Arkansas

Texas Tech vs. Arkansas keys to the game, how to watch

Texas Tech takes on Arkansas in the second round of the NCAA tournament at 5:10 p.m. (CT) today at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Red Raiders (18-10) are the 6-seed in the South region and making their third consecutive trip to the Round of 32 of the tournament after defeating Utah State 65-53 on Friday.

The Razorbacks (23-6) are the 3-seed and are in the second round of the Big Dance for the first time since 2017 after beating Colgate, 85-68, Friday. The following is a list of broadcast info for the game, the spread and over/under for this matchup, plus three keys to victory for Texas Tech.

How to Watch/Radio/Spread

TV: TNT (STREAM LINK)

Spread: Texas Tech is favored by 2.0 (William Hill Sportsbook)

Radio: Westwood One (LINK)

Over/Under: 140.5

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Keys to Victory for Texas Tech

Control the tempo

One of the main reasons Texas Tech was able to pull away from Utah State in the second half of their first round matchup was Red Raider coach Chris Beard’s adjustment to go small and speed up the game thereby negating the dominating defensive presence of Aggie center Neemias Queta and getting quality looks for his better athletes before the defense could get set up in the half court. 

On paper, it appears controlling tempo will be equally important today against Arkansas, though in the other direction as the Razorbacks under Eric Musselman like to go fast, spread the court and put up a lot of shots. Simply put, if this becomes a half court game in which Texas Tech is able to dig in defensively it favors the Red Raiders. If the game becomes an up and down affair the tempo favors the Razorbacks who boast plenty of offensive firepower. 

Read ==> Meta-Beard Maunderings, Arkansas

“I think one of the great benefits of playing in the Big 12 is we’re prepared to play in different styles,” said Beard on Saturday. “We were trying to speed up the first game. Arkansas definitely has an aggressive attack, one of the highest scoring teams in college basketball, but we’re prepared to play at whatever pace that we need to to be successful in the game. I think regardless of the pace the ability to take away their great shots in transition is going to be important. They’re going to take shots in transition, it’s the way they play, the way they attack, but we got to make sure they aren’t wide open.”

Defend the 3-ball

Arkansas hoists about 23 3-pointers a game which is among the most in the country, but doesn’t shoot an especially high percentange at almost 34% which is about middle of the pack nationally.

That being said, defending the 3-point line has been a weakness for the Red Raiders this season as opposing teams shot 34.5%. That checks in at 230th nationally out of 335 Division I teams.

As Beard said Saturday, Texas Tech can’t give up open looks in transition. The Red Raiders must be sound in their defensive rotation or the Razorbacks could bombard them from deep.

No extended scoring drought

Beard said Saturday during his press conference that Texas Tech must play it’s best 40 minutes of the season to beat Arkansas. To me that means –as ITRR senior writer Joe Yeager said during our Hoops Scoop video preview–the Red Raiders can’t have an extended scoring drought.

Time after time this season Texas Tech suffered scoring droughts which resulted in digging deep holes or squandering big leads. We all understand basketball is a game of runs, but if the Red Raiders can avoid an extended scoring drought of four or more minutes it will go a long way toward Texas Tech advancing to its third consecutive Sweet 16.

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