All previews: click here for the full 2018 NCAA tournament schedule
Conference: Big East
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Conference: Big 12
Date: Sunday, March 25
Time: 2:20 pm Eastern
Location: Boston, MA
For this tournament, a 1-seed facing a 3-seed is a bit of a shocker.
Villanova Texas Tech
Strength: #1 Strength: #10
Pomeroy: #1 Pomeroy: #11
Offense: #1 Offense: #45
Defense: #15 Defense: #3
BPI: #1 BPI: #11
LRMC: #1 LRMC: #15
Consistency: #217 Consistency: #181
Schedule Strength: #12 Schedule Strength: #22
Tempo (Pomeroy): #159 Tempo: #247
AP Final Poll: #2 AP Final Poll: #14
AP Pre-season: #6 AP Pre-season: #NR
SportsRatings Genetic Model:
Model Rank: #1 Model Rank: #18
The Villanova Wildcats are now #1 across the board in the power ratings surveyed (they were #2 in Pomeroy before Virginia's UMBC debacle). They are #1 in offensive efficiency by quite a margin, and they've also crept up to #15 in defense from their starting point of #22 before the tournament started. Texas Tech's profile is largely unchanged, with their solid defense at #3 and offense a middling #45.
- Wins vs. tournament teams (15): =(3)Tennessee+9, (16)Penn+28, =(4)Gonzaga+16, (1)Xavier+24, (10)Providence+20, (8)Creighton+20, (8)Seton Hall+16, (10)Butler+11, @(1)Xavier+16, @(8)Seton Hall+OT, =(10)Butler+19, =(10)Providence+OT, =(16)Radford+26, =(9)Alabama+23, =(5)West Virginia+12
- Wins vs. Sweet Sixteen (2): =(4)Gonzaga+16, =(5)West Virginia+12
- Losses to tournament teams (3): @(10)Butler-8, @(10)Providence-5, @(8)Creighton-OT
- Other losses (1): St. John's-4
Overview: Villanova has actually lost to some pretty pedestrian teams—10-seeds Butler and Providence, and 8-seed Creighton, as well as St. John's when the Red Storm were in Red Hulk mode. But they also beat 1-seed Xavier twice, 3-seed Tennessee, and 4-seed Gonzaga, and there's no arguing with 30-4 when your SOS is #11. The key to Villanova is their offense; we've seen loads of teams over the years with 5 players averaging double figures, but Villanova has 6, with Jalen Brunson at 19.4 ppg and Mikal Bridges at 18.0. Yes, they're dependent on shooting the three—even moreso than the last two years—which leads to some inconsistency in play, but they shoot it far better than in their championship year. That held true against Radford, as six Wildcats scored in double figures, making 14 of 27 threes. Against Alabama, they made 17 of 41, not nearly as good but still 41% as Bridges had 23 points. Brunson dropped 27 on West Virgina as the Wildcats made 54% of their threes.
- Wins vs. tournament teams (13): (7)Nevada+OT, @(1)Kansas+12, (9)Kansas St.+16, (5)West Virginia+1, (10)Texas+OT, @(6)TCU+12, @(9)Kansas St.+19, (10)Oklahoma+10, (6)TCU+4, =(10)Texas+4, =(14)Stephen F. Austin+10, (6)Florida+3, =(2)Purdue+13
- Wins vs. Sweet Sixteen (6): (7)Nevada+OT, @(1)Kansas+12, (9)Kansas St.+16, (5)West Virginia+1, @(9)Kansas St.+19, =(2)Purdue+13
- Losses to tournament teams (6): @(8)Seton Hall-10, @(10)Oklahoma-10, @(10)Texas-9, (1)Kansas-2, @(5)West Virginia-10, =(5)West Virginia-3
- Other losses (3): @Iowa St.-18, @Baylor-2, @Oklahoma St.-8
Overview: Texas Tech was rolling along at 22-4 before a 4-game losing streak tripped them up at the end of the year. Three of those losses were to Texas, 1-seed Kansas and 5-seed West Virginia; they also fell to Oklahoma State and dropped their final game to the Mountaineers. In between they beat TCU and Texas. Not the best finish, but generally tough competition playing in the 7-bid Big 12. Senior guard Keenan Evans leads the team with a 17.5 ppg average; he scored 23 in the win over Stephen F. Austin and 22 against Florida. He made it 3 for 3 for the tournament by leading with 16 against Purdue, with 9 points on free throws as Tech went 17 for 18 from the stripe.
Game Analysis: Texas Tech finally raised their game against Purdue—or did the Boilermakers finally have a bad game due to Isaac Haas being out? Whatever the reason, Texas Tech broke out of their holding pattern for a big win. It was their first really great effort since beating Kansas State 66-47 on February 10th. Villanova, on the other hand, had arguably their 3rd great game of the tournament. Clearly the highlight of the upcoming game is Villanova's offense vs. Texas Tech's defense, but with the Wildcat defensive play improving, the other side of the court may be what makes the difference.
Villanova by 6 1/2
Power rating: spread
Villanova by 6.8
Game-comparisons: % Chance to win
Texas Tech: 32.0%
Almost the same line from Vegas or our Strength power rating. We could make an argument for giving Villanova another point or two for playing much closer to home. The Wildcat odds of beating Texas Tech in a given game are a bit higher than they were for beating West Virginia, a team similary rated to Texas Tech but much more volatile.
Bottom line: We think Texas Tech had their shining moment of the tournament, and Villanova will make the Final Four—but with their defense primarily.
Final prediction: Villanova 76, Texas Tech 67
More previews: click here for the full 2018 NCAA tournament schedule.