The No. 10 Texas Tech Red Raiders will next face the Texas Longhorns in Lubbock, Texas. Both teams are coming off of two quality wins as the Red Raiders beat Oklahoma State at home and South Carolina on the road in the Big 12/ SEC Challenge. This will be a big game for both teams as Texas Tech could take one step closer to winning the Big 12 with a win tonight. This will be the second meeting of the season between the Longhorns and Red Raiders as the Longhorns won the first meeting in Austin. The Red Raiders will to win another home game as they are currently undefeated in the United Supermarket Arena in Lubbock.
The Longhorns are led by Mohamed Bamba, a player who seems to be getting better every game. In the last two games, Bamba has averaged 24.5 points and 13 rebounds. Bamba is looking more and more like an All-Big 12 First-Team player. He is the focal point of their offense as the priority is to get the ball in the paint to either Bamba or Dylan Osetkowski, who is averaging 14.5 points and 7 rebounds per game this season. Kerwin Roach II was the big surprise in the last game against the Red Raiders as he had 20 points and 5 rebounds and was the spark off the bench for the Longhorns as they got a win two weeks ago.
Another key ingredient in the Longhorns’ win against the Red Raiders was the lack of offense by the team but more importantly from the reigning Big 12 Player of the Week Keenan Evans. He has bounced back from that awful week to have two amazing performances with a 31 point outburst Saturday against South Carolina. Even more than Keenan Evans, the Red Raiders need the three big men to step up. In the last game against the Longhorns, Tommy Hamilton IV and Norense Odiase had zero points and 2 rebounds combined. Their production has picked up a bit since the addition of Malik Ondigo to the rotation. Those three will need to have a combined 15 points and 15 rebounds in order for the Red Raiders to have a good chance to win this game.
Jarrett Culver and Zhaire Smith will also need to play big roles on the offensive end in this game. Culver had an amazing 25 point performance against the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Zhaire Smith, who seems to be everywhere on the highlight reel, had 11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks in 27 minutes against South Carolina. Smith has really blossomed into an All-Big 12 caliber player since the injury of Zach Smith.
Zhaire Smith is a problem pic.twitter.com/s4sxwovxSe— Slurred Words Sports (@slurredwords69) January 27, 2018
The Red Raiders need an almost perfect game tonight to pull out a win against the Longhorns. The Red Raiders’ game plan should be to speed the game up and let Keenan Evans get his points. The Red Raiders will have extra initiative in this game as they look to avoid being swept by the Texas Longhorns. Mohamed Bamba will have a double-double in this game, but Keenan Evans will counter with another great performance. Zhaire Smith will break the deadlock with a great performance and the Red Raiders ultimately win another close game. Prediction: Red Raiders 73 Longhorns 65.