No. 12 K-State 19-5 (7-4)
After taking on four ranked teams consecutively in conference play, Kansas State’s schedule begins to ease with Texas Tech. Still, it’s not easy to beat any team in the Big 12, especially on the road. When Texas Tech came to Manhattan three weeks ago, the Red Raiders led at halftime. K-State has lost its past three road games but could get back on track Saturday against the struggling Red Raiders.
Texas Tech 12-12 (1-10)
Texas Tech started ranked fifth in the preseason conference poll but is now last in conference standings. Despite its position, the team is still capable of an upset. Just two weeks ago, the Red Raiders beat No. 11 Iowa State in Lubbock. An upset for Tech would likely require a guard to step up in Pop Isaacs’ place. Isaacs led Tech’s scoring in the first K-State matchup but has since been out with an ankle injury.
Matchup to Watch: K-State ball security vs. Red Raider defense
K-State has already proven that it can beat almost anyone, even on the road, after upsetting No. 5 Texas in Austin. For the Red Raiders to be victorious, K-State would likely have to make mistakes. One of the Wildcats’ flaws is ball security, posting the second-worst average in the conference at 14 per game. In addition, K-State’s stars in forward Keyontae Johnson and guard Markquis Nowell both lead the conference in turnovers.
“I’ve got to adjust to what teams throw at me … I turned the ball over way too much,” Nowell said after committing six turnovers against Texas. “They’re trying to keep the ball out of my hands. I’ve just gotta watch film and find ways to be aggressive, but not hurt my team.”
Texas Tech, despite struggling this season, has been known for its defense under head coach Mark Adams. According to KenPom, the Red Raiders had the best defensive efficiency in the country last season. Guard De’Vion Harmon ranks third in the conference with 1.9 steals per game.
Guard Markquis Nowell
Forward Keyontae Johnson
Guard De’Vion Harmon
Forward Kevin Obanor
Prediction: K-State 73-67