This week we welcome the Red Raiders of Texas Tech to the MVP draft for the first time this season.
First off, for those who haven’t seen the MVP Draft before, here are the rules: Each participant will pick ONE PLAYER from EACH TEAM they think will perform the best. They will then pick a third player from either team as their wild card pick. Each correct pick is worth one point. We will tally the points throughout the season.
Before we get to this week’s picks, let’s tally up last week’s points.
OSU: Jawun Evans l OU:
Khadeem Lattin | Wild Card: The Fans (OSU)
Leyton Hammonds l OU: Kameron McGusty | Wild Card: Mitchell Solomon (OSU)
OSU: Jawun Evans l OU: Rashard Odomes | Wild Card:
Leyton Hammonds (OSU)
Opponent: Jack Shields
OSU: Jawun Evans l OU:
Kameron McGusty | Wild Card: Phil Forte (OSU)
Oklahoma State: This one was easy. Evans scored 16 straight points in the final 17 minutes of the game to help OSU overcome a career shooting night for the Sooners. He put the team on his back and carried them to a win. Evans ended the game with 27 points, nine assists, four rebounds, and just one turnover.
Oklahoma: First, let me just say, there are plenty of players for OU that played out of their minds in this game. Odomes though, a career-high 29 points on 10-14 shooting, 10 rebounds, three assists, and three steals. It seemed like every time OSU got close to making a run in the second half, Odomes would hit a shot. Everyone for the Sooners played well, but it was Odomes who helped them nearly pull off the upset.
Wild Card: This was actually a difficult pick. Forte was big for OSU in the first half. Solomon sealed the game at the end knocking down his free throws and grabbing the game winning rebound. The fans? Underwood said it himself, OSU doesn’t win the game without them
"We wouldn't with this game tonight without this crowd, this student section. The rowdy was back tonight." -- Coach Underwood #OKState— Mike (@StuffMikeDoes) February 19, 2017
I’m going with Solomon. Going 6-6 from the line, including the final two was huge. Those last two free throws gave OSU a two-score cushion. Then he nabbed the rebound on OU’s final shot attempt, ending the game. I think Solomon deserves some credit for the continued improvement he’s shown through the season. He gets the point.
Sam - 16
Sumer/Phillip - 15
Tyler - 13
Opponent - 12
There are only two regular-season drafts left. Things are staying close as we get to the end.
For the first time this season, we welcome the Red Raiders of Texas Tech to the draft.
The Red Raiders come into the contest losers in four of their last five, but they’ve been close. They lost by two in overtime Monday to Iowa State and by nine in double overtime at West Virginia last Saturday. Before a win over Baylor, Tech lost by one point to both TCU and Kansas. So despite the record, this is still a talented Tech team that just can’t seem to get over the hump. That, along with their March Madness bubble close to popping, will make this Red Raider team extremely motivated for a win today.
So, let’s all pull on our Hamburglar masks and get to pickin!
OSU: Jeffrey Carroll l TTU: Zach Smith | Wild Card: Phil Forte (OSU)
Oklahoma State: The junior had a rough game against Kansas State, but against the Red Raiders last time, he was 4-5 from behind the arc and dropped 25 points to lead all scorers. Carroll seems to have taken a back seat during the Evans re-emergence, but I think he is able to duplicate him performance from earlier this season in front of a rowdy GIA.
Texas Tech: If you haven't figured it out, I'm a big fan of post players. Nobody from the Texas Tech squad played particularly well when they got routed by the Cowboys in Lubbock, but lately, Smith has been playing well. He has secured three double-doubles in the last five games, and has scored double digits in all but one during that stretch. If the Cowboy bigs get into foul trouble early, Smith could get his fourth double-double this month, and his ninth on the season.
Wild Card: Forte and Carroll were held to 10 points combined against the Wildcats. I don't see that happening again. Last time against TTU, Forte dropped 21 points, including 4-4 from deep. Texas Tech is 249th in 3-point defense, so expect the Cowboys to get some open looks and pull the trigger early and often.
OSU: Jawun Evans l TTU: Zach Smith | Wild Card: Leyton Hammonds (OSU)
Oklahoma State: Jawun Evans is still arguably the most consistent player this season for the Pokes. With the conference season winding down, look for Evans to step up big to help punch the Cowboys ticket to the Big Dance. Evans is coming off back-to-back 20 point games, against Oklahoma and K-State. More impressively, Evans has had 30 assists in the last three games with only six turnovers.
Texas Tech: Zach Smith is a 6’8 forward from Plano, Texas, averaging 13 points (second on team) and leads the team with seven rebounds a game. The last time these two met, Smith went for 11 points and three rebounds in a 83-64 loss in Lubbock. Smith is a player that will play on the perimeter, and isn’t afraid to shoot the 3-pointer, which will force the OSU bigs to step out and guard. The Red Raiders only have three guys that handle most of the scoring load, so look for Smith to be a factor offensively.
Wild Card: Hammonds is coming off arguably his best game of the season against K-State, where he finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds. That was good for his first double-double in Big 12 play and second of the season. Hammonds may have found his grove offensively, notching 21 against TCU and 11 against Texas. He has also been of the leading rebounders for the Pokes as of late. Hammonds is a great role player that compliments Evans and Carroll on offense.
OSU: Jeffrey Carroll l TTU: Keenan Evans | Wild Card: Jawun Evans (OSU)
Oklahoma State: Carroll went off against Texas Tech when the two teams met in Lubbock last month. With this game in Stillwater, I expect the same thing. Plus, Evans has been playing his best in the second half of games, putting the first half on the shoulders of Carroll and Forte. Carroll has not disappointed in carrying that responsibility. I think that continues here.
Texas Tech: Evans has been “the man” for Tech as of late, going off for 20 or more points four straight games, before going cold against Iowa State. I think he finds his shot again today and puts up points for the Red Raiders. He was also Tech’s leading scorer the last time the two teams faced off.
Wild Card: I thought about going with a Tech “big man” in this spot, because those players have been tearing up OSU in the last few games. However, since I expect Oklahoma State to win, I went in a different direction. Guards have been eating Tech alive in their losses, and with Evans ending games the way he has lately, I’m going to chance him having a good enough game to be the wild card, but not good enough to be the best player for OSU today.
Opponent: Zach Mason
OSU: Jawun Evans l TTU: Niem Stevenson | Wild Card: Zach Smith (TTU)
Oklahoma State: I saw Jawun Evans play a couple times during his high school days at Dallas Kimball, and I knew Oklahoma State was getting a special player. He's an electrifying scorer who can take over a game at any moment. It's hard to pick against a player of his caliber, and if he heats up Saturday, Tech is going to be in serious trouble.
Texas Tech: Niem Stevenson is the name everyone's talking about in Lubbock, and for good reason. He's averaging 19.3 points per game over the last four contests after flashing bits of great potential sporadically over the early half of the season. This is the most consistent stretch of games he's played and as long as he doesn't revert back to his less aggressive, less confident style of play, the Red Raiders could pick up a big-time victory against a talented Oklahoma State team.
Wild Card: He's not going to light anyone up for 30 points, but Zach Smith is a reliable option for the Red Raiders who can get you 15 points and eight rebounds on any given night. When these two teams matched up in January, Smith was limited to just two field goals. He'll need to be more involved if Tech wants to split the season series and redeem itself for the blowout loss to the Cowboys a month ago.