West Region: Northern Kentucky vs Texas Tech Prediction
Northern Kentucky vs Texas Tech Preview
Texas Tech (26-6) had a great regular season and what was once a cellar dweller team in the Big 12, are now champions. They finished tied with Kansas State for the regular season Big 12 title. They entered the conference tournament as the one-seed, but did not have much luck. They lost their first game to West Virginia who finished at the bottom of the conference. Texas Tech is a team that has been winning with defense. Their previous two games have not gone with that narrative. They allowed 73 points to Iowa State in their season finale, and 79 points to West Virginia in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament.
Only Virginia allowed fewer points per game than Texas Tech – their defense is helped with loads of blocked shots and by forcing a whole bunch of mistakes. They attack, and they’re stifling at keeping good offenses under wraps, but the scoring is spotty.
Culver is a definite lottery pick in the NBA Draft (currently the 4th ranked prospect per NBA Scouting Live) and averages 18.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game–he is the team leader in points, rebounds and assists.
Northern Kentucky (26-8) is an underrated team from the Horizon League. The Norse tied Wright State for the regular season Horizon, but caught the Raiders for the tournament title to close out with a five-game winning streak.
The field is set as we are on our way to Tulsa to face Texas Tech for round one of the 2019 NCAA Tournament! Here’s a look at Selection Sunday with the Norse! #NorseUp #TakeNotice pic.twitter.com/x4ZMMPzh8U
— NKU Basketball (@NKUNorseMBB) March 18, 2019
Texas Tech’s defense will collide with Northern Kentucky’s offense. The Norse scored 79.1 points per game this season which was 40th in the nation. They led the Horizon League in scoring. As a team, the Norse shot 48.1% from the field which was 24th nationally. Three Norse averaged over 14 points per game. Drew McDonald led the team with 19.1 points per game. Tyler Sharpe and Jalen Tate both averaged 14 points per contest on the nose. Four of their top six players are upper classmen.
They can score inside or outside–but they have never had to play a defense as good as the Red Raiders.
Something’s gotta give…
LINE: -14 Texas Tech
Dan’s Bet: -14 Texas Tech
Bracket Pick: Texas Tech
Score Prediction: Texas Tech 70 Northern Kentucky 53