The No. 25 Texas Tech men’s basketball team will kick off Big 12 with an away game against No. 11 Iowa State at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, in the first game of a three-game stretch against ranked opponents to start the Red Raiders’ new year. 

After a New Year’s day contest against Oklahoma State was cancelled due to COVID-19 complication, the Red Raiders will play the Cyclones in Ames, Iowa before hosting No. 6 Kansas and then taking on No. 1 Baylor in Waco. 

“The Big 12 is as good as it’s ever been,” head basketball coach Mark Adams said. “Lot of great players, great coaches, and we’re really excited about playing … Iowa State’s gonna be a great test for us, playing in Hilton Coliseum, one of the toughest environments to play in.”

Adams will aim to improve to 11-2 with a win, but the Red Raiders will be without junior guards Terrence Shannon Jr (back spasms) and Mylik Wilson (knee) as they recover from injury.

Redshirt-junior guard Kevin McCullar and a pair of super-seniors in forward Bryson Williams and guard Davion Warren have each scored a total of 135 points so far this season.

However, McCullar has done so in two less games and averages 13.5 points per game, the most among players expected to play (Shannon, 14.3 PPG), according to Tech Athletics.

Iowa State’s most recent game was a New Year’s day matchup against top-ranked Baylor, featuring the then-undefeated Cyclones losing to the Bears by a score of 77-72. 

Iowa State held Baylor to their smallest margin of victory so far this season, but lost their 24th straight game against Big 12 opponents after going 1-14 from behind the arc, according to ISU athletics. 

The Cyclones finished last season with a 2-22 overall record and 0-18 in Big 12 play, but new head coach T.J. Otzelberger led Iowa State to a No.8 ranking before the loss to Baylor dropped them down three spots, ending his chances at the best head coaching start in program history. 

Iowa State’s top six scorers so far this season all played at different schools last year, and Adams related their roster turnover to the one experienced by the Red Raiders, who retained only five players from last year’s roster.

“Us and Iowa State are very similar, a lot of D1 transfers, coaching styles are very similar, and they hang their hat on defense like we do. It should be an exciting game,” Adams said.

Iowa State’s leading scorer is a senior guard from Penn State in Izaiah Brockington, averaging 17 points per game to tie the third best in the conference, and ranks second in rebounds at a rate of 8.4 per game according to Big 12 Sports. 

“He’s very, very talented and a guy that we’ve been preparing for,” Adams said of Brockington. “They’ve got a very balanced attack and play seven or eight guys like we do. I think the most important thing for both teams is to take care of the basketball and, for us, is to keep our poise and composure in a very difficult place to play.”

A different transfer led Iowa State in scoring in their loss to Baylor, with junior guard/forward Tristan Enura scoring a career-high 23 points in 28 minutes, the most action so far this season for the former Kansas Jayhawk according to ISU Athletics. 

The Red Raiders and Cyclones will face off at 8 p.m. in the  Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa with the game set to be televised on ESPNU.

For Tech to get a win over their first Big 12 opponent of the season, they’ll have to overcome a team similar to themselves and hand No. 11 Iowa State their 24th consecutive loss in Big 12 play.

UPDATE:

 

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