Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
- Texas Tech Red Raiders (#15): 14-7
- Oklahoma State Cowboys: 14-6
Stakes of the Matchup
Most college basketball games are inconsequential. There are hundreds of teams, and only 68 of them make it to the big dance. To make it to the NCAA tournament, teams must either win their conference or make it as an at-large team. Typically, teams in weaker conferences must win their conference to make the tournament. What makes the Big 12 different is that they are currently ranked as the second-best conference in college basketball. As a result, the Big 12 expects to send several teams to the national championship tournament each year.
Currently the second ranked team in the country Baylor plays in the Big 12. Of the ten teams that play in the “Big 12”, six of them are ranked among the AP top 25 teams. One of those teams the 15th ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders is visiting the unraked Oklahoma State Cowboys. While Oklahoma State is unranked, they received the most votes of any unranked team in the last AP poll. Currently basketball analytics website KenPom rates TTU as the 22nd best team and OSU as the 43th best team. While I see Monday night’s game as a close game, the oddsmakers have determined that Texas Tech should win as they are favored by three and a half points currently on DraftKings.
Currently Texas Tech has a 14-7 overall record while Oklahoma State has a 14-6 record. In conference play, TTU is 6-6 while OSU is 7-6. KenPom projects the Red Raiders to finish with a 7-7 conference record while the Cowboys will finish with an 8-8 conference record. Based on their body of work, both teams in my opinion are evenly matched even if Texas Tech is a slightly better team. Texas Tech appears to be favored based on their national ranking while Oklahoma State remains unranked. In their only meeting this season on January 2nd, OSU beat TTU 82-77 in overtime winning outright as 8.5 point underdogs. The question is whether Oklahoma State can replicate this performance again at home in front of fans.
How Texas Tech and Oklahoma State Match Up
While both teams are evenly matched, both teams play much different styles of offense. Oklahoma State plays at the 23rd fastest tempo in the NCAA as they average 76.2 possessions per game. Texas Tech currently averages only 69.7 possessions per game which is lower than the median college basketball team which averages 71.6 possessions per game. Most importantly the Red Raiders have the second slowest tempo in the Big 12, while the Cowboys are the most up-tempo Big 12 team. OSU is going to look to run the ball up the court all game, while TTU will try to slow down the tempo. Against slow tempo teams, Oklahoma State has tended to control the pace of the game so far this season.
Monday night’s game is going to come down to how well Oklahoma State’s defense does against the Texas Tech offense. According to KenPom, the OSU is 19th in defensive efficiency while TTU is 31st in offensive efficiency. For Oklahoma State to win, they must contain Texas Tech’s offense. This is because OSU’s offense is likely to face trouble against TTU’s stout defense.
Monday night’s game will be much closer than the spread suggests. While I really like Oklahoma State to cover the spread as 3.5 point underdogs, I also like them to win outright as +143 moneyline underdogs. A +143 moneyline implies that Oklahoma State has only a 41.2% chance of winning. KenPom for example gives OSU a 47% chance of winning which is much better than their moneyline odds imply. Texas Tech may be ranked, but Oklahoma State is just as good, and they are playing at home. That is why I like the Cowboys on Monday night.
College Basketball Pick: Oklahoma State +3.5 (-108) (DraftKings) & Oklahoma State Moneyline +143 (DraftKings)