The free-throw line has to be less lopsided in WVU’s favor
Free throws are such a critical component of Texas Tech’s game this year. They’ve made 333 this year as a team, nearly 50 more than the next closest team in the Big 12.
But as is almost always the case in Morgantown, when Tech played at WVU in January, it was Huggins’ team that had the huge edge in free-throws. That has to change tonight.
Though WVU shot only 59.3% from the line that night, they were able to make hay because they were awarded 27 opportunities. Making 16 of those, they made more free throws than Tech was given (12). Only one Red Raider, Mac McClung, was awarded more than two free throws while four Mountaineers were awarded at least four.
Some, including Chris Beard, suggest that free throws are earned and there’s some truth to that. But don’t overlook the psychology that goes into this aspect of the game…psychology on the part of the officials. That’s why home teams almost expect to have an edge in free throws and, as we saw in Tech’s trip to Morgantown, even when there are no fans in attendance, the foul line usually slants towards the home team.
Don’t forget that last year, Tech shot only seven free throws when they went to Morgantown while WVU shot 35. But in the return game in Lubbock, the Red Raiders had 32 free throws (though that still didn’t eclipse the WVU attempts as they were awarded 41 trips to the line).
Tonight, the Red Raiders must spend more time at the line than the Mountaineers do. It’s part of Tech’s DNA this year and scoring one point at a time has become crucial to this team’s success. So keep a close eye on how this aspect of the game plays out tonight because it could be where this one is won or lost.