Two Top 25 teams from the Big 12 are set to square off on Wednesday night as the No. 15 Texas Tech Red Raiders travel to Austin, Texas, to play the No. 4 Texas Longhorns.
Over the weekend, Texas won in an instant classic in overtime against West Virginia at the buzzer on a three by junior guard Andrew Jones. Texas Tech is coming off its second consecutive win after beating Iowa State in blowout fashion.
Defense leading the way
This is the Longhorns’ best run in the national spotlight in nearly a decade. This season, Texas is doing it with a ton of experience on the perimeter and young dynamic bigs at the rim.
Head coach Shaka Smart and his Longhorns are 5-1 at home this season, with their only loss coming on Dec. 6 to Villanova (68-64). Texas has four players averaging double figures this season: Courtney Ramey (13.8), Matt Coleman III (13.6), Andrew Jones (13.4), and freshman big man Greg Brown (12.0 and a team-high 7.9 rebounds).
Aside from this team’s offensive prowess, the Longhorns lead the Big 12 in holding opponents to 38.3 percent shooting and 27.1 percent shooting from three.
Texas fans have to be excited about their perfect start in Big 12 play (4-0), but Smart is still searching for improvement. For as great as his defense has been through the team’s first 11 games, he knows the Longhorns can be better on the ball.
On the rise
Texas Tech is on the rise in the AP Top 25, climbing up to No. 15 overall. The Red Raiders come into this matchup sixth in the nation, limiting opponents to 58.0 points per game with a 7.2 turnover margin in their favor.
This team gets it done at the free-throw line, leading the Big 12 and coming in second in the nation with 241 free throws made on the year.
Red Raiders head coach Chris Beard stresses the importance of turnovers to his club. This team has done a good job taking care of the ball early on in the year, finishing with 10 or fewer turnovers six times already.
In Beard’s five seasons, the Red Raiders have committed fewer than 10 turnovers 57 times. This became a key to their success, dating back to their 2019 run to the NCAA title game.
Texas Tech also has four players averaging in double figures, which is led by their guard play. Mac McClung leads the way at 15.3, Terrence Shannon Jr. with 13.6, Kyler Edwards with 10.6, and Kevin McCullar with 10.3.
McClung is going to be the key to the Red Raiders pulling an upset on the road; the transfer guard from Georgetown is averaging 18.4 points per game through the Red Raiders’ first five Big 12 games.
In Big 12 play, McClung is shooting 47.0 percent from the field and is 22-of-29 from the free-throw line. \
Betting Lines & Odds
The Longhorns are three-point home favorites. This game features two of the top three defensive teams in the Big 12.
As stated, the Red Raiders are only allowing a league-low 58.0 points per game, while the Longhorns are allowing 63.7. This is going to be a grind-it-out game on both ends for these clubs, and scoring outputs should sit low. The Longhorns are too much in this one.
Free Betting Pick: Texas Longhorns -3
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