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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 8, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: United Spirit Arena (15,000) -- Lubbock, Texas. Television: ESPNews. Home Record: UT 16-2, TTU 10-6. Away Record: UT 5-5, TTU 2-10. Neutral Record: UT 1-1, TTU 1-1. Conference Record: UT 11-6, TTU 5-10. Series Record: Texas Tech leads, 79-53.
GAME NOTES: The Texas Longhorns close out the regular season this afternoon with a Big 12 Conference bout against the Texas Tech Red Raiders inside United Spirit Arena in Lubbock.
After notching a 66-54 win over TCU on Wednesday, Texas is hoping to build some momentum heading into next week's conference tournament. The Longhorns have five wins over AP Top-25 foes on their resume', a noticeable improvement over last year's squad that was 14-16 overall and 6-11 in Big 12 play at this point.
Texas Tech has had a rough go of it in league play this season (5-11) and enters this tilt amidst a season-worst, six-game losing streak. The Red Raiders played at eighth-ranked Kansas on Wednesday and were simply overwhelmed in an 82-57 setback.
Texas has won 11 straight and 18 of the last 19 head-to-head meetings against Texas Tech. The Longhorns lead the all-time series, 79-53, and that includes a 67-64 win over the Red Raiders in Austin on Jan. 11.
The Longhorns used a stifling defensive effort to take down TCU earlier this week, as they held the Horned Frogs to 25.9 percent shooting from the floor. They are now 18-0 this season when holding the opponent below 40 percent. Isaiah Taylor (13.0 ppg) led the way with 21 points for the Longhorns, who held a huge 48-32 rebounding advantage. Cameron Ridley chipped in with 14 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double in as many games. Sophomore Connor Lammert also got in on the fun with 10 points and 13 boards for his first career double-double. Rebounding has been the team's biggest strength this season as it boasts a +7.8 margin on the glass. Jonathan Holmes (13.2 ppg, 7.3) and Ridley (11.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg) have been steady presences in the paint.
For the most part, Texas Tech has also held its own on the boards (+3.0). But whereas UT boasts four players averaging double figures in the scoring column, the Red Raiders only have two in Jaye Crockett (13.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Jordan Tolbert (10.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg). Granted, that is a potent duo, as both Crockett and Tolbert are shooting better than 50 percent from the floor and have started every game this season. However, TTU shot just 35.3 percent as a team on Wednesday night, and that was nowhere near enough to hang with a Kansas team that put 82 points on the board in front of its home crowd. The Jayhawks also held a 23-5 advantage in points off turnovers, despite committing only two fewer turnovers than the Red Raiders. Toddrick Gotcher scored a team-high 10 points for TTU in the loss.
Stranger things have happened, but it would certainly be quite the upset if Texas Tech could somehow win this one in its final home game. The Longhorns seem to have righted the ship after a recent slide, but they could use another win here entering the Big 12 Tournament.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas 74, Texas Tech 64
03/08 11:28:18 ET
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