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Men's Hoops Preview - Kansas State vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

K-State returns to Bramlage with renewed life, hosting a Red Raiders squad that is...well...meh.

Happiness...a common side-effect of winning.
Happiness...a common side-effect of winning.
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas State Wildcats (9-7, 2-1 Big 12) plan to set up shop in the confines of Bramlage Coliseum for a two-game homestand, and begin by hosting arguably the worst team in the Big 12 this year, the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The Red Raiders are coming in off three straight conference losses (vs. Texas, vs. West Virginia, at Kansas), and five of their last six, adding on drops to Loyola Chicago and Houston, with a win against North Texas mixed in for fun.

For K-State fans living under a rock, or those of you that are reading this that aren't part of #EMAW nation, check here for the recap of our biggest feather in a rather empty cap this year, the win at Oklahoma. No, seriously. Go read it.

Know Your Opponent

The Texas Tech Red Raiders (10-6, 0-3 Big 12), well, they try hard. Tubby Smith has this team playing just slightly above average defense. Their offense, nearly all accounts is anemic. Offensively, Texas Tech is sub-250 in TO%, STL%, 3PFG%, and FT%; and are 249th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, and 210th in eFG%.

One bright spot on offense - they're a top-50 team in offensive rebounding percentage. Somewhat expected when you miss as many shots as the Raiders do.

Defensively, Texas Tech has a top-100 team in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, eFG%, TO%, 2PFG%, FT% (not sure how you defend free throws, but whatever), and Block%.

A stat that really stands out? Apparently, Texas Tech is the best team in the country in drawing fouls.

Also of note, the Raiders have one of the most utilized benches in the country (#9, at 43.5% of available minutes), and are ridiculously young across the board. They're also bigger than many teams, averaging over 6'-5" with 7 players on the roster listed at 6'-8" or taller.

Long Story Short: Texas Tech defends, especially inside, but they can't score very effectively. At all.

Keep a close watch on:

Junior guard Devaugntah Williams is pretty much it. Williams is the team leader in scoring (11.1ppg) and assists (2.0apg). If there's one other person that could influence the game, it would be freshman forward Zach Smith, who contributes 5.4ppg, 4.6rpg, and 1.6bpg in just under 25 minutes a game. Freshman guard Justin Gray is a decent ballplayer, but a recent injury has relegated him to street clothes.

Offense/Defense Strategy:

The Red Raiders defend with solid man-to-man defense, introducing the very occasional zone to mix things up. K-State will look to expand on the efficient and pointed offensive movement they exhibited in Norman to get bigs out of position in the middle and find easy buckets. Expect a lot of movement and screening on the perimeter as well, as Texas Tech doesn't defend shots behind the arc exceptionally well.

K-State, of course, will be in its man defense. It's difficult to take an offense that shoots the ball this poorly seriously, but Division I players are D-I players. Sleep on them, and they'll knock you off. I haven't seen them play personally, but would expect some level of the old Frank Martin K-State teams - their best offense is an offensive rebound.

Probable Starters

Kansas State Wildcats:

Nino Williams, 6-5 220 Sr
Thomas Gipson, 6-7 265 Sr
Wesley Iwundu, 6-7 205 So
Marcus Foster, 6-3 210 So
Jevon Thomas, 6-0 185 So

Texas Tech Red Raiders:

F Zach Smith, 6-8 210 Fr
F Norense Odiase, 6-9 265 Fr
G Toddrick Gotcher, 6-4 200 Jr
G Robert Turner, 6-3 180 Sr
G Devaugntah Williams, 6-3 200 Jr

3 Keys To The Game

1. Watch The Fouls

K-State has a tendency to commit a lot of fouls. Texas Tech has a tendency to draw a lot of fouls, and get to the free throw line. A great way to score a road upset in conference play is to score free points from the charity stripe, while the other team's best players sit on the bench. The Wildcats need to keep hands off, play straight-up fundamental defense, help early, and keep the Red Raiders off the line.

2. Wipe The Glass Clean

Offensive rebounds will do nothing but give Texas Tech additional hope. Like avoiding fouling, it's all about getting back to fundamentals. They'll be a bit taller than us, so early, firm position on the boxout will be key, and having players communicate and really pinch the ball when it comes off the rim is important. One shot and out for Tech, and things will go well for us.

3. No Let Down

Use the Oklahoma win as fuel, as momentum. Don't buy the hype that everything is OK - you gotta show up every night if you want to win. This means continuing with the offensive execution. It means keep striving to up the defensive intensity. It means keep their rebounders off the glass. It means good shot selection - find shots through the offense, and don't fall in love with the three. We've got a great spark we can use to build a fire, but both the team and #EMAW needs to turn Bramlage back into the #OctagonOfDoom.

All stats by, or by the respective university's sports information.