The Texas Tech Red Raiders are seeking their first-ever NCAA men’s tournament title on Monday, April 8. Head coach Chris Beard will be putting his team full of defensive stalwarts and talented sharpshooters against an equally-skilled defensive and shooting team from the University of Virginia.
Texas Tech’s roster includes five upperclassmen among the 15 players. There are four true freshmen and one redshirt freshman as well. Three players on the roster hail from outside of the United States. A positional breakdown includes nine frontcourt and six backcourt players. Only about half of the roster has seen significant playing time over the course of the season, however.
Here’s the Red Raiders’ full roster listed by jersey number:
Texas Tech is going with the same starting five that has gotten them to this point in the tournament on Monday night against Virginia. The starters for both teams playing in the men’s championship game are:
Culver has been leading Texas Tech’s starting five in the tournament in scoring, averaging 19.2 points per game. The most-likely NBA draft prospect on the roster has complemented that with four assists and 1.8 steals on average per game. One of the other two guards to start every tournament game for the Red Raiders, Mooney, has averaged 13.8 points, 3.4 assists and 2.6 steals per game so far in the tournament. To finish off the frontcourt, Moretti has posted averages of 10.6 points, two assists and 2.8 rebounds per game over the course of the tournament so far.
For the Texas Tech starting backcourt, Owens comes into Monday night averaging 8.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and has blocked three shots. Odiase’s averages so far in the tournament are 4.8 points and 6.4 rebounds. Odiase has blocked two shots and posted a double-double (15 rebounds, 14 points) in the Red Raiders’ win over Buffalo in the round of 32 on March 24.
Over the past five games, Texas Tech has averaged shooting 46.3 percent from the field while limiting its opponents to an average of 55.8 points per game. The Red Raiders have amassed 60 assists compared to 53 turnovers so far in the 2019 NCAA men’s tournament. That assist-to-turnover margin isn’t great, so look for Virginia to try to exploit bad decisions made by Texas Tech in their half-court sets. Possessions will be at a premium in this game, as both teams run half-court offenses predicated on getting their best shooters good looks at the basket.
Bench players who have seen significant minutes so far in the 2019 tournament include Corprew, Edwards, and Francis. Francis has played the most, averaging 24.8 minutes per game through the tournament to this point. In that time he is averaging six points while compiling three steals and six assists. None of the other players have seen more than a few minutes in a couple of games. Considering the skilled defensive emphasis Virginia employs, putting pressure on the ball and disrupting passing lanes, expect Edwards and Francis to be utilized heavily to spell the starting guards.
Monday night’s championship game against the Cavaliers could very well be a low-scoring and tight contest that will come down to which team can best execute its half-court sets against the opposition’s stingy defense. The Red Raiders will need all eight players in their regular rotation to overcome Virginia.