Texas Tech’s second half of Big 12 play starts by hosting West Virginia on another Big Monday from ESPN. On Saturday, the Red Raiders dropped a big one against Kansas in the Phog but look to bounce back at home. The last time Texas Tech took on West Virginia the Red Raiders succeeded by a 62-59 margin in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Coach Beard’s record at home deserves applause but will come under pressure against a West Virginia team that can dance with the best of them. After defeating Kansas and Oklahoma, the Mountaineers show an ability to take control of games - but their losses to TCU and Iowa State equally show their weaknesses. Brandon Knapper has shown offensive prowess after a 25 point game against Oklahoma along with Derek Culver, Wesley Harris, and Esa Ahmad becoming more consistent shooters. Ahmad leads the Mountaineers with a 12.4 ppg average but Derek Culver is quickly becoming their go-to clutch man.
After Kansas, Texas Tech’s defense fell to second in the nation limiting opponents to 36.6 percent shooting - good enough to lead the Big 12. The big man Tariq Owens has played a large part in Tech’s domination ranking 13th nationally and second in the Big 12 with 2.5 blocks per game (a total of 54). Matt Mooney has also afforded some breathing room as the season goes on with his 35 steals, ranking third in the conference. The Red Raiders are currently fourth in the conference with a 46.5 shooting percentage, led by Jarrett Culver with 18.1 ppg. Tech ranks 18th in the AP Poll, 16th in the NET rankings and 15th in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll.