Texas Tech’s Mac McClung (0) dribbles the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma, Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photo/Brad Tollefson)
- The Texas Tech Red Raiders (14-5, 6-4 Big 12) host the West Virginia Mountaineers (13-5, 6-3 Big 12) Tuesday, Feb. 9
- Both teams are coming off victories, with Tech beating Kansas State and WVU knocking off Kansas
- Read below for odds, analysis, and our best bet for this matchup
The Texas Tech Red Raiders (14-5, 6-4 Big 12), winners of three in a row and six of their last eight, host the West Virginia Mountaineers (13-5, 6-3 Big 12) Tuesday, Feb. 9. Tip time is set for 9pm ET inside United Supermarkets Arena.
Both teams enter the matchup with a top-20 rating by KenPom, with WVU coming in at No. 19 and Texas Tech at No. 14. Bob Huggins’ club squeaked out an 88-87 win against Chris Beard’s bunch at home Jan. 25. Now, the matchup moves to Lubbock, Texas, where the Red Raiders are 8-3 this season.
Now, the Red Raiders are narrow favorites to avenge that loss.
West Virginia vs Texas Tech Odds
|West Virginia||+5 (-105)||N/A||Ov 140.5 (-110)|
|Texas Tech||-5 (-115)||N/A||Un140.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Feb. 8 at FanDuel
West Virginia is coming off a 91-79 victory over Kansas Saturday, snapping a five-game losing streak to the Jayhawks. The Mountaineers got a huge game from their starting backcourt tandem of Miles McBride, who scored a career-high 29 points, and Taz Sherman, who poured in a career-best 25. Huggins was critical of his team’s defense following a 76-72 win over Iowa State last week and his players responded by holding KU to only seven 3-pointers.
Meantime, Texas Tech put up a yeoman-like effort in a 73-62 win over Kansas State in Manhattan. The Wildcats were at home and trying to avoid a 10-game losing streak, but the Red Raiders held off Bruce Weber’s scrappy bunch in the 11-point victory. Now, Beard’s team will try to avenge that one-point loss to West Virginia on the road two weeks ago at home.
After calling this collection of Mountaineers the worst he has coached on the defensive end of the floor, it appears Huggins’ message was delivered against KU. WVU forced 18 turnovers and held the Jayahwks to 1.097 points per possession. Those turnovers resulted in 26 points for the West Virginia.
Huggins has always had a defense-first mindset, but the 2020-21 group has comparatively struggled in the rugged Big 12. The Mountaineers are rated No. 49 in defensive adjusted efficiency, which might be good for most teams — but not for Huggie Bear. That rating puts WVU a distant seventh in the conference, ahead of also-rans like TCU, Iowa State and Kansas State — but behind six programs, including Tech.
However, if West Virginia shows the improvement it did against Kansas Tuesday, Huggins’ motivational ploy will turn out to be the latest stroke of genius for the veteran coach.
Efficiency is Everything
Beard also prides himself on preaching defense, and the Red Raiders have shown that for the most part this season. Texas Tech is No. 14 in defensive adjusted efficiency, good for second in the Big 12. It was Tech’s performance on the offensive end Saturday that impressed.
The Raiders shot 47% overall from the floor and were 10-of-20 from downtown. And Texas Tech was clutch down the stretch, converting its final seven field goals of the game.
WVU is far more formidable than KSU. But seeing the ball go through the hoop at the end of the game like that will serve the Red Raiders well.
Texas Tech junior guard Mac McClung is averaging 25 points in his last four road games and the Georgetown transfer put up 23 against the Wildcats to lead all scorers. It was the eighth 20-point game of the season for the electric guard.
Mac McClung with the exclamation point to end the game for Texas Tech! pic.twitter.com/TFj0xlbYUN
— Stadium (@Stadium) February 6, 2021
Now, if the Red Raiders get Terrernce Shannon Jr. back to relatively full strength Tuesday, Tech should be in good shape against the Mountaineers. The sophomore guard from Chicago and the team’s top NBA prospect left Saturday’s game early with an ankle injury. He played only 11 minutes and scored two points.
Beard said he was essentially resting Shannon against Kansas State and expect him to play in this one. The backcourt matchup pitting McBride/Sherman vs McClung/Shannon will be one of the keys to the game. The Tech combo put up a combined 45 points in the first matchup (compared to 34 for WVU’s tandem). I expect a similar output on their home court. That’s why I’m going with Tech in this one.
The pick: Texas Tech -5 (-115)
Blair Johnson is a veteran journalist and seasoned sports content creator. He has been writing and producing content as long as he can remember, with such familiar names as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo. Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.