Big 12 Week 3 Preview: Texas Tech and Kansas

LAWRENCE KS – FEBRUARY 13 Josh Jackson

Depending on Ahmad's conditioning and rustiness - possibly mitigated by his ability to continue practicing these past three months - he figures to deliver an immediate impact when WVU visits No. 8 Texas Tech in the nation's marquee game Saturday. A typical West Virginia team would lose that game, much like what we saw previous year. Last week the Mountaineers went 2-0 with home wins over #7 Oklahoma and Baylor.

The #2 West Virginia Mountaineers (15-1) travel to Lubbock, Texas to take on the #8 Texas Tech Red Raiders (14-2) for the top spot in the Big XII Conference.

The two teams last met on February 18, 2017 when the Red Raiders lost 83-74 in double overtime.

Texas Tech will get a lot of minutes from their bench playing up to ten players. The starting center is junior Norense Odiase, and even though he starts he only sees about 14 minutes per game, Odiase is productive; averaging four points and six rebounds. Their leader is senior Kennan Evans, shooting 49% from the floor and averaging 17 points per game in 26 minutes so far this season. The Red Raiders haven't faced a defense quite like this yet and I think their lack of scorers will be a problem. His presence makes the game plan change tremendously for other teams and that curveball puts them over the top in Lubbock. Sagaba Konate leads in rebounds with 7.5 while Carter tops in assists with 6.8 per game. Lagerald Vick gets the start beside Graham in the backcourt.

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West Virginia will look to keep this mini-run going on Saturday, as they face a TCU (11-5, 2-3 Big 12) squad they knocked out on the road 87-82 to start their Big 12 schedule back on December 28. Esa Ahmad, playing his first game of the season after becoming academically eligible, chipped in 18 points in a reserve role. He can also get hot from three-point range. West Virginia's press can lead to a lot of open threes if it's broken and those are shots that this Kansas team may be able to make. Add in the most consistent offensive player Lamont West, the poise of Jevon Carter and the big plays of Daxter Miles Jr late in the games, I believe the Mountaineers pull away in the final minutes to win the game.

"There was the win over Kansas in Lawrence 10 days ago, but there are shocking losses all the time".

"The thing I've always liked about Esa is he knows how to play", coach Bob Huggins said.

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