Preview and Game Thread: Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech

The Texas Tech Red Raiders host the Oklahoma Sooners in a crucial game that could help determine Texas Tech’s post-season chances.

Date: Wednesday, February 17th
Time: 8:00 pm
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (15-9, 5-7)
Bad Guys: Oklahoma Sooners (20-4, 8-4)
Location: United Supermarkets Arena | Lubbock, Texas
TV/Stream: ESPNU / WatchESPN
Radio/Stream: 93.7 FM/104.3 FM/950 AM

POINT GUARD Kennan Evans (6-3/180) 8.5 / 2.6*
SHOOTING GUARD Toddrick Gotcher (6-4/205) 10.2 / 3.8
SMALL FORWARD Justin Gray (6-6/210) 9.2 / 3.6
POWER FORWARD Zach Smith (6-8/215) 10.0 / 6.9
CENTER Matthew Temple (6-9/260) 2.9 / 1.8
SIXTH MAN Aaron Ross (6-8/225) 9.8 / 4.3
SEVENTH MAN Devaugntah Williams (6-4/205) 11.8 / 3.3
EIGHTH MAN Devon Thomas (6-0/170) 2.8 / 1.5*
POINT GUARD Jordan Woodard (6-0/187) 13.1 / 3.9*
SHOOTING GUARD Buddy Hield (6-4/214) 25.6 / 5.5
SMALL FORWARD Isaiah Cousins (6-4/200) 13.9 / 4.6*
POWER FORWARD Khadeem Lattin (6-9/208) 6.0 / 5.9
CENTER Ryan Spangler (6-8/275) 10.7 / 9.7
SIXTH MAN Dante Buford (6-7/221) 3.6 / 1.8
SEVENTH MAN Christian James (6-4/218) 2.8 / 2.4
EIGHTH MAN Dinjyl Walker (6-1/203) 3.6/ 1.5

* Assists.

1. KenPom has the Sooners as the 6th best team in the nation, an elite offense at 9th in adjusted offense and 31st in adjusted defense. Yes, Oklahoma is elite on offense. Stopping that aspect of the Sooners will be key, but incredibly difficult. Texas Tech is the 41st best team in teh nation, 45th in adjusted offense and 51st in adjusted defense. This was dipping pretty badly for Texas Tech before the Iowa State and Baylor wins.

2. A nearly unblemished record for Oklahoma, with the only losses to Kansas twice, Kansas State (what!) and Iowa State. The last time we checked in with the Sooners, Buddy Hield was having an absolutely incredible season and that’s continued. Hield is shooting 51% from the field, 90% for free throws.

3. The last time these two teams played, Texas Tech was pretty much blown out by Oklahoma. Hield had 30 points on just 12 shots, but Cousins, who normally doesn’t shoot that well from the field had 19 points on just 11 shots and as a team, Oklahoma shot 53% from the field. Meanwhile, Texas Tech had a terrible day shooting the ball, making only 32% of their shots and the paint was completely dominated by Khadeem Lattin, who blocked 8 shots all by himself and Oklahoma had 14 blocked shots for the game. That’s got to change. Oklahoma isn’t a deep team and if Texas Tech can draw some fouls on those inside guys, that could bode well for the Red Raiders, who aren’t deep inside, but could at least neutralize Lattin.

4. Head coach Tubby Smith said yesterday that one of the reasons why Texas Tech played so well against Baylor is that they shared the ball on offense:

“I thought we set the tone early on (at Baylor) by sharing the basketball,” Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith said. “We haven’t had many possessions where we’ve had 10 to 12 passes. You could see, we were really patient in sharing the basketball. There is no better example of that teamwork when you have 16 assists and 22 made baskets. That tells you that you’re getting the ball to the open guy and guys are playing unselfishly.”

5. Lots has been written about whether or not Texas Tech has punched their ticket to the post-season, whether it be NIT or the NCAA. The thought is that if Texas Tech can win three more games, that might seal the deal, but that would give this team only 18 wins. That might be a tight fit, but with the strength of schedule and RPI in Texas Tech’s favor, that might be enough. LAJ’s Krista Pirtle writes that getting to the post-season “is” a goal right now:

This time a year ago, postseason play wasn’t an option.

The Red Raider coaching staff felt like they were still on track, as long as their players kept believing.

“They know coach (Smith) has won wherever he’s been,” assistant coach Vince Taylor said a year ago. “They believe in him. They know we’re going to get it done. It’s just going to take some time.”

Whether it is the NCAA Tournament — Tech currently sits as the fifth “next team out” according to ESPN’s bracketologist Joe Lunardi — or the NIT, who knew it would only be a year later.


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