(PATRICK COCKRELL 3/20/21) On Friday afternoon the Red Raiders defeated the Utah State Aggies to advance to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament, where they find themselves matched up against a solid team in the Arkansas Razorbacks at 5:10 p.m. on March 31, 2021. This article will highlight yesterday’s victory and a preview of the match up against Arkansas.
As mentioned above, the Red Raiders defeated the Utah State Aggies with a strong second half performance by the entire team, and Mac McClung stood out in his NCAA Tournament debut by scoring 16 points. He was also joined by several other players who scored in double digits, those being Kyler Edwards (12), Terrance Shannon Jr. (10), and Kevin McCullar (10). Marcus Santos-Silva also had a great outing, maybe not in the stat sheet, but he defended at a high level and made some key buckets in the first half to keep the Red Raiders in the contest. It was the second half of play that Tech really took control by going on a 16-2 run and never looking back. It was a good outing for the players to get their feet wet in the tournament, and really lock in going forward.
Now we come to the matchup against Arkansas. This will be a test for the Red Raiders going forward. Arkansas is a solid team with some wins against quality opponents, notably LSU, who the Red Raiders beat back in January by a last-minute effort by Mac McClung. Arkansas is a team that likes to play fast, so the Red Raiders need to lock in defensively to slow the Razorbacks down, and make them play at the pace that Tech enjoys. The Razorbacks also have a player that is a potential Lottery Pick in Moses Moody. They will have to keep the AP All-American in check if the Red Raiders want to advance to the Sweet 16.
Some keys to the game will be playing lock down defense, as is the usual with a Chris Beard team, force the Razorbacks to play at Texas Tech’s pace, and start well on the offensive end of the floor. The Red Raiders need to make shots early to build their confidence for the contest. A fast start by forcing turnovers and creating points off turnovers will be a great way for the Red Raiders to build confidence and momentum against the 3-seeded Razorbacks.
A win for the Red Raiders in this game against Arkansas would give them and Red Raider Nation great confidence moving forward to have a deep run in this years’ tournament, possibly all the way to the Final Four in Indianapolis. However, Chris Beard will not overlook any opponent, and no one should as evidenced by Oral Robert’s upset victory over Ohio State Friday evening. Look for Coach Beard and company to come out completely prepared for the Razorbacks in an early heavyweight matchup in the Round of 32. The Ramblin’ Raiders look forward to the continued ride and hopefully we’ll be riding that “Old Town Road” all the way to the Final Four!
WRECK ‘EM TECH!
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