The Oklahoma Sooners pride themselves on defense this season, but they’ll be facing a squad that’s as defensively proficient as any they’ll see this season.
No. 23 Oklahoma (12-2, 1-1) at No. 8 Texas Tech (13-1, 2-0): 8 p.m. CT at United Supermarkets Arena (Lubbock, Texas)
TV: ESPN News
Commentary: David Saltzman and Reid Gettys
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa), Toby Rowland and Kevin Henry announcing
Line: Texas Tech -7 (as of 4:30 p.m. CT)
About Texas Tech
- Ken Pomeroy has been providing college basketball fans with advanced statistics since 2002, and he’s become sort of a standard bearer in that regard. In this instance, his measurements help shed some light on how dominant the Red Raiders happen to be on defense this season. Through 14 games, Texas Tech has the best adjusted defensive efficiency since he started doing this. The Red Raiders also lead the way in raw stats, ranking No. 1 nationally in points allowed (53.1), opponent FG percentage (.334) and opponent three-point percentage (.241).
- One thing that doesn’t shed a positive light on the Raiders, however, is their strength of schedule up to this point, which ranks 303rd nationally. By comparison, OU’s strength of schedule comes in at No. 4.
- The Red Raiders are led by sophomore guard Jarrett Culver, who is second in the Big 12 in PPG at 18.7. Additionally, Culver leads the team in rebounds per game (5.7) while also contributing 4.1 assists per contest (4th in the Big 12). With a FG percentage of 56.0, he also ranks second amongst Big 12 guards in the category. He’s especially dangerous from deep, where he connects on over 42 percent of his attempts, which is good for 4th in the conference.
- Jamuni’s health - At first, it appeared that Oklahoma center Jamuni McNeace had suffered yet another injury setback when OSU’s Yor Anei fell on his ankle this past Saturday. However, it sounds like he’ll be good to go. He’s an impressive defensive presence, but he also makes things easier for Oklahoma on the offensive end. He draws attention down in the paint, which tends to make things easier for guys like Christian James out on the perimeter.
- Another low-scoring affair? - Yup, probably. OU has been involved in some grinders thus far in conference play. Both of these teams play great defense and have not always been pretty on offense, and as Toby Rowland points out, this one might not have many more points than we saw in this past fall’s football matchup.
Just landed in Lubbock where OU & TT combined for 97 points this season in football (51-46). If we get over that total tonight I’m guessing it won’t be by much. This will be a slugfest. @OU_MBBall— Toby Rowland (@TRowOU) January 8, 2019
- A chance to steal one - Oklahoma’s first two conference road games are against Kansas and Texas Tech — the league’s two highest-ranked teams. Other than the trip to Hilton Coliseum (one of the best environments in the sport), every road game from here on out seems like a very winnable contest. If OU can find a way to steal a win in Lubbock this evening, the remaining slate is certainly favorable — or as favorable as a Big 12 schedule can look — and would provide a decent path to a high finish in league play.