Photo By Steven Chapman

Texas Tech Opens Big 12 Tourney Against Texas

Texas Tech takes on Texas 8 p.m. Wednesday in the first round of the Big 12 tournament at the Spirit Center in Kansas City (MO).

Who: Texas Tech (18-13, 6-12) vs. Texas (10-21, 4-14)

Where: Kansas City, Missouri, Sprint Center

When: Wednesday, March 8, 8:00 p.m. (CT)

TV: ESPNU

Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network

Notable: Texas Tech has not defeated Texas multiple times in one season since the 1995-96 season in which the Red Raiders finished Southwest Conference play undefeated.

Quotable: “Hopefully you're always adjusting. You're always learning and growing and getting better. This year has been so very different than last year just from the standpoint of who we have on our team and just the overall makeup. But what's been the exact same is the Big 12 in terms of being really tough, night in and night out. I need to continue to learn and progress. And if you want to, call it adjust. It is different I think with every team you coach. It's different from this year to last year. It'll be different next year. It'll be a different dynamic on next year's team.”—Texas head coach Shaka Smart on adjusting to life in the Big 12

The Texas Tech Red Raiders will attempt to beat the Texas Longhorns twice in one week in the first round of the Big 12 basketball tournament. The Red Raiders handed UT a 67-57 defeat in Lubbock on March 1. To gain consecutive victories over Texas, however, Tech will have to buck some history and some trends. In addition to not having beaten the Longhorns at least twice in one season since 1995-96, the Red Raiders will also have to snap a four-game Big 12 tournament losing streak, and will have to break UT’s four-game winning streak in first-round Big 12 tournament games.  

The Longhorns, of course, are essentially the same team Tech knocked off one week ago. In Big 12 play Texas is dead last in free throw shooting percentage, scoring offense, and 3-point shooting percentage. They are also ninth in assist/turnover ratio, and eighth in assists and turnover margin. Obviously, the Longhorns are not an offensive dynamo. 

https://twitter.com/TexasTechMBB/status/839227084371173376

Defensively, UT is a mid-pack Big 12 team, with defensive rebounding percentage (No. 2 in the Big 12 in conference play) the Horns’ strong suit on that side of the court.

Texas does, however, have some nice players individual players led by freshman big man Jarrett Allen. In Big 12 play he averages 16 points, two blocked shots and 10 boards per contest, while shooting a Big 12 best 60 percent from the floor. In the last meeting between the two teams, however, the Red Raiders fronted and denied the ball to Allen, and that defense was a huge key to Tech’s success in that game.

Texas Tech is led by third-team All Big 12 combo guard Keenan Evans who averages 17 points per game in Big 12 play while shooting 87 percent from the free throw line and 43 percent from beyond the arc. All of the other players on Tech’s roster are effectively role players of one sort or another.

From a team standpoint, the Red Raiders do not move the needle statistically. Indeed, given Tech’s statistical impoverishment, it’s somewhat surprising the team managed to win six conference games.

The Red Raiders’ forte in Big 12 play has been scoring defense, where they check in at No. 3 in the conference in Big 12 games alone. 

On the other hand, Tech is ninth in field goal percentage, No. 8 in rebounding margin, No. 9 in blocked shots and assists, and last in steals. 

Should the Red Raiders knock off Texas, they would play West Virginia in the second round of the Big 12 tournament 6 p.m. Thursday.


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