Good morning! I’m back and let me tell you, Flagstaff is a terrific landing spot. Sedona is an hour drive south, the Grand Canyon is an hour and a half north, and there’s a ton to do in Flagstaff. The diversity of scenery between Phoenix, which we flew into and out of, and Flagstaff is amazing. Just a beautiful state. I’ve got more stories, but you’re not here for vacation stories. Not a ton of content this morning, but I’m posting what I’ve found.
These are my notes while researching this game . . . Montana State’s best players are all order for the most part, Xavier Bishop, Amin Adamu, and Abdul Mohamed are all seniors while Jubrile Belo is a junior. They play a ton of minutes and older teams are always dangerous because they know how to win . . . the Bobcats went 0-2 in Quad 1 wins, 5-3 in Quad 3 wins, and 20-2 in Quad 4 wins . . . Montana state is in the NCAA Tournament because they knocked off Northern Colorado for the Big Sky Conference Championship . . . of their handful of losses, they were all relatively close, a 4-point loss to Colorado, a 17-point loss to South Dakota State (which is really one of the biggest outliers), a 2-point loss to Northern Colorado in overtime, a 10-point loss to Weber State (probably their worst loss because this was at home), a 2-point overtime loss to Eastern Washington, and a 6-point loss to Montana . . . Montana State was 12-5 in close games, good for 40th in the nation . . . despite being a very good shooting team, the Bobcats are 221st in three-point rate . . . other than Bishop, Montana State is not really a good passing team . . . because they had such a good record, there was a chance that they were likely to receive an automatic seed, possibly a 14 overall, but that never became necessary . . . Montana State doesn’t necessarily play fast as they are 184th in adjusted tempo . . . Adamu and Belo are both from London, England . . .
NCAA.com | If you’re looking to watch games online, then this is the place to go. They’ll have a schedule each and every day so that link won’t take you directly, but it will eventually get you there. And just to remind you, Texas Tech tips-off at 12:45 pm tomorrow afternoon, televised on TNT.
SI’s Pat Forde | The 10 Teams Most Likely to Win the 2022 Men’s National Title
Seed: No. 3 in the West. Path to the Final Four, if seeding holds: Montana State, Alabama, Duke, Gonzaga. Predicted path: Montana State, Rutgers, Duke, Gonzaga. Very tough region, but this is a very tough team. Duke will have to up its intensity if the two teams meet in the Sweet 16.
The top six offensive teams in the KenPom rankings are among the 10 title contenders listed here, which tells you the way the sport is trending. But don’t completely disregard the importance of defense—and if stops still matter, then the Red Raiders are definite contenders. They are the best defensive team in the country, physical and relentless at that end under first-year coach Mark Adams. Eventually they’ll have to hit shots, especially if they make it to a regional final against Gonzaga, and they could also fall victim to a tightly called game. The Red Raiders are most comfortable bumping and grinding.
CBS Sports’ David Cobb | Ranking the 32 first round NCAA Tournament games from the 2022 March Madness bracket
22. (3) Texas Tech vs. (14) Montana State
Friday | 1:45 p.m. | TNT
Who isn’t fired up for the epic Mark Adams vs. Danny Sprinkle coaching showdown? OK, that’s slightly sarcastic. But if you peel this one back, these two coaches have done excellent work this season. The Red Raiders did not miss a beat in Adams’ first season after Chris Beard’s departure. In fact, TTU only improved. Montana State is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1996 in Sprinkle’s third season as head coach. The last time the Bobcats were dancing, Sprinkle was the team’s fourth-leading scorer. He’s 45 years old now.
NCAA’s Andy Wittry | 16 teams, from safe to bold, to pick for the Sweet 16 right now
8. No. 3 seed Texas Tech
Texas Tech’s adjusted efficiency margin ranks second nationally since Jan. 1, according to barttorvik.com, as the Red Raiders have the best defense in the country, thanks to a 23.6-percent defensive turnover rate and a 45.5-percent effective field-goal percentage allowed, per kenpom.com.
The No. 6 seed that potentially awaits Texas Tech is Alabama, which is on a three-game losing streak, and struggles at both taking care of the ball and 3-point shooting. The No. 11 seed that Alabama will face will be the First Four winner between Rutgers and Notre Dame, two teams with some of the weakest resumes in the entire field, by definition.
AP’s Stephen Hawkins | Decades-Long Dream Comes True For Mark Adams At Texas Tech
“There was nothing promised. And I think we had to be really careful because we were extremely proud of where our basketball program was, and how it had been established,” said Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt, part of a four-person search committee. “It was probably after one or two conversations that we had with coach Adams, the question was why not? Why wouldn’t we stay internally with a candidate who has the experience that he has … who’s been an integral part of the success that we’ve had.”
And who clearly wanted to be there, less than 40 miles from the small farming community of Brownfield where he grew up.
“At my age, hopefully there’s some encouragement there for others that don’t give up on your dreams,” Adams said.
Highlights from the men’s basketball official Twitter account.
— Texas Tech Basketball (@TexasTechMBB) March 16, 2022
Coming off a Sweet 16 berth with Oral Roberts in 2021, current @TexasTechMBB senior forward Kevin Obanor is ready for his first NCAA Tournament appearance with the Red Raiders.
“This is where players make plays. This is what March is all about.” pic.twitter.com/hvmn2J46DM
— March Madness Men’s Basketball TV (@MM_MBB_TV) March 16, 2022