Basketball

Preview & GDT: Northern Kentucky vs. Texas Tech

It’s very real.

Game Info

Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (26-6, 14-4)
Bad Guys: Northern Kentucky Norse (26-8, 13-5)
When to Watch: Friday, March 22nd @ 12:30 p.m.
Where to Watch: Bank of Oklahoma Center | Tulsa, Oklahoma
How to Watch: TNT | MarchMadnessLive
How to Listen: 97.3 FM | Affiliates | TuneIn App
The Line: Texas Tech -12.5 (OddsShark)

Advanced Stats

Texas Tech Northern Kentucky
KenPom 9 98
KP AdjO 34 75
KP AdjD 1 139
T-Rank 7 109
T-Rank O 22 81
T-Rank D 2 147
Haslemetric 8 98

Lineups

TEXAS TECH
THE STARTERS Pts / Reb
POINT GUARD Davide Moretti (6-3/175) 11.3 / 2.6*
SHOOTING GUARD Matt Mooney (6-3/200) 10.8 / 3.2*
SMALL FORWARD Jarrett Culver (6-5/195) 17.9 / 3.7*
POWER FORWARD Tariq Owens (6-10/205) 8.7 / 5.5
CENTER Norense Odiase (6-9/245) 4.2 / 5.3
THE BENCH Pts / Reb
SIXTH MAN Kyler Edwards (6-3/200) 5.7 / 2.4
SEVENTH MAN Brandone Francis (6-5/215) 6.3 / 2.4
EIGHTH MAN Deshawn Corprew (6-5/210) 6.0 / 3.8
NINTH MAN Malik Ondigo (6-10/215) 1.5 / 1.5
TENTH MAN Josh Mballa (6-7/215) 0.9 / 0.3
ELEVENTH MAN Khavon Moore (6-7/215) 0.0 / 0.0
NORTHERN KENTUCKY
THE STARTERS Pts / Reb
POINT GUARD Tyler Sharpe (6-1/195) 14.1 / 1.9*
SHOOTING GUARD Trevon Faulkner (6-4/195) 4.9 / 2.5
SMALL FORWARD Jalen Tate (6-6/170) 14.0 / 4.4
POWER FORWARD Dantez Walton (6-7/210) 11.1 / 5.5
CENTER Drew McDonald (6-8/250) 19.1 / 9.5
THE BENCH Pts / Reb
SIXTH MAN Zaynah Robinson (6-0/180) 7.0 / 2.4*
SEVENTH MAN Paul Djoko (6-5/200) 1.7 / 1.1
EIGHTH MAN Chris Vogt (7-1/240) 4.6 / 3.8
NINTH MAN Silas Adheke (6-10/240) 2.0 / 1.7
TENTH MAN Adrian Nelson (6-8/220) 2.7 / 2.3

* Assists.

Starting 5

1. Stats. There are a couple of standout stats for Northern Kentucky, the first is that they’re a good shooting team, well, almost elite shooting team. They make 55% of their eFG opportunities, most of that coming from inside the three-point line, making 55 of their 2-point shots. On the other side of the ball, UNK is very good at limiting three-point shooting opportunities, are top 45 in the nation in limiting three-point shooting. What’s bad is that they will send teams to the free throw line at a pretty high rate and of all things they simply don’t make their free throws. The Norse also won’t be contesting at the rim, their 306th in the nation in block percentage.

2. Scouting. McDonald is by far their best player and he’s a wizard offensively. High usage rate and just makes ton of shots and he’s very good at gathering defensive rebounds. The guard Sharpe is also a good offensive player, but Tate is also probably the next best offensive player. Ball in his hands quite a bit, in fact, he and McDonald will hold the ball the mos, and Tate is also a good shooter and is a very good passer for the small forward spot. Faulkner is another good shooter to watch out for and Vogt will attack the boards, particularly the offensive boards.

3. How They Match Up. Given the issues that Texas Tech had on the offensive boards, I’m guessing that this will absolutely be corrected against UNK, the biggest guys that crash the boards are Vogt and Nelson, but Nelson didn’t get a ton of burn in the last game. That leaves Owens and Odiase to take care of Vogt. I’ll also be interested to see which of Odiase or Owens takes on McDonald. I’m guessing that it will be Owens. Maybe the best pure p=matchup will be Tate and Culver, they’re similar in that they’re both sophomores, they both score well, rebound well and pass the ball well. I’m partial to Culver, but Tate is good. The biggest key will be stopping McDonald and I’d love to see Corprew to get some minutes against him because I think that would be a tough matchup for McDonald.

4. Reading Material. A-J Media’s Carlos Silva, Jr. – No. 9 Red Raiders poised to erase memory of previous loss entering NCAA Tournament:

“I’ve always set this up as a four-team tournament. There’s four teams in ours,” Beard said. “We got to win two games to try to advance. Easy to talk about, really difficult to do.”

Texas Tech (26-6) will also be looking to get back on the winning track after dropping their last previous win-or-go-home game to the Mountaineers. It will be a bit difficult considering the Norse (26-8) are playing their best basketball according to head coach John Brannen.

“I like where this team is at,” said Brannen, whose squad has earned an NCAA Tournament berth two out of the last three years and is on a current five-game winning streak. “There won’t be a coach that’s sitting up that you don’t like where your team is at AQ, automatic qualifier. You have to be playing your best basketball. I certainly like where our guys are in terms of mentally.”

Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay – March Madness 2019: The Northern Kentucky University Norse have come a long way quickly:

Coach, of course, is John Brannen. Brannen was brought in to take the Norse from Division II to Division I. Brannen, a Newport Central Catholic graduate, climbed assistant ranks after playing collegiately at Marshall. He spent his last six years at Alabama – the previous year as interim head coach. NKU went 9-21 Brannen’s first year. The Norse are 72-29 since.

No mid-major can expect to go to the NCAA two out of three years, but Brannen definitely had March Madness on his mind when he signed on.

“I didn’t put a ceiling on this team and this program,” he said. “The expectation we would be sitting here one day. Didn’t know it would happen this quick. I am surprised it hasn’t picked up more national exposure in terms of – I don’t know how many mid-major programs have actually been to an NCAA Tournament and NIT Tournaments and won two league titles much less in a program that’s been eligible to do it in those three years.

“Something our young men deserve a ton of credit for because there’s a lot of sustainability on the roster and lot of guys that have gone through it for the first few years. Once we started doing it, we’ve been able to sustain it and continue to build on it. That has been a real accomplishment.”

5. Official Site. The official site has their preview right here:

“We respect their program and they are really well-coached,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “They have an identity where they are explosive and balanced offensively and they will be one of the toughest defenses we’ve played this year. They are very talented with their conference MVP and several other guys who are all-conference players. They’ve got experience and young talent. This is the NCAA tournament and personally I don’t believe in seeding. You get in the tournament and everybody is good with anyone being able to beat anybody. I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to be on both sides of these. There is nothing but respect from our program to theirs and we know that we will have to play really well to advance to the second round. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to play on Friday.”

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