Game Preview: #3 Texas Tech (28-6) vs. #2 Michigan (30-6)
When: March 28th at 9:39 PM EST
Where: Honda Center in Anaheim, California
— Michigan Men's Basketball (@umichbball) March 28, 2019
Defense is the name of the game, and it has carried both Michigan and Texas Tech into tonight’s Sweet 16 clash. This will not be your typical high scoring affair. Instead, it is going to be an in-your-face slugfest. This game is about giving it your all and whoever comes out on top will earn the right to play Saturday against the winner of the Florida State/Gonzaga game.
Points will be a premium and it all boils down to execution on both ends of the court. For Michigan, they are led by Zavier Simpson and Charles Matthews along with Jon Teske to create a formidable defensive trio. Simpson has a total of 40 assists to 9 turnovers so far in this tournament, Charles Matthews can go toe-to-toe with any of the top opposing offensive scorers in the country, and he is turning his game up several notches in the two-game span. At 7’1, 260 pounds, Teske is a tank inside and dominates the boards while providing some needed shot blocking with his length.
As for Jordan Poole and Ignas Brazdeikis, the duo can be difficult to guard because of their ability to score and make tough shots. Brazdeikis will be looking to bounce back from a rough game against Florida and his length will help him against a stout Red Raiders defense.
For Texas Tech, Jarrett Culver is someone to watch because at 6’6, he is one of the top NBA prospects with the ability to create his own shots and put the team on his back. But, Culver does have a supporting cast in Mooney, Moretti, Owens and Odiase which takes a lot of the pressure off of Culver. Chris Beard, the coach for Texas Tech, has placed a big emphasis on defense in his 3 years at the helm and it has resulted in the top defense in the country this season.
Keys To The Game
Limit Culver- Culver is the heart and soul of this Red Raiders offense and every single offensive play runs through him. It will be Charles Matthews that guards him and this is a matchup to watch carefully because Culver can score and Matthews has been a monster on defense so something will have to give. The key for Matthews is to not get into foul trouble and if he stays out of foul trouble, it will allow the Wolverines to turn the attention elsewhere defensively.
Execution is Crucial- At this point of the season, execution becomes very important and the Wolverines know that there cannot be any silly mistakes against a Texas Tech team that forces turnovers 23% of the time on defense. Michigan will need to stay calm and not rush their shots because if they panic, it is going to be a very long night.
Prediction: There will be periods where no one is going to score at all and it will be a tight game from the opening tip to the final buzzer. Whichever team that reaches 50 first is going to win this game. 59-54 Michigan