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When/where: 11 a.m. Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan.
TV/radio: ESPN2; KKGQ (92.3 FM) in Wichita, KCSP (610 AM) in Kansas City.
About No. 19 Texas Tech (13-3, 3-1 Big 12): The Red Raiders are one of the hottest teams in college basketball. They have defeated Kansas, Baylor and Oklahoma State in consecutive games to climb to the top of the Big 12 standings. It seems they deserve their No. 19 ranking under first-year coach Mark Adams. They play strong defense just like they used to under Chris Beard, ranking fourth nationally in adjusted efficiency, according to Ken Pomeroy. But they are also efficient on offense this year. Terrence Shannon, who is expected to return to the lineup after missing the past seven games, leads a group of four different players who average 10 points per game.
About Kansas State (8-7, 0-4 Big 12): The Wildcats have lost their first four conference games of the season, despite being in position to win all four. They were tied with Oklahoma late in the second half of a 71-69 against the Sooners and they led Texas, West Virginia and TCU in the second half before crumbling in the final minutes. K-State was not at full strength during any of those games, because of COVID issues within its roster. That is expected to change against Texas Tech after Mike McGuirl returns to the lineup. The Wildcats have been getting steady production from Markquis Nowell, Nijel Pack and Mark Smith, but could use more from their supporting cast.
Good luck finding a hotter college basketball team than Texas Tech.
It has been quite a week for the Red Raiders, who trounced No. 9 Kansas 75-67 last Saturday, knocked off No. 1 Baylor 65-62 on Tuesday and then demolished Oklahoma State 78-57 on Thursday.
Anyone who thought Texas Tech was going to disappear after Chris Beard left for Texas was wrong.
The Red Raiders are obvious favorites this weekend against K-State. They play defense at an elite level and are even starting to score at an impressive rate. Plus, the Wildcats are on the opposite end of the heat spectrum having lost four straight games at the start of Big 12 play.
Still, it would be foolish to completely write off K-State in this game. Its four conference losses have come by a combined total of 21 points. Three of them came down to the final play. It’s not like the Wildcats are getting blown out.
This could also be a trap game for Texas Tech. This will be its fourth game in seven days and up next is a battle of ranked teams against Iowa State. Perhaps the Red Raiders will be tired and overlooking the Wildcats.
If that happens, and K-State make a few timely shots instead of coughing up a late lead the Wildcats could pull off a surprising upset.
But the edge still goes to Texas Tech. It has won games while scoring in the 90s. It has won games while scoring in the 50s. That versatility should pay off in a close game.
Texas Tech 65, K-State 64.