The #1 Villanova Wildcats will face off against the #3 Texas Tech Red Raiders in Boston on Sunday afternoon for a chance to advance to their second Final Four in three years. The Wildcats are coming off an extremely physical game against the West Virginia Mountaineers, while the Red Raiders clipped #2 Purdue to advance to their first Elite Eight in school history.
Here are some things to watch for as the ‘Cats look to punch their tickets to San Antonio
Elite Offense vs. Elite Defense
All year, much has been made of Villanova’s all-world offense, an offense that has posted the second-strongest numbers in the KenPom era. Against West Virginia, the Wildcats, ranked #1 in AdjO, shot 50% from the field and 54% from deep. While the ‘Cats have been hot, the Texas Tech defense will be a tough test. The Red Raiders are ranked #3 in AdjD and boast Top 20 rankings in turnovers and 2-point defense. With their length and athleticism, they also have strong closeout speed, ranking #50 in 3-point defense.
Keenan Evans and Zhaire Smith
Texas Tech is led by 6’3 senior guard Keenan Evans. Evans is averaging 17.7 points per game on a cool 57% shooting from 2-point range. Against Purdue, Evans tallied 16 points on 3 of 8 from the field. Freshman Zhaire Smith (6’5, Guard), averaging 11.3 points per game is the Red Raiders biggest deep threat, shooting 44.7% percent from three on the year. However, as you can see by the numbers, the Red Raiders do not have a particularly explosive offense. The team ranks #244 in AdjTempo and has a reputation for occasionally stalling on offense, averaging 75 points per game as a squad.
The Red Raiders by the Numbers
Overall: 27-9 .750 W-L% (31st of 351)
Conference: 11-7, 2nd in Big 12
SOS: 9.25 (31st of 351)