Preview and Game Thread: West Virginia vs. Texas Tech

The Red Raiders look to knock off another top-ranked opponent in West Virginia.

Date: Saturday, January 23rd
Time: 12:00 pm
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (12-5, 2-4)
Bad Guys: West Virginia Mountaineers (15-3, 4-2)
Location: United Supermarkets Arena | Lubbock, Texas
TV/Stream: ESPN News
Radio/Stream: 93.7 FM/104.3 FM/950 AM

POINT GUARD Kennan Evans (6-3/180) 7.6 / 3.1*
SHOOTING GUARD Devaugntah Williams (6-4/205) 13.2 / 3.5
SMALL FORWARD Toddrick Gotcher (6-4/205) 10.9 / 4.5
POWER FORWARD Zach Smith (6-8/215) 9.4 / 6.6
CENTER Matthew Temple (6-9/260) 2.8 / 1.7
SIXTH MAN Aaron Ross (6-8/225) 8.1 / 3.9
SEVENTH MAN Justin Gray (6-6/210) 8.6 / 3.3
EIGHTH MAN Devon Thomas (6-0/170) 3.2 / 1.6*
POINT GUARD Jevon Carter (6-2/185) 11.7 / 3.1*
SHOOTING GUARD Daxter Miles, Jr. (6-3/185) 10.9 / 2.2
SMALL FORWARD Jonathan Holton (6-7/220) 9.2 / 7.4
POWER FORWARD Esa Ahmad (6-8/225) 4.5 / 2.9
CENTER Devin Williams (6-9/255) 13.9 / 8.8
SIXTH MAN Jaysean Paige (6-2/200) 13.2 / 3.8
SEVENTH MAN Tarik Phillip (6-3/185) 7.3 / 2.8
EIGHTH MAN Elijah Macon (6-9/240) 6.5 / 3.8

* Assists.

1. KenPom says that West Virginia is very good, despite the loss earlier this week to Texas. KP has the Mountaineers as the #6 team in the nation with an adjusted offense at 61st in the nation and the 2nd best adjusted defense. Texas Tech pretty much held steady after beating TCU on Monday, sitting at 48th overall, 91st in adjusted defense and 40th in adjusted offense. Looking at the odds, Texas Tech is getting 3.5 to 4 points against the Mountaineers.

2. West Virginia is coming off of their worst streak of the year, losing their last two games at Oklahoma and to Texas. That’s not exactly terrible since the previously beat Kansas before that. The Mountaineers are actually very good and very tough to beat. The fact that the press and play a frantic style of defense is likely going to cause problems for Texas Tech.

3. The Devin Williams vs. Norense Odiase match-up would have been fantastic, but that’s all going to change with Odiase out for an extended period of time. The question is who will start for Texas Tech and Coach Smith has a couple of options, including starting Matt Temple or maybe starting Josh Gray and move Zach Smith to the center position. I’m not sure how keen I am on Gray starting, not because I want to see him on the bench, but because he’s been so good off the bench. Plus, that leaves the frontcourt a bit light as Smith is your starting center and Gray, at 6’6″ is your power forward.

4. Head coach Tubby Smith said that the key is defending and that was the difference in beating TCU and losing to Kansas, Kansas State and Baylor

“A key to the TCU win was we were able to have toughness, and I think discipline is what you need to get stops on the defensive end,” Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith said. “That is something we didn’t do in the previous four games that we lost. We were in every game: we lost to Iowa State, we lost to Kansas and Kansas State, and Baylor. We were right there, but we weren’t defending. We really defended well in those clutch situations at TCU. We made some clutch baskets. Most people look at the offense and say we should score more points, but we had to stop them. I think that was the key.”

5. West Virginia plays a frantic pace, especially defensively. Texas Tech has done a great job of not turning the ball over this year and this means that the Mountaineers are +5.78 in turnover margin, while Texas Tech is +1.53. that’s quite the difference and WVU averages about 20 opponent turnovers a game while Texas Tech forces 13.5 per game. Usually, the key is on Evans and Thomas as the point guards, but Texas Tech will employ any player (other than Odiase) to help break the press as Smith and Gray have brought the ball up the court.


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