In today’s showdown between the Texas Tech basketball team and Oklahoma State, these matchups are likely to be critical in the outcome.
The Big 12 grind is here for real. Sure, the Texas Tech basketball team has already gone through two rounds of the annual 18-round conference gauntlet but now, the remainder of the regular season will be a Big 12 battle royale (except for the Big 12/SEC Challenge game at LSU).
Today, Tech is set to host Oklahoma State in a game that the ESPN.com matchup predictor gives Tech an 87.1% chance of winning. But don’t be fooled, no game in this conference is to be taken for granted.
It will be interesting to see if Tech has an edge in crispness and execution early in this game. That’s because the Cowboys will be playing for the first time since losing to Texas on December 20. In fact, this will be the second game in a row that has seen Tech take on an opponent coming off of an extended break as Tuesday’s foe, Incarnate Word, had not played a game since the 5th of December prior to coming to Lubbock.
Regardless, Mike Boynton’s OSU team is going to be hungry to beat their first ranked team of the season and end a two-game losing streak, both of which were Big 12 games. And like Tech, OSU’s two pre-Christmans conference contests were nail-biters.
Against TCU in Stillwater, the Cowboys fell 77-76 to open conference play. In that contest, the Frogs took the lead with just eight seconds to play and the Cowboys were unable to respond on their final possession. Sounds quite a bit like Tech’s one-point home loss to Kansas, doesn’t it?
Meanwhile, in Austin, OSU fell 77-74 in a game that saw the Longhorns hit four late free-throws to stave off an OK State comeback attempt. Sounds quite a bit like Tech’s win over Oklahoma, doesn’t it?
Thus, don’t let the fact that the Cowboys are 0-2 in conference action mislead you. This is a dangerous OSU team that has enough talent to come into Lubbock and pull the upset today. After all, the Pokes have already won at Marquette and at Wichita State this year.
However, the Red Raiders have won the last three editions of this rivalry to be played at United Supermarkets Arena. That includes last year’s 85-50 laugher. But the previous two games between these teams in the 806 went down to the wire as both were decided by five points of less.
So let’s go inside this contest and look at the individual matchups that will likely be critical in determining the winner. And we will begin with the marquee showdown of future NBA Draft picks.
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