#541 Texas Tech University Red Raidersvs.#542 West Virginia University Mountaineers
Written by Benjamin Hayes
Texas Tech Red Raiders (17-9 SU, 12-10 ATS, 12-10 O/U) at West Virginia Mountaineers (20-6 SU, 12-9 ATS, 13-7-1 O/U)
When and Where: Saturday, Feb. 18, WVU Coliseum, Morgantown, Wv., 2pmET
Line: West Virginia -11.5
West Virginia ranks 9th in the nation and could have moved up, had they been able to hold on to a 14-point lead against No. 3 Kansas on the road on Monday with 2:58 left in the game. Instead, the Mountaineers folded late in the game and lost in overtime, 84-80. Texas Tech is coming off their biggest win of the season over No. 4 Baylor on Monday, 84-78. West Virginia is 8-5 in the Big 12, tied with Iowa State for fourth place, They are in the tournament, while Texas Tech (85 RPI) at 5-8, is tied with Kansas State for seventh place. The Red Raiders desperately could use a win against the Mountaineers to have a better shot at the Big Dance. In their first meeting on Jan. 3, Texas Tech upset West Virginia at home, 77-76 in overtime.
Texas Tech had lost two straight coming into the Baylor game against No. 3 Kansas at home by one (80-79) and a much-improved TCU game on the road by one (62-61). If Texas Tech doesn’t make the tournament, it’s due to their road record (1-6). they are 15-2 at home with wins over Kansas, LSU, TCU and Oklahoma. In their win over Baylor on Monday, Keenan Evans scored 23 points and Niem Stevenson added 21 and five assists to lead the Red Raiders. Texas Tech put on a very strong offensive performance with 51.1 percent shooting from the field, allowing the Bears to shoot 45 percent. The Red Raiders trailed by four at the half and by as many as nine in the second half. But the put together a strong run in the last 10 minutes to pick up the win.
Texas Tech averages 75.5 points per game and shoots 48.4 percent from the field (38% 3pt). They allow 66.2 points per game (51st) and 43.1 percent from the field (36.3% 3pt). Evans leads the Red Raiders in scoring with 15.2 points per game on 49.4 percent shooting (46.7% 3pt). Zach Smith adds 13.2 points per game on 54.3 percent shooting with 7.6 rebounds per game.
West Virginia is 8-5 in the Big 12 and was ranked ninth in the nation coming into this week. That shows the strength of this conference. Their RPI dropped to 30 and while they are still going to make the tournament. However, they have to be concerned about their potential seedings. In the NCAA Tournament selection committee ranking released on Feb. 11, West Virginia was listed as a No. 4 seed in the West. They do have wins over Virginia, Baylor and Kansas at home, but a road win over Kansas on Monday would have moved them up. But the Mountaineers had a collapse for the ages. The Mountaineers held Kansas to just 34.5 percent shooting and forced 15 turnovers. However, West Virginia shot 41.3 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 18 times. Esa Ahmad led the Mountaineers with 20 points and seven boards. Tarik Phillip added 18 points and six steals.
On the season, West Virginia averages 85.7 points per game on 47.3 percent shooting (37% 3pt). They allow just 66.5 points per game and 42 percent shooting (35% 3pt). Ahmad leads the Mountaineers with 11.9 points per game on 50.7 percent shooting, while Carter adds 11.8 points and 44.4 percent shooting.
College Basketball Trends:
Texas Tech is:
West Virginia is:
West Virginia has to have some kind of hangover effect from the Kansas loss. How could they blow a 14-point lead with less than three minutes left in the game. Texas Tech may not win this game outright, but they’ll cover. The road team is 8-3 ATS last 11 in this series.
The first game went over between these teams although it did go overtime. To beat West Virginia, you have to handle their press. The Red Raiders did a great job, committing just 12 turnovers. This will be a tougher game on the road so expect the Mountaineers to score more off of their press. This game has gone over in seven of the last eight games. Texas Tech is 8-2 Over their last 10 Saturday games.
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Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!