I would argue that when the Texas Tech Red Raiders square off against the Texas A&M Aggies that Tech is in the middle of the toughest conference stretch in the history of the Big 12.
Think about it.
Tech is coming off losses to Kansas and Texas, and now faces A&M, Mizzou and Baylor in their next three games. The Big 12 has four schools nationally ranked, and Tech plays them all consecutively. Throw Baylor in there for good measure and what you have is teams who were picked by the coaches in the preseason to finish 2-6 in the conference. So it isn't like the schedule makers didn't know who they were pitting the Red Raiders against. It's not like any of these schools emerged from the ashes to gain prominence. No. These were the teams who were picked in the top half of the conference, and teams who currently sit up there.
Meanwhile, the Aggies aren't looking at streaks or trends or anything of the nature. They are just hoping to finish a ball game in 40 minutes. After coming off consecutive overtime games, and not so far off a third OT game, the Aggies wish is that the game ends on time (and more realistically that they come out victorious).
At 5-4 in conference, TAMU is one of four schools to have a winning record in Big 12 play. But with five teams sitting at 4-5, the battle for the third and fourth spots in conference, which most certainly guarantees an NCAA bid - and definitely guarantees a day off on the first day of the Big 12 tournament - is up for grabs.
In the history of the league, only three times have teams finished with a top four seed in the conference and NOT made the NCAA tournament (Colorado in 2003, K-State in 2007 and 2009), so placing in the top four would almost assuredly give A&M a ticket to the dance.
The game tips at 12:30 p.m. CT and can be seen on ESPN3.com.