Tuesday is a busy night in the Big 12, and it’ll be capped off with a game between the no. 18 Texas Tech Red Raiders and the no. 15 Iowa State Cyclones. Earlier this month, the Cyclones held on for a 51-47 home win over Texas Tech. In the rematch, the Red Raiders are favored by 7.5 points at home, with the over/under set at 127.5 points.
Texas Tech recently put together a three-game winning streak that included wins over Kansas and Baylor. But that came to a screeching halt over the weekend when they suffered a disappointing loss to Kansas State. However, the Red Raiders are still 13-4 overall and half a game off the pace in the crowded Big 12 standings.
As for Iowa State, the Cyclones scored a huge win against Texas over the weekend. That win came on the heels of losing three of four games at the start of conference play. Of course, Iowa State is still just 2-3 in Big 12 play after going 12-1 during the non-conference season.
The Big Three
The Cyclones have been fortunate to avoid any meaningful injuries or absences this season and have worked out a nine-man rotation. However, scoring-wise, Iowa State is only able to rely on the trio of Izaiah Brockington, Gabe Kalscheur, and Tyrese Hunter. Brockington, in particular, has been indispensable, averaging 16.5 points per game, while the Cyclones are getting five assists per game from Hunter, who averages five assists per game.
However, those are the only three players on Iowa State who are averaging more than seven points per game. Forward Aljaz Kunc is an X-factor who scored 13 points in the first game against Texas Tech, although the ISU frontcourt has been generally unreliable this season. Caleb Grill is another X-factor because he’s the team’s best three-point shooter, although his production has been inconsistent at best this season.
The Red Raiders were forced to endure a stretch without top scorers Terrence Shannon and Kevin McCullar earlier this month, although both are back in action. Of course, McCullar has struggled in his last two games, while Shannon scored just two points in his return against Kansas State over the weekend. The Red Raiders desperately need to get both players back up to speed, especially since McCullar leads the team in rebounds, assists, and steals.
On the bright side, Texas Tech has two other players who average double figures in Bryson Williams and Davion Warren. But while Williams has scored 20 points twice in his last four games, Warren has failed to crack double figures in three of his last four games. The Red Raiders also have an X-factor in Kevin Obanor, who has played well at times but struggled to find consistency after transferring from Oral Roberts.
Match-up wise, the Red Raiders have the size and athletes in the frontcourt to trouble a sometimes non-existent Iowa State frontcourt. But it’s hard to back Texas Tech after an abysmal performance over the weekend, even though the Red Raiders are back to full strength. With the Cyclones having excellent guard play, bet on Iowa State to beat the 7.5-point spread.
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