As we prepare for the Texas Tech basketball team’s trip to Manhattan, Kansas tonight, here’s a look at what the Kansas State Wildcats bring to the table.
The Texas Tech basketball team will look to snap a two-game slide tonight when they face Kansas State on the road. But to get back on the right side of the scoreboard will require that the Red Raiders do something they’ve struggled to do in recent years, win in the “Octagon of Doom”, otherwise known as Bramlage Coliseum.
The 12,528-seat home to KSU basketball has been a house of horrors for the Red Raiders for quite some time. In fact, the Red Raiders are just 3-12 in that venue all-time and 4-16 overall in the Little Apple.
Coming in at No. 23 in the latest rankings, the Red Raiders are the first of three-straight ranked opponents KSU will have to deal with. On Saturday, the Cats host No. 12 West Virginia before a trip to Lawrence to face No. 6 Kansas. Thus, tonight’s game might present an early must-win for the home team as they teeter on the verge of a disastrous season.
But the Wildcats are confident in their ability to beat ranked teams at home. According to the KSU website, “since Bralmalge opened in 1988, [the Wildcats have posted] a 38-60 (.388) record against ranked foes, including a 35-57 (.380) mark against ranked Big 12 teams. Those numbers are even better under head coach Bruce Weber, where the Wildcats have tallied a 16-14 (.533) record vs. Top 25 teams. Among those 16 victories are 11 over Top 15 opponents, including No. 1 Oklahoma in 2016 and No. 14 Texas Tech and No. 13 Kansas last season.”
Overall, the Red Raiders are 16-24 in this series. But under Chris Beard, that record is 4-3. Of course, last year these two programs shared the Big 12 regular-season title with each team winning at home.
The game in Manhattan was rather ugly for Tech. In the 58-45 loss, Tech shot just 32.7% and 5-23 from 3-point range on the way to the lowest scoring output of the Beard era thus far.
One other interesting tidbit from that game was the fact that senior forward Tariq Owens was not in the starting lineup for the only time all season. That came on the heels of a performance at Baylor in which his effort did not live up to his head coach’s expectations. He responded with 12 points including two 3-points to join Jarrett Culver (16 points) as the only Red Raiders in double-digits.
That game seemed to be the low point of the 2018-19 season for Texas Tech. The last in a season-long three-game skid, after that putrid showing in Manhattan, many Red Raider fans worried about whether or not their team would even be able to get into the NCAA Tournament.
Sound familiar? After back-to-back losses to Baylor and West Virginia last week in which Tech averaged just 53 points per game, the Red Raiders have lost quite a bit of shine over the last seven days leading many to start fretting over the thought that this year’s team might be on the bubble in March.
A win tonight against the Wildcats would help reassure Red Raider fans and get some of the team’s mojo back on the right track. Although KSU enters this game with a 7-8 record, this is a game that could help flip the mood surrounding the program.
Thus far, the only notable win the Wildcats have secured was a 60-56 triumph in the third game of the year over a UNLV team that is currently 9-9 on the year. Meanwhile, they are 0-3 in Big 12 play with losses to Oklahoma, TCU, and Texas, none of which are considered contenders for the conference crown.
So let’s go inside this year’s KSU team to see just what Red Raider fans might see tonight. As we do, we will see why this is a team that Beard’s team should feel it should beat.