Seton Hall vs Texas Tech Preview

Seton Hall vs Texas Tech

After making its first appearance in the Top 25 in eight years, No. 22 Texas Tech faces Seton Hall in the first game of the Under Armour Reunion on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

Almost eight full years it has been for the Red Raiders basketball team–the last time they were ranked was Dec. 29th, 2009 back when Pat Knight had the reigns of the program. Current Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard was only an assistant back then, but he remembers that time fondly–but he’s not ready to anoint his ball club just because they have surfaced in the Top 25 rankings.

“I’ll say this real clearly: I’d rather be in the conversation of the rankings than not be,” Beard told the Lubbock Avalanche Journal. “So I think it’s a good thing for our program, it’s a good thing for our fans. But, really, it means absolutely nothing.

“You can go back one year ago today and look at the rankings. And I guarantee there were people that were ranked that didn’t even make the NCAA Tournament. Or you’ll see teams that were ranked 20 that will end up going to the Final Four.

Texas Tech is in the top spot in the Big 12 in scoring defense and ranks inside the nation’s top five in scoring defense and defensive field goal percentage.

The Red Raiders have held three of their first six opponents to 50 points or fewer. The 49 points against then-No. 20 Northwestern were the fewest that Texas Tech allowed to a ranked team since a 67- 47 victory over No. 11 Oklahoma on Jan. 19, 2004.

Experience fuels the Red Raiders attack–they have started five seniors during their six-game winning streak.

Seniors may start the game for Texas Tech, but freshman Jarrett Culver has been a spark off of the bench. Culver is the reigning Big 12 Newcomer of the Week after he collected 19.5 points, 4.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game during Texas Tech wins over Wofford and Savannah State. He has reached double figures in four of his last five outings, and his 11 points per game are third among Big 12 freshmen.

Seton Hall is a fringe Top-25 team to start the season and have collected solid wins over Indiana, Vanderbilt and Monmouth. Their lone loss came at the hands of Rhode Island on a buzzer beater in the final seconds.

The Pirates feature four players averaging double-digits in scoring, led by Desi Rodriguez who averages 17.8 points and 4 rebounds per game.

Khadeen Carrington is having a great start to the season despite switching from an off-ball 2-guard to the main ball handler and point guard for the Pirates this season.

He led the team with 26 assists, had only nine turnovers and committed only 10 fouls while playing a team-high 174 minutes.

 “He (Carrington) plays like a pure point guard because he sets the tone defensively,” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. “He just has to get used to having the amount of (defensive) attention he’s getting.

“He’s going through the same things Isaiah (Whitehead) went through his sophomore year — same progressions, same struggles. The only difference is he’s playing a much tougher schedule.”

In the season opener against Fairleigh Dickinson, Seton Hall had assists on 22 of their 33 made field goals, which is the most in a game since Jan. 28, 2015, when the Pirates registered 23 at Marquette.

Seton Hall has finished with an even or positive assist-to-turnover ratio in five of six games.

Between Angel Delgado, Rodriguez, Carrington and Ish Sanogo, the Pirates entered 2017-18 with the most senior points (3,816) returning in the country.

Prediction

Both teams play sound basketball led by their group of experienced seniors. Despite their ranking, Texas Tech is actually the underdog in this matchup (+2). This should be a back-and-forth game and I wouldn’t expect either team to run away with a large lead at any point. If I were laying some action on this game, I would take the points and bet Texas Tech to win outright.

Texas Tech 77 Seton Hall 73

 

 

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