Wednesday night in Austin, Texas the No. 8 Texas Tech Red Raiders will face the Texas Longhorns. Both teams were involved in one point games on Saturday as the Red Raiders defeated the then No. 2 West Virginia Mountaineers by a score of 72-71. The Texas Longhorns lost a close one against the Oklahoma State Cowboys by a score of 65-64.
The Longhorns, coached by Shaka Smart, are 11-6 with a 2-3 Big 12 record. They have been playing seven players in their rotation and four or five of them play over 25 minutes per game. They are led by forwards Dylan Osetkowski and Mohamed Bamba. Bamba is a five-star freshman that is averaging a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds per game. He also leads the Big 12 with 4 blocks per game. Bamba is their defensive anchor with a wingspan of 8’0 and a standing reach of 9’6. His measurable stats are amazing and that is what makes him such a defensive threat.
Osetkowski is the Longhorn’s leading scorer at 15 points per game. He is a dual threat and can shoot both inside and out as he shoots 30% from behind the arc. He has shot 76 shots from behind the 3-point line, most on the team. He tends to be a volume shooter but will still get his points. He is also averaging 7 rebounds per game and had five offensive boards in the loss against Oklahoma State on Saturday.
The Longhorns now have a true point guard in freshman Matt Coleman. He has averaged 9 points and 5 assists this season for the Longhorns. He has really flourished recently as Coleman has had at least 5 assists in the last five games and had a 12 assist game in the double overtime win against TCU last week. Niem Stevenson will get most of the defensive reps on him as Coleman runs the offense for the Longhorns.
With the loss of Zach Smith to a broken bone in the foot, the Red Raider defense has suffered a little bit of late. The defense is still potent and suffocating, but the Red Raiders miss their defensive leader. Norense Odiase has been stepping up in Smith’s absence as he will most likely guard Bamba in the paint and Zhaire Smith along with Justin Gray will guard Dylan Osetkowski.
The Red Raiders will still rely on Keenan Evans offensively for a lion’s share of the points. Evans had 20 against West Virginia and is the man Beard looks to when the Red Raiders need a bucket. Brandone Francis also stepped up against West Virginia as Francis had 17 points.
The Red Raiders’ depth will be a big factor against the Longhorns. If the Red Raiders can control the paint and hold the effectiveness of Bamba and Osetkowski to a minimum, the Red Raiders will have a great chance to win this one. I think Keenan Evans will have a massive game on the road against the Longhorns and that the Red Raiders will ultimately pick up a win in Austin.