In the past year the Big 12 has lost four universities due to conference realignment, while picking up pledges of another two schools. And while I follow all the realignment stuff pretty closely, I can't seem to remember when the conference accepted the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders into the fold. But they must have, right? Why else would the Islanders face their third Big 12 foe of the season tonight when they play the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock?
The Islanders had the distinct pleasure of kicking off the Le'Bryan Nash era at Oklahoma State, in a 32-point blowout loss followed by a 13-point loss at the hands of Texas A&M. And now the 1-3 Islanders are facing a Tech team in the midst of a three game losing streak, so the Red Raiders are ripe for the pickin'.
For Tech to win -- not just tonight, but from here on out -- they need to get more consistent play from leading scorer Ty Nurse. One night Nurse can pour in 29 points, like he did on 9-13 shooting against Troy, or he can go scoreless, without taking a shot, like he did in Tech's most recent loss to Wake Forest.
They also need to see Robert Lewandowski, the lone senior on the team, pull his weight. Through what most people would consider the easiest part of tech schedule, the 6-10 forward is averaging 5.8 points per game, down from 8.5 last season, while grabbing 4.3 boards, off from his 4.8 last year. In fact, if you take away the 17 Lewandowski scored against a big North Texas team, he has contributed 6, 2, 2, 0 and 8 to the Red Raider cause. If he's having difficulty scoring against these porous defenses, he might have a long senior season ahead of him in the paint against Thomas Robinson, Perry Jones III, Ricardo Ratliffe and fellow Big 12 big men.
So while the Islanders have one more game against a future Big 12 conference-mate (December 17 at West Virginia), their run of Big 12 members should result in an 0-3 record. That is as long as Nurse and Lewandowski can play to their potential.