Date: Wednesday, March 11th
Time: 8:00 pm
Home Team: Texas Longhorns (19-12, 8-10)
Away Team: Texas Tech Red Raiders (13-18, 3-15)
Location: Sprint Center / Kansas City, MO
TV Stream: ESPNU
Projected Starting Lineups:
Where Each Team Sits:
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders come in as the #10 seed and almost no expectations to advance from the pundits. However they have been playing better as of late, beating Oklahoma State at home and taking Baylor down to the wire before ultimately losing by 3 on the road. It is worth noting that they are 0-2 this year when playing at neutral sites.
University of Texas: The Longhorns are the #7 seed in the tournament. They come into the tournament playing inconsistently. This team seems to be the definition of streaky. They alternative between winning and losing streaks at will. They are currently riding a 2-game win streak but had lost the 4 games previous to the current win streak. 6 of the 8 conference wins come against the 3 teams below them in the Big 12 standings while the other 2 come against Baylor and West Virginia at home.
The Longhorns beat the Red Raiders in both meetings this year by an average of 12 points and have beaten the Red Raiders 19 of the last 21 games they have played. In the Rick Barnes era, the Red Raiders own an abysmal 4-32 record versus the Longhorns.
The Longhorns’ strength is their rebounding and inside game. Myles Turner, the newly name Big 12 Freshman of the year, is a force on the inside. He had arguably his best game of the year versus the Red Raiders in their last meeting, scoring 25 points and grabbing 12 boards. They lead the Big 12 in rebounding, which is a key to their game because they are similar to the Red Raiders in the fact that they are a much better team defensively than offensively. Controlling the boards keeps them in games when their offense is struggling.
There are a couple of keys I think the Red Raiders need to focus on to beat the Longhorns. They need to keep the turnovers down. They did a good job of this in both games versus the Longhorns, ending up with fewer turnovers than the Longhorns in both games. That shouldn’t come as surprise Longhorns rank last in the Big 12 in turnover margin. They must also score points off of the turnovers. Although they had more turnovers than the Longhorns in both meetings this season, they scored fewer points off those turnovers. This leads right into the second key to the game, the Red Raiders must shoot well from the 3-point line. This is something they didn’t do in the first two meetings, shooting less than .300 in both games. The Red Raiders don’t posses enough firepower on offense to not score easy buckets off of turnovers and not shoot well from the 3-point line.
The one thing the Longhorns have consistently done this season is beat the teams that they are better than. They are better than the Red Raiders, so I think they pull out the win. I hope I am wrong. WRECK ‘EM!