LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech has risen to No. 15 in the Associated Press Top-25 Poll and USA TODAY Coaches Poll and is at No. 12 in the latest NCAA NET Rankings after two double-digit conference wins last week.
The Red Raiders (19-5, 7-4 Big 12) improved to 13-1 at home with an 81-50 win over West Virginia last Monday and to 3-3 on the road in Big 12 play with a 66-54 victory over Oklahoma on Saturday in Norman. TTU, which plays at Oklahoma State on Wednesday and then hosts Baylor at 1 p.m. on Saturday, was ranked No. 15 last week and has been ranked as high as No. 8 in the Week 10 and 11 AP Top-25 this season. The team has now been ranked in 12 straight polls after starting the season unranked.
Along with the national polls, Texas Tech continues to lead the nation in defense by limiting opponents to 36.2 percent shooting and is third by holding teams to 57.3 points per game and fifth in 3-point defense (27.3%). The Red Raiders are second in the Big 12 with 4.9 blocks per game (23rd nationally) and with 7.4 steals per game. Tech has 178 total steals this season which leads the conference and is 72nd nationally while its 2.9 turnover margin is second. Individually, Tariq Owens leads the Big 12 and is 10th in the country with 59 blocked shots and Matt Mooney is second in the conference with 1.79 steals per game. Jarrett Culver is currently third in the Big 12 in scoring (17.6 ppg.) and fourth with 90 total assists. Owens' 59 blocks is currently the fourth most in a season by a Red Raider behind only Tony Battie who set the single-season record with 71 blocks in the 1996-97 season, Brodney Kennard who had 69 blocks in 1999-2000 and Battie who is third on the list with 68 blocks in the 1995-96 campaign.
Tennessee (22-1) is the top-ranked team in the nation for the fourth straight week, followed by Duke (21-2), Gonzaga (23-2), Virginia (20-2) and Kentucky (20-3) to round out this week's top-5. Kansas comes in one spot ahead of the Red Raiders at No. 14 with an 18-6 overall record after falling 74-67 at Kansas State last Tuesday in Manhattan, Kansas before earning an 84-72 win over Oklahoma State on Saturday in Lawrence. The Wildcats returned to the national rankings at No. 18 after their win over KU during the week and then a 70-63 victory at Baylor on Saturday. Iowa State (18-6) is at No. 23 this week to give the Big 12 four ranked teams in the poll. Virginia currently leads the nation by holding opponents to 54.1 points per game, while Michigan is just ahead of Tech by limiting its opponents 57.1 points per game.
The Red Raiders will take on Oklahoma State at 8 p.m. on Wednesday in Stillwater, Oklahoma before hosting Baylor at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the United Supermarkets Arena. TTU and OSU will play for the first time this season, while the Bears earned a 73-62 win over the Red Raiders back on Jan. 19 in Waco in the first meeting.