Kansas State has won two straight games in which it handled its opponent but was goaded into several bad fouls, many of which occurred away from the ball. It will look to right the ship and come away with complete win against the Texas Tech Red Raiders tonight in Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats and Raiders have gone in dramatically different directions this year. K-State (22-5, 11-3) is the number 13 team in the AP poll and is tied with KU for first in the league, while Tech (9-16, 2-12) has lost eight straight and is battling to avoid a last-place finish in the Big 12. With a 20 point line for tonight’s game and a rowdy crowd expected to support a Wildcat team that generates more excitement every week, these trends are unlikely to change.
During the teams’ match up earlier this year, Texas Tech played a surprisingly close game despite a lackluster home crowd before K-State eventually prevailed, 68-59. In that game, TT held the Wildcats to only 43 percent shooting while only turning the ball over four times. Ball security will be important again tonight, particularly if Will Spradling is unable to play. Spradling was injured in the first half of Saturday’s game against Texas following a hard shot to his chest. Spradling played through pain to start the second half, but coach Bruce Weber has stated his status is in doubt for tonight.
Should Spradling be unable to play, Rodney McGruder and Angel Rodriguez appear more than willing to step up and fill the scoring hole a Spradling injury creates. The two combined for 36 points against Texas as McGruder recorded another 20 point game in addition to his six rebounds and two steals. Should Spradling be unavailable, it will be interesting to see if Weber is willing to experiment with a bigger starting line up – possibly pairing 6’5″ forward Nino Williams with Jordan Henriquez, while still bringing Thomas Gipson off the bench. (Gipson has thrived in this role recently.) Guard Martavious Irving is averaging 18.5 minutes with 4.6 points per game, and may also see additional playing time. Kansas State is 16-1 at home this year. Game is scheduled to state at 7 pm Central, and will be available on ESPNU.