Final Four: Texas Tech's Lockdown Defense Strikes Again, Smothers Sparty
Share this article
Anyone who's been paying attention from the start of March Madness would agree that this was not an upset.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders have cut a swath through the tournament by observing the state of college basketball and ripping it to shreds.
- Serial dribblers get smothered,
- Hero ball gets choked,
- Mid-air ball handlers discover too late their options have been removed, and
- In general, get that shot outta here:
When Dr Naismith invented basket ball -- remember, dude was a hockey-influenced Canadian -- he called for a jump ball after every basket. Unless or until college teams go all Princeton against the Red Raiders, who'd be surprised if that rule returned?
Old School says a ball handler's gotta have two choices at all times when he's in possession. Texas Tech bets that their flash-&-dash opponents will ignore that fundamental enough times for them to force turnovers. Lotsa turnovers.
Since then, the Red Raiders have opened eyes and closed opponents' seasons at every turn.
Michigan State was no different. The Spartans matched blows as long as they could, but attrition -- physically and mentally -- ultimately took its toll in a 61-51 introduction to the Texas Tech defense:
Proving their Mannschaft über alles philosophy, star guard Jarrett Culver had a horrible offensive evening and Tech still didn't miss a beat.
South Dakota transfer Matt Mooney handled scoring duties until Culver found his way near the end. If Mooney hadn't stepped up, someone else probably would've.
Dude had already landed hard after getting his legs swept away on a rebound and then crashed into the scorer's bench chasing a free-form ball, and then this happened:
Tariq Owens injury video: lands on teammates foot causing lateral ankle sprain as well as hyperextending his right knee as well. I’d be shocked if he returned tonight. But it is the final four. He was able to walk off court with limp. #finalfour2019 pic.twitter.com/0yZlb3FMZf— #ReiffReport (@ReiffReport) April 7, 2019
But, as the Black Knight would say ...
Whether or not Owens' magical healing powers extend to a full recovery in time for the title game is still undetermined.
Still, what is determined is the Red Raider mentality. That'll be ready for Monday night, no matter what.