4 Point Plan for Texas Tech to Advance to the Final 4
Texas Tech has found itself in uncharted waters as they head into the programs first-ever Elite 8 against Villanova, the highest seed left in the tournament. The Red Raiders open the Elite 8 weekend as the biggest underdog with a +6.5 line in the game. The next biggest spread is Michigan being favored over Florida State by 4.5.
Before see how The Red Raiders can beat Villanova let's learn a little about them. The Villanova Wildcats made it to the Elite 8 by beating the 16 seed Radford, the 9 seed Alabama, and most interestingly the 5 seed West Virginia.
West Virginia is a tough defensive team, like Texas Tech, and even though they play a different style the two Big 12 teams have produced similar results. West Virginia held opponents to 69 points per game but Villanova dropped 90 points in their win over the Mountaineers.
The major difference between the Texas Tech and West Virginia defenses is the 3 point percentage they hold opponents too. West Virginia, 10th in the Big 12, was susceptible to giving up the three-ball with a nearly 40 % success rate. Villanova, who shoots 40% on the season and shot a mind-boggling 54% from three against West Virginia.
In Villanova's four losses this season there were two styles of losses. Against Butler and Creighton, they were just outscored. Giving up 101 and 89 points respectively.
In the two other losses, to St. Johns and Providence, Villanova was held to under 75 points which is what needs to happen for Texas Tech to be successful on Sunday. The story of the game will be Villanova's high powered 87 points per game offense against the stifling style of defense that Texas Tech plays that limits teams to 65 points per game.
Here are four things that Texas Tech needs to do to advance to the Final 4:
Villanova has two offensive stars. A pair of Junior guards 6'3" Jalen Brunson and 6'6" Mikal Bridges. They score 19 and 18 ppg respectively.
In both losses where Villanova scored less than 75 one of these two stars had an off game. If Texas Tech can limit one of these guys, Villanova's offense will suffer.
Which leads me to point number 2.
In the tournament, Villanova's bench has produced only 25% of their total points. Texas Tech's bench has contributed 35% of the teams total.
This is only going to matter if the Brunson and Bridges pair are limited. If they both go off for 20 plus, which they can, it won't matter how limited Villanova's bench is.
As mentioned above, West Virginia got torched beyond the arc in the Sweet-16 and Villanova made a staggering 54% of their 3-point attempts.
Texas Tech holds their opponents to just 33% from beyond the arc. Villanova shoots 40% on the season.
For Texas Tech to move into the Final 4 they must limit the Wildcats on the perimeter. If the Wildcats can't get going outside the paint, they don't have the ability to dominate down low. Which would be advantageous for the Red Raiders.
Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson are both very good players for Villanova, but You couldn't pin down which one is the leader. There is no doubt who the leader of the Red Raiders is and that man is Keenan Evans.
He's beaten up and banged. He's got a bum toe and a jammed pinky, but he's still the best player in a Texas Tech uniform.
He didn't have a great game against Purdue but he closed the game with a 3-pointer and free throws to finish against Purdue. He scored over 20 in the second half against SFA. He closed out Florida.
If Texas Tech goes to the Final 4, Keenan Evans will have led the way.