The third-seeded Texas Tech Red Raiders take on the sixth-seeded Florida Gators tonight in Dallas for a trip to the Sweet Sixteen. Both teams have won one game in the NCAA tournament as the Red Raiders defeated the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks by a score of 70-60 and the Florida Gators defeated the Saint Bonaventure Bonnies by a score of 77-62. This will be a game where defense will be the key for the Red Raiders.
This Florida tea lives and dies from the three-point line as they shot the three ball 32 times against St. Bonaventure. They also played 5 main players. In their game against St. Bonaventure, five main players played over 25 minutes and only three other players played over ten minutes in the game. This could be an advantage for a team that has huge depth such as the Red Raiders.
Everything for the Gators runs through senior point guard Chris Chiozza. The 6-0 guard averages 11 points and 6 assists per game. He runs their entire offense and everything they do runs through him. He had 11 assists in the win against St. Bonaventure and will be looking to improve on that performance. Another player that Red Raiders surely need to key in on is Egor Koulechov. As some of you will remember, Koulechov is a graduate transfer from Rice, where in his last game against the Red Raiders, he dropped 25 points. He is a great three-point shooter and can get hot at any moment.
Jalen Hudson leads the Gators in scoring with 15.3 points per game. Hudson is a great shooter and can score from anywhere, as he is a 40% shooter from behind the arc and powers the scoring from the Gators. Keith Stone is their main 6th man off the bench and anchors down the inside on defense. He is also a good three-point shooter, as he shoots 43% from behind the three-point arc.
The Red Raiders will have a distinct advantage on the inside against the Gators. The Gator’s big men don’t have much to do with their offense unless they are shooters. Their main role is to get offensive rebounds and set screens. This will hopefully allow the Red Raiders defense to get set more on the inside and get more rebounds.
The Red Raiders will need another solid performance out of Keenan Evans to win, everyone knows that. They also need other players to step up and play well. They had a rather balanced attack as only one player that played failed to score in the game. They will need this kind of diverse scoring again in this game to make it to the Sweet Sixteen. I think that Zhaire Smith has now become the second option on offense as he seems to get better at scoring from anywhere on the floor.
It will be a great matchup for Tech as they defend the three-point line very well. I also see Zach Smith playing a bigger role in this game than in the last one. He brings energy to the floor and can make some very exciting plays. If Keenan Evans can turn it on late like he did in the last game, watch out, this team will go places.
What do you think of tonight’s game with the Gators? How many points does Keenan Evans have? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!