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Red Raiders look to start season strong with win against Incarnate Word

The Elite Eight Banner will be officially raised tonight, so be there!

NCAA Basketball: Nevada at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s finally November 6, a day Red Raider basketball fans have been waiting for since the end of March, the season opener for this team. The Red Raiders will raise their Elite Eight Banner tonight in front of what I hope to be a raucous crowd at the United Supermarkets Arena tonight at 6:30.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-Villanova vs Texas Tech Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Tech Red Raiders will be facing off against the Incarnate Word Cardinals in what will be both team’s first game of the regular season.

As most of you know, the Red Raiders are coming off the best season in team history as they had a record of 27-10 and finished with an appearance in the Elite Eight, where they lost to eventual champion Villanova. The Cardinals are coming off a 7-21 season that saw them only win two conference games. They also had a horrific 16 game losing streak during last season.

These two things prompted the university to bring in a new coach, Dr. Carson Cunningham. Cunningham joins Incarnate Word this season after coaching NAIA school Carroll College for five seasons where he turned that program from a struggling program to a powerhouse in NAIA division one.

Cunningham has some good players and a very young team coming into this season. Leading the team in almost every major statistical category will be Charles Brown III, he is also the only senior on this team. Brown averaged 13.5 points per game last season, leading the team. He also led the team in minutes with 30 per game, was second on the team in rebounds with 5.2, and was their best outside shooter percentage wise at 47%. At 6’7, he is one of the tallest and most experienced players on this team. Brown is turnover prone however, as he averaged nearly three turnovers per game last season.

Keaton Hervey and and Christian Peevey will also be looking to make a huge impact on this team this season. Hervey is probably their best prospect for leading this team for years to come as he is only a sophomore and played a ton of minutes for the team last season. He plays the wing position at 6’7 (Editor’s note: Shoutout Keaton, who went to the same high school as me. Put on for Cedar Park, fam). He will be looked to for scoring and defensive with his lanky size.

Peevey will also play the forward position and at 6’6 will be looked to for rebounds and inside scoring. These three players also shoot free throws very well, so the defense of the Red Raiders will need to play solid defense and not give these guys easy chances from the line.

NCAA Basketball: Incarnate Word at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

These three players will be making up the frontcourt of the Cardinals. The backcourt is an entirely different question of itself as most of their huge contributors at the guard position have graduated after last season. A couple of names to look at are sophomore Cody Graham and junior Jorden Kite as these two had bench roles last season. This team has eight newcomers to the squad, all of them freshman.

These five aforementioned players will most likely be relied upon this game, but the bench will be made up mostly of freshman, look for Texas Tech to play some zone defense against this team that doesn’t have to many shooters. I also see the Red Raiders playing a ton of two big sets with Norense Odiase, Tariq Owens, and Malik Ondigo to overpower the lack of size on the Cardinal’s frontcourt.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Tech at Northwestern Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

I think the Red Raiders have a great shot at not only winning this game, but blowing this team out in the opening game of the season. The Red Raiders not only have an advantage in size, but also in speed and skill. This team is ready to go, and I don’t think the Cardinals have the guys to play with a team of Tech’s caliber.

What do you all think about the game tonight? Let us know in the comment section below!