No.3 seed in the West Region of NCAA’s tournament, Texas Tech smashed No.2 Michigan, 63-44, and advanced to the Elite 8 for the second straight time.
The majority of fans expected to see a close battle in the clash between the Wolverines and the Raiders. This was the encounter between two of the nation’s top defenses, and when looking at the total number of points, we could say that both sides met the expectations.
But when talking about the difference between themselves. One thing is sure, this was a one-sided beating. And it was because of the Red Raiders’ defense, the best in the NCAA at the moment.
Jarrett Culver explained why is that.
“We pride ourself with defense. Every day we work on how good we can be on defense, and try to make the least amount of mistakes, so we focused on that, and I feel we played a great defense tonight.”
And they sure did.
Keeping any team to only 44 points, is a success. Keeping one of the top 10 in the nation, now that is remarkable.
The Wolverines had only 32.7% from the field. But not only that Beilein’s teams made just one three in 19 attempts. And that happened in the last seconds of the match when it had no impact on the final result.
One more thing, Michigan scored its 10th point with 5:34 until the end of the first half. Though at the time, the Red Raiders haven’t been much better. The first part of the contest ended with their lead, 24-16.
But as soon as the second part began, the red fury blew away boys in yellow. After just four minutes and four seconds of play, the result was 36-18, and the momentum completely went on Texas Tech’s side.
Michigan took 25 1/2 minutes to score 20 points, and that is something which needs to be respected.
Coach Beard was short on that after the game.
“We guarded at a high level.”
But as time progressed, his team didn’t want to slow down and they continued to harass the opponents. Michigan had troubles all over the court. They couldn’t drive the ball to their own half without being pressured hard. And that is something they simply couldn’t handle.
“There were a lot of things we worked on in two days of practice, but we couldn’t get far enough to make a difference, because that team practiced that defense for six months,” Wolverines’ coach Beilein commented at the post-match conference.
The biggest lead of the game for the Raiders was when Matt Mooney made a long-distance shot with eight minutes to go. At that point, it was 56-31 for the Raiders, and they were heading for one of their biggest wins at this stage of the tournament.
But coach Chris Beard didn’t want to humiliate his rivals, and in the end, Michigan decreased the deficit to a reasonable distance.
Culver had 22 points for them, Davide Moretti 15, while Mat Mooney scored 10.
This is the second straight Elite 8 appearance for Raiders, who lost last year against the later champions Villanova Wildcats, 71-59. Now, after eliminating the runner-up of the previous NCAA tournament, they have high ambitions.
But they also have a tough opponent in the next round. The No.1 seed Gonzaga Bulldogs, who are the best offense in the nation.
Zaga eliminated Florida State Seminole, 72-58, and are looking excellent at the moment. Rui Hachimura and the boys are aiming a title, and they too enter this matchup with high hopes.
“We know they are a great team, one of the best teams in the country, so we gonna have to play one of our best games to compete with them,” Culvert stated when asked about the next opponent.
The game is scheduled for this Saturday, and the tip-off is at 3:09 PM local time in Anaheim.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.