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The Preview: Texas Tech looks for second straight Elite 8 appearance

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The Red Raiders will have to go past the Wolverines of Michigan to reach the Elite 8.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Texas Tech vs Buffalo Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Have you ever looked in a mirror? Of course you have, it’s something everyone does (hopefully) everyday. This Texas Tech team will almost be looking into a weirdly dressed mirror on Thursday when they face the Michigan Wolverines in the Sweet 16 Round of the NCAA Tournament. Tough coach and a defense first mindset are both things that both of these teams can be described by. Both teams play together and don’t make mistakes. Both teams will be looking for an Elite 8 appearance come Thursday night so let’s get into what makes this Michigan team tick.

Michigan plays with 7 guys in it’s rotation which almost matches the 8 guys Tech plays. Both teams will most likely be trying to be aggressive and get the opposing players in foul trouble. The main difference between these two teams is that the Red Raiders have a legit superstar in Jarrett Culver where the Wolverines have a bunch of great players. Here are some of the guys the Wolverines have:

Ignas Brazdeikis: 6’7 Freshman Forward

14.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 40% 3PT%

This player does a little bit of everything for this team. He’s a good scorer, inside and out, and can get some boards when the team needs it. He leads this team in scoring and is second on the team in three point percentage. He will most likely draw Tariq Owens as a starting match-up as he plays mainly power forward.

Zavier Simpson: 6’0 Junior Point Guard

9.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 6.6 APG

Sampson is a prototypical point guard. He looks to get others to score before he looks for his own shot, he is a crisp passer that can make any type of pass and he can also shoot it himself a little bit. He also averages over 1 steal per game and will most likely play on Davide Moretti.

Jordan Poole: 6’5 Sophomore Guard

12.8 PPG, 2.1 APG, 83% FT%

Poole has been a good guard for this team. He is second in scoring and leads the team in free throws. He can get to the rack but often settles for a tough outside jumper instead of attacking the inside. For these reasons I believe that Matt Mooney will be a great match-up for Poole. Don’t doubt Poole’s defensive ability either as he is good at on the ball defense.

Charles Matthews: 6’6 Senior Guard

12.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.4 APG

Matthews is the emotional leader of this team. He is the lone senior in this rotation and shows it with his maturity on the court. He is the best player on this team in terms of two things: on ball defense and driving to the basket. Jarrett Culver will be on this match-up, looking to post Matthews up and drive past him, both will be hard.

Jon Teske: 7’1 Junior Center

9.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 2.1 BPG

This guys is a monster in the paint. The good news for Texas Tech is that they have two monsters in the paint. Teske is often on the receiving end of assists be Simpson or Poole from pick and rolls. Norense Odiase is a good match-up. With Odiase’s physicality and toughness, Teske will have a tough time scoring.

Texas Tech Defensive Strategy:

Play your way. That’s it. This team is not an elite shooting team, nor do they pound it in the paint, nor do they run up and down the floor. Getting a good defensive performance out of the Red Raider bigs will go a long way in securing a victory.

Texas Tech Offensive Strategy:

When watching film, one of the things I noticed is that at times Michigan was a bit slow in getting help defense in the paint and a tad bit slow on rotations on the perimeter. Now these mistakes did not occur often, but if the Red Raiders were able to take advantage of these mistakes, it might be enough to get a victory. If this doesn’t work, giving the ball to Jarrett Culver and letting him make something happen early in the game might be a good way to get some early offense.

Both of these teams are tough. It won’t be a high scoring game and each mistake will be magnified as neither of these teams turn the ball over that much. Getting the Wolverines in foul trouble early in the game could give Tech an advantage, so could getting Jarrett Culver involved early.

Prediction:

Texas Tech: 63

Michigan: 59