The No. 7 Texas Tech Red Raiders face off tonight against the No. 23 Oklahoma Sooners. Tonight will be the Red Raider’s whiteout game and is also a sellout. The atmosphere will be electric and it will be a true representative of what love this community has for this team. The Sooners, having dropped their last three games, will be looking to get back to their winning ways while the Red Raiders will be looking to extend their win streak to seven games.
The Sooners run through their magnificent freshman point guard Trae Young. Young is averaging 29.5 points and 9.4 assists per game. Young is probably the favorite to win the Wooden Award and Big 12 Player of the Year at the moment but I believe that Texas Tech’s Keenan Evans will give him a run for his money in both of these awards. Evans is leading the Red Raiders with 18.4 points per game and 3.5 assists per game. Evans tends to be more methodical and runs within Chris Beard’s offense while Young has been given the reigns of the Oklahoma offense and leads them to huge offensive numbers as they lead the nation in points scored.
Although Young has better offensive numbers than Evans, Evans is the much better defensive player. The Texas Tech defense as a whole is much better than Oklahoma’s as they only allow 62 points per game and will need to focus on Trae Young in tonight’s match-up to have a solid chance to win.
The Red Raiders will run many players at Trae Young and make him work on the defensive end. Look for Keenan Evans to really attack Young and get to the basket. If the Red Raiders can get Young into foul trouble, they will be in a better position to win this game. Our centers will need to have another great game tonight. Tommy Hamilton IV had 14 points against Kansas State and in order for the Red Raiders to become truly dominant, Hamilton will need to continue his great play and scoring off the bench.
The Sooner’s bench is not as glamorous as one may think. They played 7 players off the bench but only 2 of them played over 10 minutes. Coach Lon Kruger uses most of his bench players in sparing minutes to get their starters breaks. This can be used as an advantage for the Red Raiders as Coach Beard uses his rotation players in big minutes. The bench play of the Red Raiders can be huge tonight as I see Brandon Francis having another great game at home.
In order for Texas Tech to win tonight in Lubbock, they will need to limit the impact of Trae Young but more importantly, they will need to limit the assists numbers he puts out. Young is a volume shooter, as he usually throws up 20 shots per game and makes only 40% of them. He has struggled recently away from home and although he most likely gets 20 points this game, I see Keenan Evans countering with another great game of his own and the Red Raiders will hold serve at home. Prediction: Red Raiders 76 Sooners 67.