Preview & Open Thread – Big 12 MBB Tournament (First Round)

Consider this post your open thread for the first round of the Big 12 tourney… and Wreck ’em Tech!

Game #1:

Date: Wednesday, March 8th
Time: 6:00 pm
Teams: #8 TCU 17-14 (6-12) vs #9 Oklahoma 11-19 (9-13)
Location: Sprint Center | Kansas City
TV/Stream: ESPNU

First Regular Season Meeting:  TCU won at home 60-57

Second Regular Season Meeting:  Oklahoma won at home 73-68

Preview: TCU has lost 7 games in a row. At one point to end the season they were like Texas Tech, sniffing the chance to get into the Big Dance. Yet, with their recent skid they are off the bubble watch. Oklahoma has not been great, but they did finish their regular season with a victory over TCU.

Prediction: Most people would lean towards a TCU victory in this game based on knowing how close TCU was in talks of getting to the NCAA Tournament. Yet, I think with the recent trend of losses… Oklahoma will come out on top in this one.

Game #2:

Date: Wednesday, March 8th
Time: 8:00 pm
Teams: #7 Texas Tech 18-13 (6-12) vs  #10 Texas 10-21 (4-14)
Location: Sprint Center | Kansas City
TV/Stream: ESPNU

First Regular Season Meeting: Texas won at home 62-58

Second Regular Season Meeting:  Texas Tech won at home 67-57

Preview: Our Red Raiders have dropped 4 of the last 5 games. Two of those losses were in overtime to teams that are going to make the Big Dance in WVU and ISU. At home the win against Texas was one where things looked nice for Texas Tech and we came away with a victory without a tight finish. Then when we went on the road to K-State and fell apart. KSU dominate us, as we finished the regular season without a Big 12 road win.

It is now March, and anything can happen. Some coaches can motivate their roster to generate momentum in the post season. This is where the term “tournament teams” comes to take effect on the court. I believe Chris Beard is the guy that is a great leader to hype our squad. The only problem is that no matter how bad of a season Texas is having, they have a coach that knows all about March Madness and tourney play. Shaka Smart has the experience to tell his roster things that can pump up a team for a tournament.

Texas Tech has an RPI of #103, and Texas sits at #169. KenPom had Texas Tech adjusted offense as #39 and adjusted defense at #54, where Texas is at #176 in AdjO and #30 in AdjD. The line that I found for this game is Texas Tech -4.5. So, based on all things stat-wise it is clear that the Red Raiders have the edge over UT.

Most likely Ross, Evans, Gray, Smith, and Stevenson are going to kickoff this game as the starters. Last time we played the Longhorns Evans got to the charity stripe 10 time, and made all of his free throws. We controlled the game enough that the team did not have to rely on three pointers to get a victory. Only going 4-13 from beyond the arc. We kept our turnovers to a minimum, only giving the ball away 8 times. Gray and Ross, along with Evans, scored in double figures in the game. I believe that those three will have to be on top of their game for this one, or we might get pressed into a close contest. Also, Livingston has faded as of late in the season, not scoring in double-digits in the last 7 games while seeing less minutes on the floor. I think he needs to step up off the bench and have a big game to pull away in this one.

Looking over on the other side, the Texas roster has some impressive players. But, this season it has not clicked and the chemistry never seemed to be there. The one guy I am worried about is freshman Jarrett Allen. He is close to 7′ tall, and gets his points and rebounds every game. It is nearly hard to stop him, only hope is to try and contain him. He is a match-up nightmare, and we will need to help out to keep an eye on him all game.

Prediction: The Red Raiders have not played their A-game away from Lubbock… yet, the Longhorns have not played their best ball all season at home or away. UT is by far the biggest underachiever this season in the conference, and Texas Tech has not lived up to the high expectations that were laid out at the beginning of the season.

All that can change in a tournament, because nothing else matters. Win or go home. I think that in this game, the Red Raiders are the much better team. We should put UT to bed with ease. I’m even going to predict that this will not be a tight finish and Texas Tech will cruise to victory. I’m excited to see Chris Beard in action in the Big 12 tourney. Wreck ’em Tech!!!

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