SBN's Big XII Hoops pegs the Washington Huskies as having the best chance of being the first Pac-10 team to earn a win in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series today.
Big 12 / Pac 10 Hardwood Series: Saturday Preview Iowa State, Colorado & Texas Tech in Action - Big 12 Hoops
exas Tech at (22) Washington (3 P.M CT FSN) - This game definitely represents the Pac 10's most obvious choice as an almost certain victory. Texas Tech has to travel to the Pacific Northwest to play a ranked opponent who is looking for revenge after the Red Raiders victory over the Huskies last year. While Washington comes in with a record of 4-2, their losses have been to top ten teams in Kentucky & Michigan State. Washington is led by PG Isaiah Thomas who is super fast and so far is averaging 14.8 points a game. The Huskies can fill it up as they are currently 2nd in the nation averaging 93.7 points a contest. Texas Tech comes into the game with a 5-3 record, if they are to stand a chance in this game they will need their senior leaders, Mike Singletary & John Roberson, to have monster games.
Yet despite the fact that Texas Tech might not be the same caliber as either #6 Kentucky or #11 Michigan State, it's probably worth looking at this game as apart from both those two losses and those dominant early wins against clearly inferior competition.
Although the both teams are led by a guard in scoring, it could be the frontcourt play ends up determining the outcome of this game.
Mike Singletary, F (6-foot-6, 235 lbs., Sr.):
SBN's Texas Tech blog Double T Nation notes that free throw shooting might be an important factor in this game and if so, the player to watch is forward Mike Singletary. In addition to being second on the team in scoring with 12.8 points per game, Singletary has been exceptional at getting himself to the line despite the fact that he's shooting well below his career average from the free throw line at 59.5 percent through their first eight games of this season.
Robert Lewandowski, F (6-foot-10, 256 lbs., Jr.):
This might be another interesting rebounding test for Huskies center Matthew Bryan-Amaning as TTU's Robert Lewandowski has the size to contend with him that many early opponents haven't. In addition to being TTU's most efficient scorer, Lewandowski is also among the team's top offensive rebounders. However, his bigger impact might be on the defensive boards where he has been getting a strong 21.3 percent of the available offensive rebounds this season.
Key statistical battleground: turnovers
While the Huskies certainly have a decided rebounding and scoring efficiency edge, the number to watch might be turnovers.
The Huskies are coming off a defensive effort against Long Beach State that they were dissatisfied with and we've seen what they can do when they raise their defensive intensity to its height. However, it's also worth noting that Texas Tech's biggest strength relative to their opponents has been turnover differential. While TTU doesn't have a Venoy Overton type of defender, Mike Davis and John Roberson have been effective at forcing those turnovers.