempts. The Red Raiders are going to have to score some points at some point, but their defense is usually good enough on most nights.
Iowa State Needs Some Post Play
Iowa State has some of the best young guards in the Big 12 Conference, but they don’t have a ton of inside presence. The Cyclones don’t even have a true center on their roster, and most of their scoring comes from their guards. Iowa State is averaging 77.9 points per game this season, but they shoot a ton of threes per game. Getting open and clean looks against Texas Tech is never an easy task, but it’s the only chance Iowa State has.
Guard Marial Shayok has been the offensive star this season for Iowa State. Shayok leads the team with 18.7 points per game and is shooting close to 40 percent from the three-point line. Freshman guard Talen Horton-Tucker might be the most talented Iowa State player and has chipped in with 12.1 points per night. The Cyclones aren’t going to win this game on defense, so their offense is going to have to score to win.
Cyclones Knock off Texas Tech
Texas Tech is clearly the better team, and they are playing with a ton of confidence entering this game. Iowa State has been struggling of late, but this is the Big 12 Conference, and crazy things have happened all year long. Look for Iowa State to get hot from deep and pull off a huge upset on the road. Take the 1.5 points and bet on Iowa State to upset Texas Tech in the season finale.