Preview and Game Thread: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 | Texas Tech vs. Purdue

The Red Raiders take on the Boilermakers in the Sweet Sixteen.

Game Info

Date: Friday, March 23rd
Time: 8:57 pm
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (26-9, 17-7)
Bad Guys: Purdue Boilermakers (30-6, 15-3)
Location: TD Garden | Boston, Massachusetts
TV/Stream: TBS
Radio/Stream: 97.3 FM/104.3 FM/950 AM


POINT GUARD Keenan Evans (6-3/190) 17.8 / 3.2*
SHOOTING GUARD Jarrett Culver (6-5/190) 11.5 / 4.9
SMALL FORWARD Zhaire Smith (6-5/195) 11.3 / 4.9
POWER FORWARD Justin Gray (6-6/210) 4.9 / 3.6
CENTER Norense Odiase (6-9/245) 3.9 / 4.5
SIXTH MAN Zach Smith (6-8/220) 6.0 / 3.7
SEVENTH MAN Niem Stevenson (6-6/205) 7.4 / 3.0
EIGHTH MAN Brandone Francis (6-5/205) 5.2 / 2.0
NINTH MAN Davide Moretti (6-3/165) 3.3 / 1.1*
TENTH MAN Tommy Hamilton IV (6-11/250) 5.6 / 3.1
ELEVENTH MAN Josh Webster (6-4/175) 0.3 / 0.7*
TWELTH MAN Malik Ondigo (6-10/210) 1.2 / 0.8
POINT GUARD P.J. Thompson (5-10/185) 7.4 / 1.7*
SHOOTING GUARD Carsen Edwards (6-1/200) 18.2 / 2.9*
SMALL FORWARD Dakota Mathias (6-4/200) 12.3 / 4.1
POWER FORWARD Vincent Edwards (6-8/225) 14.7 / 7.2
CENTER Matt Haarms (7-3/250) 4.8 / 3.2
SIXTH MAN Ryan Cline (6-6/195) 4.1 / 1.8
SEVENTH MAN Grady Eifert (6-6/220) 1.6 / 1.7
EIGHTH MAN Nojel Eastern (6-6/220) 2.9 / 2.6
NINTH MAN Jacquil Taylor (6-10/240) 1.7 / 1.4
TENTH MAN Isaac Haas (7-2/290) 14.7 / 5.7

* Assists.

Starting 5

1. KenPom. KenPom has Purdue as the 4th best team in the nation, 2nd in AdjO and 29th in AdjD. Texas Tech has stayed steady at #13, which is where I think is where the Red Raiders were against Florida, 48th in AdjO and 4th in AdjD.

2. Stats. Via RealGM, Purdue is a much better shooting team, 58% eFG% compared to 53% for Texas Tech. The Red Raiders pull down more offensive boards than Purdue, 32% to 27%, while both teams are about the same in terms of free throw rate, 27% for the Boilermakers to 28% for Texas Tech. Purdue turns the ball over just a bit less, 14% to 16% for Texas Tech.

3. Scouting. Purdue is a really good team, but they have been a really good team with Haas as an offensive threat that can create inside, which in turn opens things up outside. It’s been a darn near perfect method of playing because very few teams have any sort of answer for a 7’2″ center that plays within himself. So it’s going to be really different to see what Purdue is with Haarms at the pivot. Haarms is not the offensive player that Haas is, but Haarms is pretty good. If Haas plays, then whoever he is guarding will dive to the basket on his bad arm and just wait for him to foul. That takes either Hamilton or Odiase doing this and that’s a bit iffy as an offensive plan.

I think the difference that Texas Tech presents more than anything else is that Purdue probably hasn’t seen a team as athletic as Texas Tech, just doesn’t have the athletes like Zach Smith, Zhaire Smith and I don’t know that Texas Tech really will have a defensive answer for Evans. But that also means that Texas Tech will need a defensive answer for Edwards (please stand up Niem Stevenson) and it would be really fantastic if Texas Tech could create lots of second chances with offensive rebounds.

4. Reading Material.

  • A-J Media’s Carlos Silva, Jr. – Evans ignores pain, enjoys special postseason run by No. 14 Red Raiders:

    Evans will look to keep the run going as No. 3 seed Texas Texas faces off against No. 2 seed Purdue at 8:57 p.m. Friday in an East Regional semifinal inside TD Garden.

    “It’s been kind of painful, especially after games, because once that adrenaline I had goes away the pain all comes back in a couple of seconds,” said Evans, who lost his first-ever NCAA Tournament game two years ago. “Just preparing myself for the training room as quick as possible is key to make sure it doesn’t feel as bad.”

  • A-J Media’s Carlos Silva, Jr. – No. 14 Texas Tech looking to enjoy the moment, play another game:

    Texas Tech, a No. 3 seed, gets its chance to get a game closer to its preseason goal when it faces off against second-seeded Purdue in an East Region semifinal game at 8:57 p.m. Friday at TD Garden.

    “We’re just really excited to be playing basketball,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “It’s like at the top of the list of all the reasons to keep playing, just to play another day, to have another practice, to have another team trip, to have another individual and ultimately to have another game just means the world to us.

    “I think in our program there’s a lot of things we stand for, but at the top of the list, it’s just the love of the game. It’s the first thing we look for in recruiting, and what we constantly remind our players is how fortunate and lucky we are to be playing this game. To be one of the 16 left standing means the world to us.”

  • Journal & Courier – Purdue basketball’s Steve Lutz and Texas Tech’s Chris Beard started careers together:

    Beard made $3,600. Lutz made $2,000, and he also worked Thursday through Saturday nights and Sunday morning at a local bar. Beard came in every day to eat.

    He lived five blocks from campus, and Lutz lived with his parents, 20 miles away. So Lutz sometimes slept on a cot that Beard let him slide under his bed.

    To reciprocate, Lutz took Beard home with him for meals of his mother’s king ranch chicken and television time. The young coaches could’t afford their own.

    “We literally spent every single day together,” Lutz said. “My mom, when she found out we were playing them, said ‘That’s the boy who I would wash his clothes?’ “

  • Journal & Courier – Purdue and Texas Tech basketball both grew from one afternoon in Denver:

    Purdue has no vendetta against Beard. (Junior guard Ryan Cline did not even make the connection until asked Thursday afternoon, and he may not have been alone.) Coincidence, the luck of the seed line, paired these opponents in the Sweet 16.

    Yet that game two years ago unquestionably helped make these programs what they are today. The win helped Beard return to Texas Tech as head coach, branding that program with toughness and a physical mindset.

    Purdue churned the emotions of that loss into summer motivation. It helped them climb to a Big Ten Conference championship and repeat trips to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

    “It was just another learning experience,” senior guard Dakota Mathias said of the loss. “Going through adversity. It’s some other situation where you grow from it. You’ve got to take things from it and move on and become a better player and a better team, and I think we did that.”

  • NCAA’s Daniel Wilco – Sweet 16 predictions: The data tells us these teams will make the Final Four:

    After analyzing data from the past five tournaments, here’s what we think this year’s Final Four will look like:

    South: Kentucky
    West: Gonzaga
    Midwest: Clemson
    East: Texas Tech

  • ESPN’s Jeff Borzello – Know what will happen in the Sweet 16 before it even happens:

    Jalen Brunson vs. Keenan Evans will be the best head-to-head matchup of the tournament
    We think Villanova and Texas Tech are bound for the Elite Eight, in which two of the 10 best players in the country will go head-to-head in the backcourt. Brunson received more publicity this season and could be the favorite for the Wooden Award at this point, but Evans has been elite in his own right. Brunson does have the best offensive rating of anyone in the country given his usage, but Evans sits at No. 16 in those rankings. Perhaps the biggest sign of Evans’ importance to the Red Raiders? They went 0-4 when he was hampered or out with injury. Both players are tough, clutch, efficient and smart. It should be a terrific battle.

  • NY Post’s Howie Kussey – Texas Tech coach takes long road to Sweet 16:

    “I don’t want to waste a minute of this,” second-year Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “I can’t speak for these teams that we’re sharing this regional with, I mean, they’ve been here so many times. But for us, it’s like we’re just embracing it. … We just don’t want it to end.”

    Third-seeded Texas Tech (26-9), which was picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 preseason poll, will face second-seeded Purdue (30-6) on Friday night in its first Sweet 16 game in 13 years, looking for its first appearance in the Elite Eight.

  •’s Brian Neubert – Texas Tech’s defensive transformation happened quickly:

    There’s not a player on the roster listed at shorter than 6-foot-3, giving Tech height and a certain interchangeable nature. Eleven Red Raiders stand between 6-3 and 6-5.

    “It’s their ability to pressure the basketball, keep it in front of them and cause havoc, and then with their athleticism and length, they make it difficult for you to make that next play,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “They have good shot-blockers, guys who get in passing lanes, just overall versatility. They can put a team out there that looks the same, where everybody’s 6-5 or 6-6 or play more size if they want. … They can play a couple different ways.”

    Texas Tech has been a problem defensively for most everyone it faced this season. The lone Big Ten team it played this season, Northwestern, couldn’t crack 50 and lost by 36 back in November.

5. Official Site. The official site’s official preview has head coach Chris Beard discussing the Boilermakers:

“What I see from Purdue is just a really well-coached team,” Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard said. “Matt Painter played the game at a high level, and he built a really good program at Southern Illinois. What he’s done at Purdue really speaks for itself. There a team that’s been in this position before. We are a team that’s new to this as a unit. We’ve got some individuals that have been at this stage but not together as a team. The biggest thing in this game is to understand that it’s a 40-minute game. There’s a lot of distractions, both good and bad, when you get to this stage in a season. We are really fortunate to be one of the 16 teams left, and we intend on taking advantage of it.”


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