Texas Tech vs. West Virginia NCAA Basketball Preview

Guard Mac McClung #0 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders inbounds the ball. John E. Moore III/Getty Images/AFP

Guard Mac McClung #0 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders inbounds the ball. John E. Moore III/Getty Images/AFP

Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

Monday, January 25, 2021 – 09:00 PM EST at WVU Coliseum

Teams

● Texas Tech Red Raiders (#12): 11-4

● West Virginia Mountaineers (#14): 10-4

Stakes of the Matchup

Most college basketball games are inconsequential. There are hundreds of teams, and only 68 of them make it to the big dance. To make it to the NCAA tournament, teams must either win their conference or make it as an at-large team. Typically, teams in weaker conferences must win their conference to make the tournament. What makes the Big 12 different is that they are currently ranked as the second-best conference in college basketball. As a result, the Big 12 expects to send several teams to the national championship tournament each year.

Currently, the second-ranked team in the country Baylor plays in the Big 12. Of the ten teams that play in the “Big 12”, five of them are ranked among the top 14 teams. Two of two teams face off on Monday night in Texas Tech and West Virginia. The oddsmakers have determined that this game is a tossup as WVU is favored to win by only two points.

Right now, Texas Tech has an 11-4 overall record while West Virginia has a 10-4 record. In conference play, TTU is 4-3 while WVU is 3-3. KenPom projects the Red Raiders to finish with a 10-7 conference record while the Mountaineers will finish with an 8-8 conference record. Both teams are evenly matched, so tonight’s game is going to be great to watch.

How Texas Tech and West Virginia Match up

Not only are both Texas Tech and West Virginia evenly matched, but both teams have similar styles of play. The Red Raiders are a slow-tempo team that prefers to control the clock. Currently TTU averages only 70.8 possessions per game, while WVU averages only 72.6. Both teams like to control the clock and the point total does not accurately reflect this as it is set a little too high at 137 points. The only reason why I am not taking the over is that they game could very well go to overtime because of how closely these two slow-tempo teams’ matchup.

Besides both teams having similar styles of play and records, and neither team has a glaring weakness. According to KenPom’s ratings, West Virginia has the 25th best adjusted offensive efficiency in the country, while Texas Tech has the 36th best. Additionally, both teams’ strength is in defense as TTU has the 5th best adjusted defensive efficiency while WVU has the 17th best. The million-dollar question for Monday night’s game is how these elite defenses will face off against elite offenses.

Prediction

A cogent argument can be made for either team to win, but the most compelling case can be made for Texas Tech.

Last week, the Red Raiders played 2nd ranked Baylor and lost 68-60. On the surface this should be a demerit for TTU, as they failed to cover the spread as four-point underdogs. However, Texas Tech’s defense held the 3rd most efficient offense in the country in Baylor to only 68 points. Baylor is currently averaging 86.1 points per game which is no small feat. Texas Tech also beat a 4th ranked Texas team 79-77 at home. West Virginia is 1-3 against ranked teams this season.

Texas Tech should be slightly favored. Rather than taking their points, I am going to bet on them winning outright as +125 moneyline underdogs.

NCAAB Pick: Texas Tech Moneyline (+125) with DraftKings

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