The No. 24 Texas Tech men’s basketball team continues preparation for the Big 12 part of their schedule by hosting the Rice Owls on Saturday.
The Throwback Game and will be played at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum, which is affectionately known as The Bubble.
The Bubble served as the home for the men’s basketball team during the 1956-1957 to 1998-1999 seasons. Tech was part of the old Southwest Conference (SWC) for all but four of those basketball seasons and Rice served as an annual opponent during the old SWC days. The Red Raider teams amassed a home record of 397-154 during their time in the SWC, including an overall record of 35-8 when hosting the Owls in The Bubble.
Let’s take a closer look at the 2017-2018 version of the Owls, who come into this game with an overall record of 3-7.
The Owls are led by first-year head coach Scott Pera. Pera spent the last three years as associate head coach at Rice and helped lead them to a 23-12 record last season. The 23 wins are the second-most in school history and last season was just the eighth winning season in school history.
The Owls leader on the court is 6’5 junior guard Connor Cashaw. Cashaw leads the team in per game average in points (16.1), minutes (31.8) and rebounds (6.7). He also leads the team in steals and is second in assists.
The teams second leading scorer also is their best three point shooter in 6’5 grad transfer guard A.J. Lapray. Lapray is an overall 43 percent shooter from the field, which includes an impressive 44 percent from three-point range. Lapray has not played in their last three games and it remains to be seen if he will play against Tech.
Coach Pera likes to play nine or 10 players in a game. He will usually play at least eight of those players double-digit minutes. The problem with the Owls is they just aren’t very good right now. They return eight players from last year’s team, but the only three players on last year’s team to average double digit points per game are gone.
The Owls have three wins on the year, but those came against St. Edwards (Div 2), Northwestern State (Div 1), and St. Thomas (Tx) (NAIA). They also achieved a seven-point victory in an exhibition game against another NAIA opponent, Wayland Baptist.
Rice has played four games against reputable division one opponents. Those four games resulted in losses to UNLV by 27, Ole Miss by 17, UT-Arlington by 20, and Stephen F. Austin by 19.
All indicators point to this game being much like the Kennesaw State game. Tech should easily win this game by 20 or more. Everyone enjoy the throwback atmosphere of The Bubble, the classic Tech uniforms, and most of all, the traditional lopsided victory over Rice.