Published: Mon, March 26, 2018
Sports | By Sarah Myers

Texas Tech meets Villanova for spot in Final Four

Texas Tech meets Villanova for spot in Final Four

Texas Tech's Keenan Evans drives to the basket and shoots over Purdue's Jacquil Taylor during the second half Friday at TD Garden. Texas Tech does not have the offensive capability that Villanova has so limiting the number of possession the Cats have should be huge. For a full list of Texas Tech men's basketball radio affiliates, go here.

The Red Raiders will need to maintain that edge heading into the mountain this afternoon that is Villanova.

"The Elite Eight our second year together", said Beard, who was with Arkansas-Little Rock when it beat Purdue in the first round of the 2016 NCAA tournament.

Still, as frustrating as this was for Villanova to deal with, seeing them still manage to pull off the tough win shows how well built this team is to potentially cut down the nets in San Antonio if they can earn two more wins next weekend.

The Red Raiders rank 14th in assists allowed per game (10.3) while the Wildcats rank 187th (13.8). Despite a team known for it's defense, Villanova figured out how to out play Texas Tech by keeping the ball moving.

Strong guard play has been critical for the Red Raiders throughout the tournament.

A 16.7 percent clip from long range didn't help things, but the Wildcats found a way to score when they needed to, fending off several comeback efforts from Texas Tech (which chipped a double-digit lead to just five at the 5:35 mark). Vegas tends to place the total low when the Wildcats are involved, as 24 of their 32 games have gone over the projected point total.

Villanova looks good for a team that just came off its most physically demanding game of the season. Perhaps the late-season favorite for the Wooden Award and under control at all times, Brunson is at the crux of most back-breaking plays by Villanova.

Villanova needs 11 3-pointers to break the NCAA team record of 442 set by VMI in 2007.

Despite having to sweat it out against West Virginia, Villanova has won its three tournament games by a combined 61 points and have also won their last seven games during the streak by double figures - including an overtime victory over Providence in the Big East final. Freshman Omari Spellman also made an impact, scoring 11 points and blocking three key shots. Tech does not press the way West Virginia did and does not force as many turnovers, but that does not make it any less stressful for Villanova. Villanova trailed 60-54 with 11 minutes remaining, but erupted on a 22-6 blitz to take control of the game.

Texas Tech had never reached the Elite Eight in the 93-year history of the program. If the Raiders can control the pace, get hands in the faces of Wildcats shooters and win the battle on the glass they'll cover this spread. Texas Tech's reserves tallied 27 points in its win over Stephen F. Austin and 15 against Florida before outscoring Purdue's reserves 33-6 in the Sweet 16.

The Red Raiders struggled during the regular season from the foul line.

Purdue (30-7) was not as fortunate.

Texas Tech's athleticism has been one of its hallmarks in the tournament. "Just being able to go through what we did a couple years ago and last year".

Jalen Brunson led the Wildcats (34-4) with 15 points. VMI hit 442 3-pointers in 2006-07.

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