The No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners are set to face the fourth top-10 opponent in their last seven outings as the No. 8 Texas Tech Red Raiders roll into the Lloyd Noble Center on Tuesday night. The Sooners have won two of the previous three aforementioned matchups, and another victory would bolster OU’s NCAA Tournament resume even more.
No. 9 Oklahoma (12-2) vs. No. 8 Texas Tech (14-1) - 6 p.m. CT
Commentary: Clay Matvick and Tim Welsh
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa)
Line: Oklahoma -2.0 (as of 12:30 p.m. CT)
About Texas Tech
- The Red Raiders are coming off of an impressive week of basketball, which included a win at Allen Fieldhouse for the first time in school history. Tech then followed that up with a convincing 74-58 win over Kansas State in Lubbock.
- Texas Tech allows only 59.2 points per game and is No. 3 in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency rating.
- The Red Raiders are led on offense by Keenan Evans, who is averaging 17.2 points and 3.6 assists per game. Freshman guards Zhaire Smith and Jarrett Culver are the other primary offensive weapons, averaging 10.7 and 10.3 PPG, respectively.
- Chris Beard is 32-15 in two years as Texas Tech’s head coach, leading the team to a record of 18-14 in his first season after head coaching stints at Little Rock, Angelo State and McMurry.
- Good vs. Good - Oklahoma leads the nation in points per game with 94.4, while Texas Tech is unquestionably one of the nation’s best defensive teams. Texas Tech will likely try its hardest to keep the ball out of Trae Young’s hands as much as possible, a strategy that worked quite well for West Virginia. Tech’s defense obviously operates a bit differently than West Virginia’s, but expect them to try to get Young out of his comfort zone all the same.
- Young at the line - Much is understandably made of Young’s ability to shoot and dish, but his ability to get to the basket and draw contact has been vital, as well. Young began to find success in the second half against West Virginia by doing just that, and I’d expect that to happen again if the going gets tough tonight. He leads the nation in free throws made per game (8.4) and has made 85.4 percent of his attempts, so it’s not a bad way to go about things.
- Defending Manek - One of West Virginia’s most important defensive accomplishments on Saturday night was its ability to blanket Brady Manek and prevent him from getting the ball. The freshman went off against Oklahoma State and benefitted from a lot of ball screen action with Young, but West Virginia pretty much eliminated that. If OU can find ways to get him open on Tuesday, I’ll like the Sooners’ chances. Manek is shooting better than 42 percent from beyond the arc this season and has one of the quicker releases out there.
I think Trae Young will get to cooking again and lead OU to a nice bounce-back win at the LNC tonight. Texas Tech will have some success against him, but he’ll find a way to get himself going and others going.
Oklahoma 86, Texas Tech 80