Texas Tech looks to lean on defense against Villanova attack

Bob De Chiara | USA TODAY Sports Images				
					NCAA takes steps to permit Purdue’s Isaac Haas to wear a brace on his injured elbow

Bob De Chiara | USA TODAY Sports Images NCAA takes steps to permit Purdue’s Isaac Haas to wear a brace on his injured elbow

Texas Tech (27-9) will face top-seeded Villanova here Sunday for the right to reach the Final Four, but the Red Raiders are in the stage at which anything seems possible. Bridges looked bothered by Texas Tech's length and athleticism and picked up two early fouls, as did talented freshman Omari Spellman.

At this time of the year, rest, hydration and nutrition are just as important as the scouting report on the next opponent, and the top-seeded Wildcats (33-4) made sure they followed that well-defined plan to the letter in anticipation of another tough, physical battle against one of the best defensive teams in the country.

"We know defense wins championships, and that's our identity", Evans said.

"We've got great basketball tradition at Texas Tech", Beard said. Texas Tech played more aggressive and was even out-shooting Villanova in the second half, coming within five points of the Wildcats.

In a season of accomplishments, Texas Tech will play in its first Elite Eight in school history. They showed that in the win over West Virginia.

And that's where John Shackleton and Jeff Pierce come into play.

"Today's a crucial day", Shackleton said. "Those moments, they need me to step up". They rammed home six dunks against Purdue on Friday and have a 12-2 edge in dunks against opponents during the tournament. The game is scheduled to get underway at 2:20 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 25, 2018. They weren't stunned that they maintained a lead on Purdue despite a quiet night from Evans, one of the best guards in the nation.

"It kind of felt like our team a year ago, that kind of hit us", he said. And just one of the teams above them played in the NCAA tournament this year - Davidson.

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The Wildcats utilized that shooting to come back against West Virginia Friday night. We play every game like it's our last. It tests a team's fitness.

Villanova has the advantage of playing consecutive gritty Big 12 programs. Lack of a post game placed more pressure on Carsen Edwards, who carried Purdue in the first 15 minutes of the second half and Vince Edwards's layup sliced the deficit to 58-55 with 5:44 left. "But I think you've got to give our guys a lot of credit". "Everything he does, all the lifts during the offseason and during the season are meant for recovery". For the second time in three seasons. "It's just who is less banged up". The victor of this game will join Loyola-Chicago and MI in the Final Four and most expect it to be Villanova, a team ranked near the top of the polls all season. Leading the way for the Red Raiders was Zach Smith who had 14 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, and a steal. If Tech can keep the live-ball turnovers at a minimum, life for the Villanova offense will be much more hard than usual.

Villanova also outplayed Texas Tech from the free-throw line, shooting 82.9 percent compared to 77.8. There's a lot more to the game.

In the Sweet 16, the Red Raiders beat the No. 2 Purdue Boilermakers, 78-65. Wildcats coach Jay Wright and his players emphasized the similarities in their light practice yesterday on the parquet floor.

"Their motion screening action is unique, reminiscent of Bobby Knight's teams, that you don't really see that as much anymore".

"And just the physicality, the toughness of that team, that's what a final eight game is going to be like".

"Security stopped me", Benson said. "Shack does a good job of getting us ready for situations like this".

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