Head Coach: Chris Beard
Location: Lubbock, Texas
Conference: Big 12
Nickname: Red Raiders
Mascot: Masked Rider, Raider Red - Due to the Masked Rider's requirement to ride a live horse, Raider Red is the preferred mascot for basketball
Last time out: Beat USC
Shirt not to wear: Scarlet, Black, Oakland Raiders Starters jacket
Opening Line: Nebraska by 2
Great moments in twitter: Tim Miles puts out this two word tweet about Tubby Smith jumping ship from Texas Tech. April 15th was the same day Tech hired Beard away from UNLV where he'd just started in March after his magical tourney run at Arkansas Little Rock
Players to watch: Jarrett Culver
Culver is go-to scorer on this team as the unheralded Lubbock native put himself on the NBA draft radar as a freshman last year on the Red Raider's Elite 8 team. The projected next level 3 and D player should be tasked with guarding James Palmer in what should be an interesting individual matchup.
KenPom Helps us look at the Lineup
You might recognize Mooney and Owens from years past as Tech reloaded through grad trasnfers. Mooney was the SG who did some damage against us for Craig Smith's South Dakota team two years ago. Tariq Owens had 6 blocks for St Johns in their beat down which included Palmer getting T'ed up after scoring on Owens and letting him know about it. Itailian SG Davide Moretti is a 3pt sniper and Odiase is a glass cleaner who mostly scores on putbacks. Tech has a pretty shallow bench at this point that includes a couple of new faces the Huskers tried to recruit in Kyler Edwards and Deshawn Corprew after a year at JUCO. Both are capable but inexperienced scorers. Senior Brandone Francis plays minutes because he knows the system but isn't much of a threat to score.
Nebraska has a couple of built in advantages here as they will have the home court advantage and Tech had to burn some legs to rally back against USC last night. It's probable that Beard and his packline defense will choose to protect the defensive boards as opposed to aggressively pursuing transition points as Tech attempts to grind out a win. Nebraska's defense has been elite thus far and should also keep Tech in tabs in what Vegas believes will be a low scoring game. It's possible that Culver gets the best of Palmer in this matchup but how is Tech going to cover Roby and Copeland? Cope has a good shot at locking down tourney MVP honors tonight. Nebraska individually has the advantage at most every position here but unlike USC is able to play defense. Tech will try and force Nebraska into a jump shooting team and once again you'll grit your teeth when 3s don't fall. It's ok...our combination of defense just means we need to be a decent shooting team and our shot chart is finally starting to look like we understand what is a good shot. One last ace up the sleeve: this is a pretty poor FT shooting team.
Look for Nebraska to bend at times but never break as they look to win their first holiday tournament since the San Juan Shootout in 2000.
Prediction: Nebraska 68 - Texas Tech 62