When the Texas Tech basketball team faces West Virginia tonight, keep a close eye on how these individual matchups play out.
During the Chris Beard era, the Texas Tech basketball team has developed quite a nice rivalry with the Mountaineers of West Virginia. Tonight brings us the next chapter in a series that features what has become arguably the two toughest-minded programs in the Big 12.
Overall, the Red Raiders are just 6-14 in this rivalry. That includes a mark of just 1-7 in Morgantown where tonight’s contest will take place.
Just like most of the games that these programs play against one another, expect another bare-knuckle brawl this evening. Both teams are allowing fewer than 69 points per game with Tech leading the Big 12 by giving up just 59.9 and WVU checking in fifth at 68 points surrendered per contest.
Meanwhile, these teams are almost dead even when it comes to scoring. Tech is putting up an average of 74.7 points per game while WVU is putting up 74.5.
Thus, it’s no surprise that the ESPN.com matchup predictor sees this game as a virtual toss-up. That metric projects Tech having the slightest of edges and gives Beard’s squad a 51.9% chance at coming out on top.
At 10-4 overall, the Mountaineers sit at No. 14 in the national polls, two spots behind the Red Raiders. Meanwhile, they are 3-3 in the Big 12 to put them a half-game behind Tech in the league race.
Interestingly, both teams come into this contest on the heels of a prolonged hiatus. Of course, Tech had both of last week’s games (against TCU and Iowa State) postponed. Meanwhile, prior to taking down Kansas State on Saturday, the Mountaineers had seen their previous three games scratched. However, one has to wonder if the Mountaineers will be a bit crisper in this one, especially early in the game given that they got to knock some rust off just two days ago.
"“We tell our players, ‘Live where your feet are. Let’s control what we can control’,” Beard said late last week when talking about the unusual nature of having an unscheduled week without a game. “We could not control having those games canceled this week. We could only control what we can control. “So we’ve got some rest this week, which is always valuable this time of year. We’ve had some chances to work on our team, not necessarily the opponent. From a coaching standpoint, that’s always great.”"
Only time will tell if the layoff helps or hurts the Red Raiders. But what we do know is that tonight’s opponent is not the easiest team in the conference to face when coming back from an unexpected halt in the schedule.
So let’s go inside this matchup and see which individual showdowns might tip the scales. And we will start with what should be a rather physical one-on-one battle in the post.