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Texas Tech to Play Former Border Conference Foe, #2 Arizona | Game Preview

The Texas Tech Red Raiders travel to Tuscon to take on the #2 Arizona Wildcats.

Kent Horner


Game Details
TEAMS Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-2, 0-0)
Arizona Wildcats (7-0, 0-0)
WHERE McKale Center | Tucson, Arizona
WHEN 8:00 pm Tuesday December 3rd
CONSUME Radio - TTSN | TV - Pac-12 Network


Texas Tech Arizona
Robert Turner (6-3/180) PG T.J. McConnell (6-1/195)
Dusty Hannahs (6-4/210) SG Nick Johnson (6-3/200)
Jaye Crockett (6-7/210) SF Brandon Ashley (6-8/230)
Jordan Tolbert (6-7/225) PF Aaron Gordon (6-9/225)
Dejan Kravic (7-0/235) C Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0/235)


Key Matchup | Lewis vs. Turner: The headline matchup is Gordon vs. Tolbert. Athletically, Gordon is on the same footing as Tolbert, but Gordon is just a better basketball player, even as a true freshman. Tolbert is going to have his hands full in this game and when you think of what type of player Gordon is, think Blake Griffin. He's just a jumping jack of a player that very much plays above the rim. Gordon was one of the best seniors in the nation last year and now Gordon has proved that the hype was definitely worth it. Gordon is averaging 12 points a game and almost 10 boards, to go along with an assist and 1.5 blocks a game. He can play.

Take Aim: The rest of the Wildcats are talented too. SG Nick Johnson is the team's leading scorer and he's just been amazing from the floor, shooting 55% for the year and averaging 17 points a game. I don't really think that Ashley is a small forward per se, as he's primarily an inside player that bangs on the boards, averaging 7 rebounds a game and 10 points. SG Gabe York comes off the bench for the Wildcats to average 10 points a game and he's very much Arizona's deep threat. I'd be remiss not to mention McConnell, who runs the show for the Wildcats, and averages 6 assists a game to just 2 turnovers. He doesn't score all that much, but he makes sure that the right guy has the ball to score.

According to KenPom, Arizona is a top 10 team and this will be the second top 10 team for Texas Tech to play, at least statistically, in about a week. Arizona is a top 20 team on both AdjO and AdjD, which means that you’ve got a really balanced team that can just just about everything. This is obviously going to be a tough game for Texas Tech, but its the next step in the challenge. Play the game and let’s see what happens.

Game Day Links:

The official site has your game preview as well as the Arizona Wildcats official site preview.

The LAJ previews the game and talked with Tolbert about the team's game plan:

"We have to stop penetration and ball pressure from the guards and not let them get it in," Tolbert said. "Then we have to play high and loose. Once they (forwards) get it we’re going to four-five trap them."

The DT also previews the game and I find it amazing that in HC Smith's career, he's never coached at the McKale Center:

“I know it’s a tough place to play,” he said. “I’ve never coached at the McKale Center, but I hear it’s a great place — great atmosphere with great fans, so it will be a real challenge.”

From the Arizona perspective, the Arizona Daily Wildcat previews the game and the Arizona Daily Star has a short Q&A with Smith:

Were the players skeptical of another coach after what they’ve been through?

A: “Everybody was skeptical to a point when you go through three coaches in the previous three years. You have to build that trust. … I think they respect what we’ve done and they were a very close-knit group that’s helped them become united. A lot of times adversity will break some people.”