The No. 21 Texas Tech Red Raiders face the Florida Atlantic Owls tonight in Lubbock. The Owls are 6-4 with their last loss coming Saturday night on a buzzer-beater against Arkansas State. The Red Raiders look to extend their win streak to 4 and complete their second to last non-conference game before the Big 12 season begins on December 29th against the Baylor Bears. Without further ado, let’s meet the Florida Atlantic Owls.
The Florida Atlantic Owls come out with an eight-man rotation. They have a legitimate seven-footer in Ronald Delph. Delph is averaging 13 points and nearly 10 boards per game. He is a walking double-double and is the Owls’ best player in my opinion. He is their anchor on both ends of the floor and will be a challenge for Norense Odiase and Zach Smith down low.
Their leading scorer is senior guard Gerdarius Troutman. Troutman is averaging 14 points per game and is shooting 46% from behind the arc and shoots 88% from the free throw line. He drives a lot and gets to the line as he is also averaging five attempts per game in the last few games. Anthony Adger has been their best assist man, having five assists in each of their last two games.
Three Keys to the Game
Delph is probably one of the best big-men the Red Raiders have played thus far. If the Red Raiders can control his boards and inside touches, the game will be much easier to control. Norense Odiase and Tommy Hamilton IV will be the two main defenders on Delph throughout the game. If the Red Raiders can control Delph’s impact down low, then the lack of three-point ability will make the it very hard for the Owls to score easily.
Wear them out
One of the biggest strengths of the Red Raiders is their depth. This has been seen in a couple of big games as it was influential in the overtime win against Nevada. With 10 players in the rotation for the Red Raiders, they have the ability to push the tempo in the second half of games and really wear teams out. Look for this to continue and look for Davide Moretti to continue the get more minutes as Moretti is getting increasingly better on both ends of the floor.
Playing From Behind
At some point in this game, I see the Red Raiders trailing. In two of the last three games, the Red Raiders have trailed by at least eight points. This team so far has been good against early adversity. In last Saturday’s game against Rice, the Rice Owls were able to execute a game plan and take an early 21-13 lead against the Red Raiders. The Red Raiders stormed back and gave the Owls fits for the rest of the first half on the defensive end and finally got some shots to fall. If the Red Raiders can respond the way they have in the past few games, they will be able to win this game.
The Red Raiders have been able to win in a number of ways against good opponents in the last couple of weeks. This game, I think post play will be key with Florida Atlantic bringing a great seven-footer to the game. Also look for the small-ball lineups to try and push the pace to wear the Owls out in the second half. In the end, I see the Red Raiders pulling away late from a talented Florida Atlantic team. Prediction: Texas Tech 79 Florida Atlantic 55.