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NCAA Tournament: Texas Tech vs. Arkansas; How to Watch, Preview, and Prediction

Colgate v Arkansas Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

When?

Date: Sunday, March 21, 2021
Time: 5:10PM CDT

Where?

Place: Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana

Hinkle Fieldhouse is a legendary spot in college basketball. It is home to the Butler Bulldogs and has hosted basketball games since 1928.

How To Watch?

TV: TNT
Streaming: NCAA March Madness App

History

All-Time Series: Texas Tech leads 40-39
All-Time Series at Neutral Site: Texas Tech leads 6-4

Texas Tech Red Raiders 18-10

The Red Raiders took care of business on Friday against 11 seed Utah St. They shot just 28% in the first half and were trailing, but turned up the defense to generate offense.

Texas Tech shot 57% in the 2nd half on the way to a 12 point win. They forced 22 turnovers just like Arkansas did in their first round game. Utah St. had 9 points off of turnovers and Texas Tech had 28. That’s where TTU won the game.

Mac McClung is who makes this team go. The transfer from Georgetown named Arkansas in his top 7 last offseason, but eventually chose Chris Beard and Texas Tech. He’s been an instant super star for the Red Raiders.

The identity of this Texas Tech is similar to every Chris Beard team. They faced tough, hard-nosed defense. They play a very slow pace, but are giving up just 63 points per game. That is 24th in the nation. They also force 16.3 turnovers a game. The individual defense is so good for the Red Raiders.

There’s only been 1 area where teams have had consistent success against Texas Tech offensively. That’s from 3. Opponents have shot 34.5% from 3. That ranks in the bottom third of the NCAA.

They are very methodical on offense and take quality shots on offense. Where they can be underwhelming is in making those quality shots. They rank 247th in 2-point percentage and 129th in 3-point percentage.

Projected Starting Lineup:

G – Mac McClung – 6-2
G – Kyler Edwards – 6-4
G – Kevin McCullar – 6-6
G – Terrence Shannon – 6-6
F – Marcus Santos-Silva – 6-7

Arkansas Razorbacks 23-6

Arkansas got its’ jitters out after a rough start against Colgate then cruised to a 17 point win.

There are big stakes in this game for the Arkansas program. The Hogs are trying to get back to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1996. I still can’t believe that stat is true, but here we are.

This isn’t an easy matchup for the Hogs, but there’s one thing for certain. They cannot afford to start Sunday’s game like they did against Colgate.

Texas Tech’s lockdown ability would make it nearly impossible to come back from a large deficit. The Hogs have to be locked in from the get go. They cannot let the moment be bigger than them.

Slow starts have plagued this team, but they have been able to overcome them because of weaker opponents. We’ve reached the point in the season where that is no longer the case. Arkansas just can’t do it.

Justin Smith and Jaylin Williams will be key on Sunday. With Texas Tech’s lack of size, I think those 2 will have a lot of 2nd chance opportunities. Smith was incredible against Colgate with 27 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 steals. Arkansas may need a similar type performance on Sunday.

Keys to an Arkansas win:

-Take care of the ball. Texas Tech has relied on points off turnovers all year. The Hogs cannot be careless with the ball.

-Take advantage of 2nd change opportunities.

-Get to the basket. Tech plays very good individual defense. If you beat them off the dribble then you have a chance.

Prediction

The Texas Tech defense is scary. They can truly lock you up, but their offense doesn’t worry. We know how Eric Musselman sells out to stop a best player. I think the Hogs will sell out to stop Mac McClung by doubling him the moment he crosses half court. It’s worked against a lot of other teams this year. I think Texas Tech is the type of team that it can work against. Considering that and the Arkansas size advantage, I will take the Hogs in a close one.

Arkansas 73 Texas Tech 67

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