Game Day Vitals
- #17 West Virginia Mountaineers (13-1, Big XII 1-0, ESPN RPI 10) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (10-4, 0-1 Big XII, ESPN RPI 139)
- Series Record: 5-1, last matchup was in Morgantown W 87-81
- Location: United Spirit Arena (Capacity: 15,020) Lubbock, Texas
- Vegas Lines: (-5.5) for the good guys, O/U: (-133.5)
- Date: Monday, January 5th, 2015, at 7:00PM ET
- Television: ESPNU
- Radio Affiliates
- Texas Tech Red Raiders (10-4, 0-1 Big XII, ESPN RPI 139)
- Head Coach: Tubby Smith, Second year as TTU head coach, 535–248 (.684)
- Last Result - Loss vs. #11 Texas in Lubbock L 70-61
- Official Texas Tech athletics website
- Texas Tech SB Nation site - Viva The Matadors
The Internet is Fun
First off, Juwan Staten looks good to go for tonight. That's pretty damn important even with the Mountaineers proving that they can win without him if Gary Browne decides to go crazy and set career highs. This probably won't happen every night, but serious props has to go Gary's way for the year he has been having. Keep doing your thing, young fella.
As for their opponents, Texas Tech is an interesting case. Coming into this game with a 10-4 record is a good look for a Tubby Smith program that ended up sub-.500 and in the 9 spot on the conference standings last year. Those ten wins don't necessarily mean much, though, because only two of them came from teams above the RPI 150 line. Even still, the two wins against Auburn and Missouri State still don't crack the Top 100. That doesn't necessarily mean they can't beat the top tier teams, it's just that they haven't.
A major problem with this Red Raider squad is that they don't put a ton of points up on the board. They average ~68 points a game which ranks them 166th in the nation. Their leading scorer, 6'3 junior Devaugntah Williams, is the only one that averages in double digits with 11. To put this into perspective, Juwan Staten, Devin Williams, and Jonathan Holton all average double digits.
The strength of this Red Raider team is their front court. Aforementioned Williams and senior point guard Robert Turner do a majority of the scoring and are the motor of this team. A big key will be if Williams and Turner can keep their heads against #PressVirginia. Under the basket, Tubby Smith's team is very young with both their main big men, Zach Smith and Norense Odiase, getting significant minutes as freshmen. These two forwards will progress as their careers move along, but they won't be enough to stop Holton and Williams getting theirs.
Prediction: WVU 73, Texas Tech 68