When Texas Tech released that they would be playing Duke on December 20th, Red Raider fans were elated. The world nodded their head but didn’t expect much - evident by the Big 12 preseason placing Tech at 7th. Yet, ten games later Texas Tech is undefeated with statistically the best defense in the nation (limiting opponents to 32.2 percent shooting). Sure the Red Raiders haven’t had the toughest schedule, but as Coach Beard makes known to his young squad: no team should be disrespected.
On the other side of the court there is a team chock-full of history and prestige. Duke sits at number two in the polls with an offense that is rivaled only by Gonzaga. Ironically it was Gonzaga who handed Duke their one and only loss of the season so far. Despite the setback the Blue Devils have responded in commanding fashion, averaging 95.8 points a game since the loss. Standout players like Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett have dominated in transition for Duke. Coach Krzyzewski of the Blue Devils has spoken highly of his team’s ability to force turnovers and score in transition.
Tonight’s game is deceptively important, but I wouldn’t argue that it comes down to winning or losing. Instead the focus for Texas Tech is on stepping up to that next level of competition. Coach Beard stated on Monday that “if you ever want to win the fight, you have to become part of the fight.” That means being able to play competitively against teams that are constantly a part of that “fight.” Duke has had the spotlight on them all season and now Texas Tech has the chance to show a huge audience what it’s made of.
You can find the game on ESPN2, tip off is at 6pm. The current line is Duke by 8.