Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (27-6, 14-4)
Bad Guys: Buffalo Bulls (32-3, 16-2)
When to Watch: Sunday, March 24th @ 5:10 p.m.
Where to Watch: Bank of Oklahoma Center | Tulsa, Oklahoma
How to Watch: TNT | MarchMadnessLive
How to Listen: 97.3 FM | Affiliates | TuneIn App
The Line: Texas Tech -3.5 (OddsShark)
|Texas Tech||Northern Kentucky|
|THE STARTERS||Pts / Reb|
|POINT GUARD||Davide Moretti (6-3/175)||11.5 / 2.5*|
|SHOOTING GUARD||Matt Mooney (6-3/200)||10.9 / 3.5*|
|SMALL FORWARD||Jarrett Culver (6-5/195)||18.8 / 3.8*|
|POWER FORWARD||Tariq Owens (6-10/205)||8.9 / 5.6|
|CENTER||Norense Odiase (6-9/245)||4.0 / 5.1|
|THE BENCH||Pts / Reb|
|SIXTH MAN||Kyler Edwards (6-3/200)||5.2 / 2.2|
|SEVENTH MAN||Brandone Francis (6-5/215)||6.2 / 2.4|
|EIGHTH MAN||Deshawn Corprew (6-5/210)||5.5 / 3.6|
|NINTH MAN||Malik Ondigo (6-10/215)||1.4 / 1.4|
|TENTH MAN||Josh Mballa (6-7/215)||0.9 / 0.3|
|ELEVENTH MAN||Khavon Moore (6-7/215)||0.0 / 0.0|
|THE STARTERS||Pts / Reb|
|POINT GUARD||Davonta Jordan (6-2/187)||7.2 / 3.7*|
|SHOOTING GUARD||CJ Massinburg (6-3/194)||18.3 / 6.6|
|SMALL FORWARD||Jayvon Graves (6-3/193)||9.9 / 4.2|
|POWER FORWARD||Jeremy Harris (6-7/185)||14.2 / 6.2|
|CENTER||Montell McRae (6-10/198)||5.7 / 3.5|
|THE BENCH||Pts / Reb|
|SIXTH MAN||Nick Perkins (6-8/250)||14.6 / 7.3|
|SEVENTH MAN||Dontay Caruthers (6-1/191)||8.8 / 2.8*|
|EIGHTH MAN||Jeenathan Williams (6-5/203)||3.3 / 1.7|
|NINTH MAN||Ronaldo Segu (6-0/160)||2.2 / 0.9|
|TENTH MAN||Tra’Von Fagan (6-8/200)||1.2 / 1.1|
1. Stats. Buffalo checks the boxes offensively, they are the 23rd best shooting team in adjusted offensive efficiency, 53rd in eFG%, and 24th in turnover percentage (which is good). So the Bulls can shoot and they don’t turn the ball over. They’re also decent at grabbing offensive boards, 68th in the nation. Watch out for that. Defensively, Buffalo also checks some impressive boxes, they are 32nd in adjusted defensive efficiency and are 29th in the nation in eFG%, being particularly stingy from beyond the three-point line where they only allow teams to shoot 29%, which is good for 7th in the nation.
2. Scouting. You should know up front that Buffalo is no joke. They’re very good, if I had to compare them to another team that we’re more familiar with, it would probably be Iowa State. Very athletic, very long, and can jump out of the gym as well as score. Buffalo only has 3 losses on the year, all 3 were on the road, the first was to Marquette, where Buffalo was a mess defensively (or Marquette was just dealing offensively, which can also be true), Northern Illinois, which probably counts as a “bad loss” and to Bowling Green, who was pretty good this year. Again, Buffalo had defensive issues and in the Marquette and Bowling Green losses, the Bulls allowed 103 and 92 points. They were in a track meet, as the final score was 103-85, and 92-88. Buffalo’s best player is Massinburg, he shoots incredibly well, has a high offensive rating, doesn’t turn the ball over and shoots well from beyond the three-point line, 40%. Graves is similar, but not quite the shooter. Highly efficient, good shooter and low turnover percentage. The same thing could be said about Harris, who isn’t quite the offensive player, but he’s a heck of a shooter from beyond the arc. The ancillary players are also dangerous, Caruthers, McRae, and Jordan are all good shooters that can go off in any particular game.
3. How They Match Up. The thing that bothers me is that I think that Buffalo is similar to Iowa State offensively, but they’re much better defensively. That’s a real point of emphasis for Buffalo and the fact that they’re so good on both ends of the court is bothersome. They’re probably closer to Kansas in terms of advanced stats than Iowa State. In all three losses, the opposing guards all had good to great games (Marquette’s Markus Howard had 45 or something ridiculous). That’s probably misleading because having good guards on a team is much easier than having a dominant big man, but I think it is something. Getting that next “W” will be largely on the shoulders of the guards, but that’s the way it has been all year. And one of the best things about this team is that Texas Tech does have someone that can body with Perkins, who appears to be a force off the bench (thank you very much Odiase). And Buffalo has more smaller guards, not necessarily wing-type players, and so I wonder if that will be an issue for the Red Raiders defensively, staying in front of those quicker guards.
4. Reading Material. A-J Media’s Carlos Silva, Jr. – No. 9 Red Raiders will pit defense against high-scoring Bulls offense:
“I think they’re one of the best teams in the country,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “I remember their ride last year. I’ve always known about them. They’ve been signing good players for a long time.
“Certainly the (overtime) win at West Virginia early in the season kind of opened everybody’s eyes up in the Big 12. But mine were already open. … This is a team that was put together to make a run in this tournament. Not make the tournament.”
The Bulls, who on a current 13-game winning streak including the Mid-American Conference Tournament title, are successful due to a quintet of seniors who bring a wealth of experience on and off the court.
Buffalo News’ Rachel Lenzi – UB-Texas Tech scouting report:
UB coach Nate Oats and his team have continuously echoed their goal of advancing to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament, and the Bulls take their shot at adding another piece of history to this season when they face the No. 3 seed Red Raiders.
“There still is one more statement to be made, just, prove we belong with anybody in the country,” UB guard CJ Massinburg said Friday, after a 91-74 rout of 11th seed Arizona State. “Some people picked us to lose this game that we just played, so they might have thought that hey, ‘they’re just being hyped all year.
“I think we can play with anybody in the country, and we’re going to try to make this deeper run.”
Tulsa World’s Bill Haisten – Bill Haisten: Texas Tech fans want what TU fans wanted in 2000 – to keep their coach forever:
A lot of coaches brag about their program’s “culture,” but there probably aren’t that many places that have a clearly defined, positive culture. At Texas Tech, Beard does seem to have forged an ideal culture — one that combines hard coaching with personalities who can flourish with hard coaching.
Within the context of team sports, a positive culture is defined by having a roster of players who like each other, and by having coaches who can push players to the limits while not having the players hate their guts.
Tulsa World’s Mark Cooper – NCAA Tournament in Tulsa: Now at Texas Tech, former OSU assistant Glynn Cyprien sees similarities between ‘04 team, current Red Raiders roster:
It began as a question about Oklahoma State’s 2003-04 Final Four team.
Glynn Cyprien turned it into an answer about the Texas Tech squad that will play Buffalo for a spot in the Sweet 16 Sunday.
“It was a hell of a run,” Cyprien said. “This team reminds me a lot of them in terms of, we had some good veterans, we had really good chemistry and guys knew that it was a defense-first type team. So when I look around this locker room, it resembles a lot of what we had. And, of course, we were well-coached.”
Cyprien was on Eddie Sutton’s staff when, 15 years ago next week, John Lucas pushed the Cowboys into the Final Four with his 3-pointer against Saint Joseph’s.
5. Official Site. The official site has their preview right here:
Two of the hottest teams in the nation will meet in the NCAA Tournament West Region Second Round when No. 3 Texas Tech plays No. 6 Buffalo at 5:10 p.m. on Sunday at the BOK Center.
The Red Raiders (27-6) come into the game having won 12 of 14 games, while the Bulls (32-3) are on a 13-game winning streak after a pair of double-digit wins to start the national tournament in Tulsa. Tech advanced to its second consecutive round of 32 after earning a 72-57 first-round win over Northern Kentucky before Buffalo followed with a 91-74 victory over Arizona State on Friday. The Red Raiders and Bulls have never met before and will be playing for a berth to the NCAA Sweet 16 next weekend in Anaheim, California to face the No. 2 Michigan-No. 10 Florida winner. The other West Region matchups include No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 9 Baylor playing at 6:10 p.m. and No. 4 Florida State taking on No. 12 Murray State at 5:10 p.m. on Saturday.