Texas Tech (8-7) at Texas (11-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 11, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Frank Erwin Center (16,734) -- Austin, Texas. Television: Longhorn Network. Home Record: TTU 7-3, UT 8-2. Away Record: TTU 0-3, UT 2-1. Neutral Record: TTU 1-1, UT 1-1. Conference Record: TTU 0-2, UT 0-2. Series Record: Texas leads, 78-53.
GAME NOTES: Both the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Texas Longhorns will attempt to bounce back from 0-2 starts in the Big 12 Conference on Saturday when the squads meet up at the Frank Erwin Center.
Texas Tech opened up league play with home losses to nationally-ranked Iowa State (73-62) and West Virginia (89-86 in OT), giving it four setbacks in the past five games to dip to 8-7 overall. The Red Raiders have not fared well away from Lubbock either, as they have lost all three of their true road games.
Texas enjoyed a strong showing in its non-conference slate, as it won 11 of its first 13 matchups, but it too is winless in the Big 12 after suffering defeats to Oklahoma (88-85) and most recently at nationally-ranked Oklahoma State on Wednesday night (87-74). The good news for the Longhorns in this one is that they've been largely impressive at the Erwin Center (8-2).
The Longhorns own a 78-53 advantage over the Red Raiders in the all-time series, which includes wins in 10 straight matchups dating back to 2009.
The Red Raiders trailed WVU by three in the final minute of regulation in their most recent matchup before Terry Henderson tied the game and forced overtime with a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left. They went on to score first in the extra session and never relinquished the lead down the stretch. Despite getting outshot from the field, 55.7 percent to 46.7 percent, they made 22- of-26 from the foul line and earned extra possession by winning the rebounding battle, 35-26. Jordan Tolbert tallied a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, Toddrick Gotcher finished with 17 points and five assists, while Jaye Crockett and Dusty Hannahs netted 15 and 14 points, respectively.
On the season, Texas Tech has been impressive offensively, shooting 47.4 percent from the field for 74.3 ppg, which is 4.5 ppg more than it allows. Adding to its positive traits are its +4.7 rebounding margin and its stellar .754 free-throw percentage. The team's strength comes in the frontcourt, where Crockett (14.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and Tolbert (12.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg) both shoot greater than 59 percent from the field. Robert Turner is the top threat from the perimeter with 9.1 ppg, although he does so on a lackluster .361 field goal percentage.
After taking a brief one-point lead in the second half against Oklahoma State earlier in the week, the Longhorns fell victim to a 9-0 OSU run and would never again get close to the lead on their way to a 13-point defeat. They shot a modest 40 percent from the field, which include just a 3-of-18 showing from beyond the arc. Demarcus Holland (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Jonathan Holmes (10 points, 12 rebounds) both registered double-doubles. Damarcus Croaker and Connor Lammert were solid off the bench with 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Isaiah Taylor added 10 points.
Texas is typically a much more efficient squad, as it shoots 44.2 percent from the field for 78.5 ppg while boasting positive margins in terms of scoring (+6.6), rebounding (+7.4) and turnovers (+0.5), although it does have one glaring weakness, shooting just 63.5 percent from the charity stripe. Five players score in double figures on a regular basis, led by Holmes' 13.0 ppg. Taylor (11.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg) and Javan Felix (11.1 ppg, 3.1 apg) man the perimeter, but Felix shoots a meager 33.7 percent from the floor. Ridley (10.7 ppg) and Holland (10.1 ppg) round out the balanced squad, with Ridley leading the team in both rebounding (7.3 rpg) and blocks (2.3 bpg) as well.
The Longhorns' recent slide is worrisome for their long-term success in the Big 12, but they should find a way to get healthy in this one hosting the inconsistent Red Raiders.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas 79, Texas Tech 71
01/11 12:37:46 ET