Big Monday comes around to Lubbock again tomorrow evening as Texas Tech sits two games away from at least a share of the Big 12 title. Currently sitting on a home record of 16-1, the Red Raiders have proved that the United Supermarkets Arena is one of the toughest arenas in college basketball. With the 2019 regular season wrapping up and conference races nearing the finish - Texas Tech has planted itself firmly on the cusp of history.
The victory over TCU in Fort Worth extended Tech’s win streak to 7 games (!!!) and established a new program record of twelve (12) Big 12 conference wins in a season. The fifteen-point victory is highlighted by five Red Raiders (Culver, Moretti, Owens, Corprew & Mooney) scoring in the double digits, Tariq Owens making it on Sportscenter’s top ten AND not top ten, and this:
Tomorrow, Tech will host its final game of the season against Texas inside the United Supermarkets Arena for Senior night. In the past four meetings against the Longhorns, the Red Raiders have won three (Coach Beard is 4-3 all time). The victory over the Longhorns in mid January broke a 22-game losing streak at the Frank Erwin Center dating back to 1996. Texas Tech has never swept the Longhorns in the regular-season of the Big 12 but have a suprising chance to do so tomorrow amidst the roar of a home crowd on ESPN’s Big Monday and Senior night. The University will honor Norense Odiase, Tariq Owens, Brandone Francis, Matt Mooney and Andrew Sorrels along with managers Colin Baxter and Chris Vanisko. Also expect Marsha Sharp, Sheryl Swoopes and Carolyn Thompson to be in house for their induction into the Ring of Honor!
Texas Tech has been on fire for its last seven games, leading at halftime by double-digits at TCU (+18), Oklahoma State (+10), Kansas (+25), Baylor (+13), at Oklahoma State (+19), at Oklahoma (+11), West Virginia (+15) and against TCU again (+16). A big piece of this success was improving on their offensive percentages as well as limiting the turnovers. TTU has managed a +4.4 turnover margin during this winning streak; forcing 109 turnovers from their opponents. This +3 average for the season leads the Big 12 and ranks 25th nationally. Defensively the Red Raiders are No. 1 in Kenpom, allowing only three opponents to score over 70 all season (KU, Baylor & OSU) but ultimately keeping opponents to 60.4 ppg and 37.1% from the field (36.6% from 3).
Coach Beard will be looking towards key players to be at their best against a Texas team that has had some struggles along with some great victories. At 8-8 in the conference, the Longhorns are sometimes hard to watch and sometimes conference title contenders. Saturday showcased the latter as they took a once-conference-favorite to the cleaners with a 86-69 victory at home. Coach Shaka Smart surely found some rest in the commanding victory but needs to get his guys back in gear before taking on this Tech team.
Unfortunately for Texas they will be without star guard Kerwin Roach for violation of team rules. Roach averages 15 ppg and has been clutch for the Longhorns in difficult games - he had 17 points in Texas’ last game against the Red Raiders. In their victory against the Cyclones, Jase Febres stepped up with 26 points of his own. Courtney Ramsey, Dylan Osetkowski and Elija Long also managed double-digit performances against Iowa State to create a large margin of victory. With how Texas Tech defends, though, it is incredible unlikely that the Red Raiders will give up 86 points to the Longhorns while their star is down but you can’t overlook any team in this conference.
Tip off at 8pm!
Texas Tech vs Texas by the numbers: