Saturday, West Virginia takes on Texas Tech for the second time this season. The Red Raiders are on a two-game, double-digit win streak; however, they are coming into Morgantown with a 1-4 away record.
After a 78-65 loss in their first match-up, the Mountaineers need to bring the momentum early to end their six-game losing streak. This season, the Red Raiders have won the first half in 16 of their 17 wins.
In their last match-up, West Virginia out-shot Texas Tech from the field, the free-throw line, and from three-point range. The Mountaineers committed ten more fouls and had ten fewer rebounds.
The Mountaineers turned the ball over 17 times in their first meeting against the Red Raiders, the second-largest number of West Virginia turnovers this season. This is a common problem for teams facing-off with Texas Tech’s defense. Opposing offenses have turned the ball over an average of 17 times against the Red Raiders this season.
Texas Tech has been hot shooting the three recently, especially fifth-year-senior forward Bryson Williams, who has gone six for seven since the Red Raiders and Mountaineers last met.
Additionally, senior forward Kevin Obanor went five for seven from three in Texas Tech’s latest match-up against the Texas Longhorns.
The Mountaineers need to find a way to effectively guard the big-men of the Red Raiders, which essentially makes up their whole team. Most of Texas Tech’s rotation is at least 6’5” or taller and weighs upward of 200 pounds. This will cause issues for West Virginia’s ability to rebound the ball, an area that they already struggle in compared to most of their Big 12 competitors.
The Red Raiders have also done a great job throughout conference play of forcing their opponents to get into foul trouble. The Mountaineers fouled Texas Tech 30 times in their previous match-up with three players fouling out. That being said, the Red Raiders have only averaged 68.4 percent from the line this season, the seventh-worst percentage in the Big 12.
No. 14 Texas Tech will not be an easy match-up for West Virginia by any means. The Red Raiders have only had one double-digit loss in conference play, compared to the Mountaineers four. Nonetheless, West Virginia needs to end this drought sooner than later, and Saturday might be their best chance.