(PATRICK COCKRELL 3/17/2021) On Friday March 19th, your Texas Tech Red Raiders will open the round of 64 pitted against the Utah State Aggies. Ironically, this is Texas Tech football coach Matt Wells’ previous job and alma mater. Some fans online have even dubbed this game the “Matt Wells Bowl”. The Ramblin’ Raiders are extremely excited for this as March Madness hasn’t been played in what feels like forever, with the last memory being the Texas Tech defeat by Virginia in the National Championship in 2019. But, aside from the bitter feelings that all Red Raider fans have regarding that game, we have a new team and a new tournament to look forward to after the wildest year in living memory, that was 2020. One thing isn’t new though, and that’s that the Red Raiders are led by Chris Beard, who is the best coach to have come March. Let us take a deeper dive into the Red Raiders first round match up, “The Matt Wells Bowl.”
Coach Beard is 8-2 in NCAA Tournament appearances as the head coach at Texas Tech, and no one looks for him to slow down the momentum going into this years’ tournament. One thing is for sure, that no matter the opponent and no matter the circumstance Beard will have his team prepared to face that challenge. No one respects the Utah State Aggies more so than Coach Beard and his team! The Aggies are led by 7’ Neemias Queta who averages 15.1 points per game is also averaging 10.0 rebounds per game; a formidable force to be sure. However, the Aggies did not play against many top tier opponents, with their best win coming against the San Diego State Aztecs. The Red Raiders play in one of, if not the best basketball conference in the country, the Big XII. The competition that the Red Raiders had to play against night in and night out is not even comparable to the competition in the Mountain West. Texas Tech is more athletic and has more sheer, raw talent than Utah State. With March Kyler Edwards and March Kevin McCullar starting to come on strong for the Red Raiders, it appears as if it doesn’t bode well for the Aggies in this matchup. This is especially true if the Red Raiders can get more than two players in double digits in the scoring column.
However, Texas Tech does need a fast start to this game as Utah State favors a slower pace of game. This could be a problem for the Red Raiders as fast starts haven’t come consistently for them all season long. Another issue plaguing the Red Raiders is the free-throw line. They have had games where they are great from the charity stripe, and others when they are not good at all, and it costs them down the stretch; an example being the loss to Texas in Big XII Tournament. But the defense of Texas Tech has the potential to be the biggest defining factor in this matchup. The Aggies turn the ball over quite a bit and Texas Tech has been great at capitalizing off turnovers all season.
This game has the potential to be a close, hard fought nail-biter, or the Red Raiders could win this in blow out fashion. Only on Friday March 19th at 12:45 p.m. will the fans get the answer to what kind of game this will be. The Ramblin’ Raiders can only say that we are fired up for March Madness to return and to “Let the madness begin!”
WRECK ‘EM TECH!
For more Texas Tech related content, Hot Takes, and Matador Motivationals, follow us on Twitter/Instagram – @ramblinraiders