No. 12 Texas Tech (22-8, 10-7) winds up the regular season with a home game against TCU (21-9, 9-8) Saturday in the United Supermarkets Arena. The game is scheduled for a 3:00 p.m. tip off.
The Red Raiders are limping, literally, to the finish line of the regular season. They have now lost four in a row after posting a seven game winning streak and holding sole possession of first place in the Big 12 Conference.
The Horned Frogs, on the other hand, are building momentum heading into the Big 12 Tournament. They have won four in a row and are an impressive 5-3 over the second half of the conference round robin schedule. Let’s take a quick look at the Frogs.
TCU is led in scoring by the big 6’11 senior forward Vladimir Brodziansky. Vlad averages 15 points per game in an average of 27 minutes per game. He shoots a very solid 57 percent from the field and is also the teams second leading rebounder at 4.9 per game.
The teams leading board clearer is 6’7 senior guard Kenrich Williams with 9.3 rebounds per game. Williams is also second on the team in total assists with 119 and scoring at 13 points per game in 35 minutes per game. The team assist leader is 6’1 junior guard Alex Robinson with 169.
Desmond Bane and Kouat Noi round out the remaining Horned Frogs who average double-digit per game scoring averages. Both Bane and Noi are also better than 50 percent shooters from the field including better than 45 percent from three.
TCU head coach Jamie Dixon uses mainly an eight player rotation. All eight players average at least double-digit minutes per game while six of them will play at least half the game. Once again, Tech should have the rotation advantage.
One more time in our house. Be there. #WreckEm #4To1 pic.twitter.com/HYghWfWtNY— Texas Tech Basketball (@TexasTechMBB) March 3, 2018
As mentioned earlier, TCU is on a bit of a hot streak and is playing well over the last eight games. However, upon closer inspection you see all three of their losses were against the top three teams in the conference including one, Texas Tech, at home. That also means that four of the last five wins have come at home.
TCU is only 3-6 on the road this year. The wins came early on against a struggling Baylor and the other two against Iowa State and Oklahoma State. I will give credit to the Frogs because only three of their league losses came by more than five points. Those were to, you guessed it, Tech, West Virginia, and Kansas.
Since this is the last home game for the Red Raiders then it is also senior night. Therein lies the wildcard. The Tech fans will show up to honor Tommy Hamilton IV, Justin Gray, Niem Stevenson, Zach Smith, and Keenan Evans. Five seniors the fans absolutely adore and admire for their grit and determination.
It has been well discussed about the injury situation. Gray looks like the only one with a question mark as of mid-week. Evans and Smith figure to play but it is a question as to how much.
Tech needs to win this game. They don’t really need to win it for tournament seeding purposes. It would be nice to win this and possibly end up with the two seed. But Tech is assured of no worse than a three seed and that’s not much better or worse than two. The Red Raiders need to win this to gain momentum. Learn what winning feels like again. It’s been a long time.
The fans will be there in full force. If Tech plays anywhere near their ability, they win. Period. This looks to me to be a much needed win for the Red Raiders. Too much pride.
Prediction: Tech 78, TCU 65