Houston guard Quentin Grimes (24) looks to pass beyond the defense of Boise State forward Abu Kigab, left, and guard Marcus Shaver Jr. (0) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 27, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
- Texas Tech is a 2.5-point favorite over Houston on Sunday in the Southwest Showdown at Fort Worth, Texas
- Texas Tech guard Mac McClung, a Georgetown transfer, has scored 38 points in 41 minutes in his first two games
- Houston forward Quentin Grimes scored 25 points in a win over Boise State in the Cougars’ last game
A pair of in-state Texas teams ranked in the top 20 pair off in what figures to be an interesting early-season matchup.
No. 14 Texas Tech plays No. 17 Houston at 5:30 p.m. ET Sunday in the Southwest Showcase at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. Both teams have opened the season 2-0.
Texas Tech is a small favorite in the neutral-site game.
#14 Texas Tech vs #17 Houston Odds
|Texas Tech||-146||-2.5 (-110)||Over 138.5 (-114)|
|Houston||+124||+2.5 (-110)||Under 138.5 (-106)|
Odds taken Nov. 28 at FanDuel
Transfers Bolster Tech
Georgetown and the NBA Draft’s loss has turned out to be Texas Tech’s gain.
Junior guard Mac McClung left Georgetown last season to enter the NBA Draft. However, he then decided against turning pro and instead transferred to the Red Raiders.
McClung has made an immediate impact by scoring 38 points in 41 minutes over his first two games. Texas Tech covered big home spreads in both games, routing Northwestern State 104-58 as 26.5-point favorites in the opener and Sam Houston State 84-52 as 27.5-point choices.
Mac McClung is off to a hot start with his new squad 🔥
‣ 20 Pts
‣ 6-9 FG
‣ And snatched some ankles along the way 👀 pic.twitter.com/LkN3pgwHFM
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 26, 2020
McClung had 20 points in his Texas Tech debut then added 18 against Sam Houston State.
Forward Marcus Santos-Silva has 22 points and 21 rebounds in 37 minutes. The graduate transfer from VCU is the lone senior on coach Chris Beard’s roster and was voted team captain by his teammates.
Two holdovers from last season’s 18-13 team are also making big contributions.
Junior guard Kyler Edwards has 19 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in 42 minutes. Junior guard Terrance Shannon Jr. has scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in 41 minutes.
Edwards in the lone player remaining who logged significant minutes for Texas Tech’s 2019-20 team was national runner-up.
Grimes Shines for Houston
Following a poor performance in the opener, Houston junior forward Quentin Grimes showed why he was a five-star recruit in high school in the Cougars’ second game.
Grimes scored 25 points on Friday as Houston got by visiting Boise State 68-58, failing to get under the 12.5 number.
Grimes was 9 of 15 from the floor. That came after he made just three of 15 shots in the opening 89-45 home rout of Lamar in a game the Cougars were favored by 21.5 points.
He can also dance.
Next we got @qdotgrimes and the heart of @UHCougarMBK. Quentin Grimes is a
– 💥 scorer who averaged 12.1 ppg
– transferred from KU closer to home
– steady leader and dunking machine
– big drake fan, it appears pic.twitter.com/SclYbhNGhH
— Ellie Lieberman (@ellieliebs) November 22, 2020
During the 2019-20 season, Grimes started every game for Kansas as a freshman. However, he decided to transfer back to his hometown and averaged 12.1 points a game last winter as Houston went 23-8.
Grimes scored 17 of his points against Boise State in the first half as Houston took a 34-19 lead. He had 15 of those points in a 21-5 run that extended the Cougars’ advantage from 11-9 to 32-14.
Sophomore guard Marcus Sasser is Houston’s leading scorer with a 17.5 point a game average. Grimes (16.5), freshman guard Tramon Mack (15.5) and sophomore guard Caleb Mills (12.0) are also averaging double digits.
Texas Tech sophomore guard Kevin McCullar, a projected starter, missed the first two games because of an ankle injury. His status for Sunday is questionable along with freshman reserve center Vladislav Goldin (wrist).
Texas Tech coach Chris Beard on Kevin McCullar’s status. McCullar was on crutches and had a boot on his left foot. pic.twitter.com/9NVHNKrfhE
— Carlos Silva Jr. (@cmsilvajr) November 26, 2020
Mills made his season debut Friday against Sam Houston State. He sat out the opener with an ankle injury.
Mills was chosen as the preseason American Athletic Conference Player of the Year. He averaged a team-best 13.2 points last season despite playing just 22.6 minutes a game as a freshman.
Houston leads the all-time series 28-27, though most of the games were played back when both teams were members of the now-defunct Southwest Conference.
The teams last met Dec. 23, 2014 with Houston notching an 82-69 neutral-site victory at Las Vegas.
This matchup is also at neutral site but figures to be closer as both teams have quality rosters and started the season strong. In a tough call …
The Pick: Houston +2.5 (-110)
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.