LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas Tech and Northwestern State find themselves on opposite ends of the college basketball spectrum as they enter their Wednesday matchup at United Supermarkets Arena.
While the Red Raiders (8-0) have won every one of their games by double digits, Northwestern State (2-7) has a 24.3-point average deficit in its seven losses. Furthermore, Texas Tech hasn't played a true road game this season, and Northwestern State has played in opponents' gyms in six of its nine games.
Texas Tech's success so far has resulted in it ascending from among the unranked to No. 11 in this week's Associated Press poll. The Red Raiders moved up two spots despite only playing once last week, a nonchalant throttling of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Both Northwestern State and Texas Tech have had at least a week off during the usual final-exam period.
Red Raiders coach Chris Beard said his team made the most of the days between live action.
"With final exams going on, we gave the guys a couple days off," Beard said. "Then we actually had a couple days to practice on us, not just the opponent."
While Texas Tech has had few tense moments at the ends of games, the Red Raiders' third-year coach wants to see his team play at peak level for longer stretches. Texas Tech erased double-digit deficits to claim wins over USC and Memphis. But it might be more difficult to climb out of such holes in the later stages of this season.
"We're really looking for consistency," Beard said. "We've shown the ability to play good basketball on the offensive end, we've played some good defense this year. But like most teams around the country, we're just striving to be more consistent."
Meanwhile, Northwestern State coach Mike McConathy is looking for bright spots to bolster his team during nonconference play.
"You've got to go try and be as competitive as you can," McConathy said. "In the AM game, up until the last five minutes of the game we were right there rebounding-wise with them. They blocked some shots and we missed some shots. They got some rebounds and got some runouts. But we played a solid, solid second half, which was very, very encouraging."
The visit to Texas Tech concludes a three-game road trip for Northwestern State, which returns to Natchitoches, La., for a home game against Southern on Saturday.
Texas Tech will host Abilene Christian on Saturday in the final game played at Lubbock Municipal Coliseum.
The Red Raiders played home games at the Coliseum from 1956 to 1999 before United Supermarkets Arena opened at the start of the 1999-2000 season. A city referendum passed ownership of the facility from Lubbock to Texas Tech and it's set to be demolished in 2019.
If Texas Tech wins its next two games, it will improve to 10-0 for the first time since the 1929-30 season.