Basketball

Preview and Game Thread: NCAA Tournament Rd 1 | SFA vs. Texas Tech

The Red Raiders face off against the Lumberjacks.

Game Info

Date: Thursday, March 15th
Time: 6:27 pm
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (24-9, 11-7)
Bad Guys: Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (28-6, 14-4)
Location: American Airlines Center | Dallas, Texas
TV/Stream: truTV
Radio/Stream: 97.3 FM/104.3 FM/950 AM

Lineups

TEXAS TECH
THE STARTERS Pts / Reb
POINT GUARD Keenan Evans (6-3/190) 17.5 / 3.2*
SHOOTING GUARD Jarrett Culver (6-5/190) 11.7 / 4.8
SMALL FORWARD Zhaire Smith (6-5/195) 11.2 / 4.7
POWER FORWARD Justin Gray (6-6/210) 5.0 / 3.4
CENTER Norense Odiase (6-9/245) 4.1 / 4.7
THE BENCH Pts / Reb
SIXTH MAN Zach Smith (6-8/220) 5.9 / 3.7
SEVENTH MAN Niem Stevenson (6-6/205) 7.5 / 3.0
EIGHTH MAN Brandone Francis (6-5/205) 5.3 / 2.0
NINTH MAN Davide Moretti (6-3/165) 3.3 / 1.2*
TENTH MAN Tommy Hamilton IV (6-11/250) 5.8 / 3.2
ELEVENTH MAN Josh Webster (6-4/175) 0.3 / 0.8*
TWELTH MAN Malik Ondigo (6-10/210) 1.2 / 0.8
STEPHEN F. AUSTIN
THE STARTERS Pts / Reb
POINT GUARD Ivan Canete (6-4/190) 9.4 / 3.0*
SHOOTING GUARD Ty Charles (6-5/210) 8.0 / 4.7
SMALL FORWARD Kevon Harris (6-6/225) 14.6 / 5.4
POWER FORWARD Leon Gilmore III (6-7/220) 9.3 / 4.9
CENTER TJ Holyfield (6-8/220) 13.0 / 6.4
THE BENCH Pts / Reb
SIXTH MAN Shannon Bogues (6-2/185) 15.4 / 2.4
SEVENTH MAN Aaron Augustin (5-11/185) 4.2 / 3.4
EIGHTH MAN John Comeaux (5-11/185) 4.4 / 2.0
NINTH MAN Samuli Nieminen (6-7/215) 2.7 / 1.5

* Assists.

Starting 5

THIS WEEK IN TEXAS TECH BASKETBALL ON STAKING THE PLAINS
* March Madness | #3 Red Raiders playing #14 SFA in Dallas
* Advanced Analytic Projections for Texas Tech in NCAA Tournament
* 23 Personnel: Selection Sunday, NCAA Tourney Prep, Baseball Road Trip and Spring Football – 010
* Get to Know: Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
* March Madness | Q&A with ‘The Sawmill’ about SFA Hoops
* Eats & Bounds: Tournament Edition

1. KenPom. KenPom has Stephen F. Austin ranked 111th overall, 177th in AdjO and 66th in AdjD, while Texas Tech is 12th overall, 45th in AdjO and 3rd in AdjD.

2. Stats. Via RealGM, SFA is a better shooting team, 55% eFG% compared to 53% for Texas Tech and the Lumberjacks are also better at grabbing offensive boards, 35% to 32% for the Red Raiders. Both teams shoot free throws at about the same rate, 28% for both teams, and SFA turns the ball over at a higher rate, 18% for Stephen F. Austin and 16% for Texas Tech.

3. Scouting. The stats noted above aren’t necessarily equal in terms of who each teams have played, SFA having played at least 18 conference games against Southland Conference opponents, while Texas Tech had the same number against Big 12 opponents. This isn’t a knock, but it should be an indication as to what SFA likes to do and how they like to play, based on the KenPom stats and these stats, you get an idea that SFA is a high pressure defensive team that will turn you over and frustrate you. Yes, SFA does shoot okay and what drops their KemPom offensive rating, it’s not the shooting, it’s the turnovers for SFA that are the issues. Bogues is the best offensive player on the team, but Holyfield is sneakily every efficient and very good too. Notice the starting lineup, which is that they are essentially the team that Chris Beard eventually wants, a bunch of 6’5″ guys that can defend their tails off and switch defensively.

4. Reading Material.

  • A-J Media’s Carlos Silva, Jr. – Texas Tech’s Beard faces off against good friend in NCAA Tournament’s first round:

    The second-year Texas Tech coach is likely not happy to have to coach against one of them as the No. 14 Red Raiders takes on Stephen F. Austin headed up by Kyle Keller.

    “We know of his success in the Big 12, as an assistant for Coach (Eddie) Sutton and Sean (Sutton),” Beard said Wednesday of Keller’s time with Oklahoma State as as director of basketball operations and assistant coach back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. “We know he was at Texas A&M and built the program quickly. I know he was a great junior college coach back at Tyler.”

  • A-J Media’s Carlos Silva, Jr. – Texas Tech ends open practice on high note:

    The redshirt junior forward, who hails from nearby Fort Worth, felt like it’s going to help the Red Raiders gain an extra advantage with not only friends and family in the stands, but a large crowd of scarlet and black fans cheering on the Texas Tech players.

    “Many of the guys are from the Metroplex,” he said. “We’ll have a good crowd, and a lot of Red Raiders fans coming out to the game. We’re excited for the opportunity. The tournament means a lot getting back here in the last two years. We’re excited for the opportunity. The tournament means a lot getting back here in the last two years. It’s special for us. … It’s like a home game. It gets us going. It gives us like a sixth player on the floor. The energy, we can just feel it from the fans. It really gives us an edge on the court.”

  • A-J Media’s Carlos Silva, Jr. – After long offseason, No. 14 Red Raiders looking forward to enjoying deep March run:

    It all begins when the No. 3-seeded Red Raiders are scheduled to face off against No. 14 Stephen F. Austin at 6:27 p.m. Thursday inside American Airlines Center.

    “Just really proud to be here in the second year of building our program,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “I think about those guys that y’all talked to – Zach (Smith), Keenan (Evans) and Justin (Gray), and Norense (Odiase). And when the coaching change happened between Tubby (Smith) and our group. I just promised those guys we would do everything in our power possible to get them back in the NCAA Tournament. And came up a little bit short last year, but really appreciative of those guys staying the course with us. …

    “But the story in my mind is just how thankful and appreciative I am of our players and all the work that they’ve put into our program to get us back to the national tournament.”

  • SAEN’s Mike Finger – Paths finally cross for Tech, Stephen F. Austin coaches:

    Beard, now the head coach at Texas Tech, fondly recalls ordering off the McDonald’s dollar menu and filling water cups with Sprite. Keller, now the head coach at Stephen F. Austin, remembers juicier details, including the ones about the best ice houses on the north side of San Antonio, and the Holiday Inn where enterprising young professionals could take advantage of excellent happy-hour drink specials if they hit the lobby at the right time.

    “We were all trying to figure out where we were going, hoping to make it in this career and if we could be somebody, just hang on,” Keller said.

    “But we had fun.”


5. Official Site. The official site has your official preview and head coach Chris Beard discusses the game ahead:

“I think the people on the committee are really smart at what they do,” Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard said. “Kyle Keller is the coach at SFA. He’s a friend of mine, and he’s somebody that I have a lot of respect for. He was an assistant coach at Oklahoma State for Coach Sutton. He worked at Texas A&M when they built there program to relative very quickly. Kyle does a great job. He’s been the head coach at Tyler Junior College early in his career. It starts with him and understanding that we are going to play against a well-coached team. We also know that Stephen F. Austin has very good players. We recruit against them sometimes. The history of their program in recent years speaks for itself with four NCAA Tournaments in the last five years. Those of us in the Big 12 know they beat West Virginia and Coach Huggins’ team a couple of years ago in the first round. Stephen F. Austin has our full attention and our full respect. It’s a tournament game. I really think the seeds, the rankings and all of that stuff that goes on around the March Madness is great for the game, but it means absolutely nothing when the ball goes up. This is going to be two good teams that have earned the right to be in the national tournament, and the team that plays the best on Thursday will be the team that advances.”

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