All previews: click here for the full 2018 NCAA tournament schedule
Conference: Big Ten
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Conference: Big 12
Date: Friday, March 23
Time: 9:57 pm Eastern
Location: Boston, MA
Purdue vs. Texas Tech is the only 2 vs. 3-seed matchup in any region. In fact, it's the only matchup that was expected from the beginning: there are no 1-seeds playing 4-seeds either.
Purdue Texas Tech
Strength: #3 Strength: #11
Pomeroy: #4 Pomeroy: #13
Offense: #2 Offense: #47
Defense: #32 Defense: #4
BPI: #4 BPI: #11
LRMC: #6 LRMC: #15
Consistency: #208 Consistency: #158
Schedule Strength: #42 Schedule Strength: #32
Tempo (Pomeroy): #229 Tempo: #249
AP Final Poll: #11 AP Final Poll: #14
AP Pre-season: #20 AP Pre-season: #NR
SportsRatings Genetic Model:
Model Rank: #10 Model Rank: #18
Purdue looks more like a 1-seed from their power ratings, and Tech is a solid 3-seed. When Purdue has the ball, it looks like two 1-seeds fighting in the Final Four get to the final game. When Texas Tech has the ball, it looks like an opening round 8- vs. 9-seed.
- Wins vs. tournament teams (7): =(4)Arizona+25, =(10)Butler+15, (15)Lipscomb+32, @(3)Michigan+1, (3)Michigan+4, =(15) Cal-St. Fullerton+26, =(10)Butler+3
- Wins vs. Sweet Sixteen (2): @(3)Michigan+1, (3)Michigan+4
- Losses to tournament teams (4): =(3)Tennessee-OT, (5)Ohio St.-1, @(3)Michigan St.-3, =(3)Michigan-9
- Other losses (2): =Western Kentucky-4, @Wisconsin-4
Overview: Purdue looked like a 1-seed when they were 25-2, but even then they had a lack of big wins mainly caused by the Big Ten's dearth of great teams. A 3-game skid dropped them a spot, and their failure to win the Big Ten kept them there. They did beat Michigan twice, giving them two wins over the only other Big Ten team to make it past the first two rounds. Purdue has been more consistent—but not quite as good—in the 2nd half of the year. The Boilermakers have four players in double figures including 7-footer Isaac Haas, scoring 14.9 in just 24 minutes of play. But Haas was injured against CSU Fullerton, leaving a hole in the offense and defense. They still have backup 7-footer Matt Haarms, who scores a lot less but blocks more shots. Carsen Edwards and Vincent Edwards both had 15 against Fullerton. Against Butler, Haarms played fairly well, scoring 7 points and blocking 2 shots; Vincent Edwards led with 20.
- 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,
- Wins vs. Sweet Sixteen (5): (7)Nevada+OT, @(1)Kansas+12, (9)Kansas St.+16, (5)West Virginia+1, @(9)Kansas St.+19
- 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.
Game Analysis: Isaac Haas is still trying to get back for Purdue, hoping to find a brace that works and is acceptable to the NCAA, but at this point we assume he's out. If we learn otherwise we may adjust our projection, maybe not; he might be no more effective than Haarms anyway. So while Purdue is hobbled, Texas Tech will have their first true road game of the tournament playing in Boston after two games in Dallas, which is quite a ways from Lubbock but still in-state. The absence of Haas will mainly hurt Purdue's offense in its efforts to overcome Tech's defense.
Purdue by 1 1/2
Power rating: spread
Purdue by 4.7
Game-comparisons: % Chance to win
Texas Tech: 37.1%
Vegas seems to be correcting a bit for Isaac Haas' absence, which the Strength power rating doesn't do. 3-seeds beat 2-seeds about 35% of the time, so our game-comparison odds look about right. Interestingly the BPI gives Purdue a 75% chance, which is odd since they correct (supposedly) for player absences.
Bottom line: We didn't think either team would be here. We had Florida picked for the Sweet Sixteen, and we changed our minds on Purdue after the Haas injury. Instead, this is the only game between two teams that were expected to be here according to their seeds. Since we originally had Purdue beating Florida here, we would be inclined to advance the Boilermakers, but again, Haas being gone has us stumped. Texas Tech has fallen into a predictable level of play, however, and Purdue is playing a little better than that even without Haas.
Final prediction: Purdue 69, Texas Tech 68
More previews: click here for the full 2018 NCAA tournament schedule.