Despite finishing dead last (or, if you're a Red Raider fan, finishing 10th out of 10 teams), Texas Tech has improved tremendously over this season. Tonight, we'll find out if it's enough to upset Oklahoma State in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament.
It's a tall order for Billy Gillispie's squad. Despite being short three key players (Le'Bryan Nash with a broken arm, Jean-Paul Olukemi with a knee injury, and Philip Jurick with a torn Achilles' tendon), the Cowboys can be a dangerous team. After all, they still have three-point shooting wind-up toy Keiton Page, who averages 16.8 points and 1.5 steals a game.
Seventh-seeded Oklahoma State went 13-17 overall and 7-11 in Big 12 play. The Cowboys logged some bad losses (Oklahoma, Texas A&M) and some solid wins (Mizzou, Iowa State). They've already beaten Texas Tech twice: once by 8 points and once by 17 points.
To keep that from happening a third time, Texas Tech will need all hands on deck, including Ty Nurse (8.9 points per game), Jaye Crockett (8.7 points per game), Javarez Williams (8.2 points per game), and - of course - the official savior of Texas Tech basketball, Jordan Tolbert (11.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game).
The Red Raiders went 8-22 overall and 1-17 in Big 12 play. Their single conference win was against Oklahoma, although they recently gave Texas an overtime scare.
Both teams are very young. Although Oklahoma State is the more talented team, they've had an up-and-down season (how can the same team beat Mizzou, but lose to A&M?), while Texas Tech has been steadily improving. Keiton Page isn't likely to let the Red Raiders sneak in a win, but it will be fun to watch Tolbert and co. give it their best shot.
The game is at 8:30 CST and airs on the Big 12 Network. The winner faces Mizzou on Thursday.