Basketball

Preview and Game Thread: Big 12 Championship | Texas vs. Texas Tech

The Red Raiders and Longhorns face off for the third time this year.

Game Info

Date: Thursday, March 8th
Time: 6:00 pm
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (23-8, 11-7)
Bad Guys: Texas Longhorns (19-13, 8-10)
Location: Sprint Center | Kansas City, Missouri
TV/Stream: ESPN2
Radio/Stream: 97.3 FM/104.3 FM/950 AM

Lineups

TEXAS TECH
THE STARTERS Pts / Reb
POINT GUARD Keenan Evans (6-3/190) 17.4 / 3.3*
SHOOTING GUARD Jarrett Culver (6-5/190) 11.5 / 4.6
SMALL FORWARD Zhaire Smith (6-5/195) 11.5 / 4.7
POWER FORWARD Zach Smith (6-8/220) 6.2 / 3.8
CENTER Norense Odiase (6-9/245) 4.3 / 4.9
THE BENCH Pts / Reb
SIXTH MAN Justin Gray (6-6/210) 5.2 / 3.3
SEVENTH MAN Niem Stevenson (6-6/205) 7.4 / 3.0
EIGHTH MAN Brandone Francis (6-5/205) 5.5 / 2.1
NINTH MAN Davide Moretti (6-3/165) 3.4 / 1.3*
TENTH MAN Tommy Hamilton IV (6-11/250) 5.7 / 3.2
ELEVENTH MAN Josh Webster (6-4/175) 0.3 / 0.7*
TWELTH MAN Malik Ondigo (6-10/210) 1.2 / 0.8
TEXAS
THE STARTERS Pts / Reb
POINT GUARD Kerwin Roach II (6-4/180) 12.2 / 3.8*
SHOOTING GUARD Matt Coleman (6-2/180) 9.4 / 4.1
SMALL FORWARD Jase Febres (6-5/190) 3.7 / 1.9
POWER FORWARD Dylan Osetkowski (6-9/245) 13.9 / 7.1
CENTER Jericho Sims (6-9/240) 5.3 / 3.8
THE BENCH Pts / Reb
SIXTH MAN Jacob Young (6-2/185) 5.4 / 1.7
SEVENTH MAN James Banks III (6-10/240) 1.6 / 1.7
EIGHTH MAN Mo Bamba (6-11/225) 13.0 / 10.6

* Assists.

Starting 5

1. KenPom. KenPom has Texas as the 39th best team in the nation, 108th in AdjO and 8th in AdjD. Texas Tech is currently the 10th best team in the nation, 50th in AdjO and 3rd in AdjD.

2. Stats. Via RealGM, Texas Tech is a better shooting team 53% eFG% compared to 50% for Texas and the Red Raiders also have advantages in offensive rebounding percentage, 33% to 29%, and free throw rate, 29% for Texas Tech to 22% for Texas. Both teams are pretty close in terms of turnover percentage, 16% for Texas Tech and 15% for Texas.

3. Scouting. The Longhorns beat Iowa State last night, 68-64, and they did it without Mo Bamba who has an injured toe. If I had to guess, Bamba has a turf toe situation similar to what Keenan Evans has and this will be about effectiveness and pain tolerance more than anything. Keep in mind how ineffective Evans was for a stretch of four games while that toe was healing and it was only in the second half of the TCU game that Evans seemed like his old self. For Texas, they relied heavily on a 6-man rotation of the five starters and Young. Every player played at least 25 minutes and although I don’t think that Texas will be tired, but if there are any NBA fans out there, they know that teams that play on back-to-back nights usually don’t have the same energy on the second night.

As we know, UT and TTU split the season series, each team winning on their home court, but I think with both of those games, Texas Tech didn’t have Zach Smith and I think that will be an interesting match-up for this game as Osetkowski likes to fade outside and with a player like Zach that can easily cover the perimeter, Osetkowski won’t launch 12 three-pointers like he did against Iowa State. And if it’s not Zach, I could see Gray getting the nod against him too.

Keep turnovers to a minimum with the Texas pressure and hold onto those opportunities and I think Texas Tech should win this game, especially if Bamba is out for the game.

As far as the starting lineups, I don’t have any insight, but it’s fun to see Texas Tech at full strength with everyone back and ready to play a role. Maybe Beard goes with the five seniors again, or maybe two or one of the freshmen get the call. I’m not sure, but that’s not a bad problem to have.

4. Reading Material.

A-J Media’s Carlos Silva, Jr. – BIG 12 NOTEBOOK: No. 14 Texas Tech looking forward to fun March:

The second-year Texas Tech men’s basketball coach has been preaching to his players and coaching staff to be part of the fight in February and March.

That time is now and, not only that, the No. 14 Red Raiders get to enjoy what is expected to a fun slate of games during “March Madness.”

“Anything you want in life, kind of like basketball, I think you have to have a plan for what you want,” said Beard, whose guided Texas Tech to a 23-8 regular season record, including a 1-0 mark in March, so far. “So we’d like to have a good March. Our plan is pretty specific. And one of the parts of our plan is we want to try to have more fun than anybody in college basketball this month. So, led by our seniors, we’re going to try to enjoy every moment. That’s what March is. I’m glad our guys are having fun.”


5. Official Site. The official site with the official preview and here’s head coach Chris Beard:

“The objective is to try to play your best basketball as the season goes on through February and March,” Beard said. “What makes it a little more complicated this year for us is some of the adversity we’ve overcome with injuries and guys getting back. We’re no different than most teams. Everybody is dealing with something this time of year. Obviously, the outcome you are looking forward is to winning each game, but it’s not that simple. You have to control what you can control. For us, that’s trying to play the best basketball we can. In our game the other night against TCU, it was great in the second half to kind of see some things that we maybe haven’t seen in a while. It’s looking like our team might be getting back on track. Certainly the objective is to try to play the best basketball we can as the season goes on, and to do that it’s all the individual parts. Each player playing the best they can, each coach doing the best we can and hopefully together we’ll be playing our best basketball when it matters the most.”

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