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Texas To Miss NCAA Tournament With Loss To Texas Tech
Could the job of Texas head coach Rick Barnes be on the line Wednesday night? It might be as the Longhorns are currently very much on the NCAA Tournament bubble and a loss to the Big 12's worst team, Texas Tech, in the conference tournament opener in Kansas City will ensure that UT misses the Big Dance for the second time in three years. Texas is a 10-point favorite on BetOnline.
Texas (19-12, 8-10) had a late-season four-game losing streak that looked to have killed UT's NCAA chances but the Horns closed with wins over ranked Baylor and against Kansas State. Texas held those schools to an average of 54.0 points per game on a combined 34.7% FG shooting (41-of-118). The Horns are 17-4 when holding their opponent below 40% FG shooting this year. UT tied a school single-game record with 14 blocks in Saturday's victory against K-State. The Horns have reached double figures in blocks in each of their last three contests entering postseason play and rank first nationally in blocks per game (7.9 bpg).
Junior guard Demarcus Holland has reached double figures in scoring in four straight games entering postseason play. During the stretch, Holland is averaging 13.3 points per game while hitting 62.1% from the floor (18-of-29), including a 57.1% mark from three-point range (8-of-14). Freshman big man Myles Turner was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Turner leads the league in blocked shots (87, three shy of Big 12 and UT single-season freshman record and five shy of overall UT single-season mark) and the team in rebounding (6.6 rpg) and ranks second on the squad in scoring (10.8 ppg). He has reached double figures in scoring 13 times this year and recorded at least five blocks in nine of the first 31 games.
Texas holds a 44-37 (.543) all-time record in league tournament games, including a 23-18 (.561) mark in its previous 18 trips to the Big 12 Tournament. UT is is 2-1 against Tech in the Big 12 Tournament under Barnes. The Horns won 86-83 in the 1998 first round, dropped a 92-81 decision in the 2003 quarterfinals and posted a 77-70 victory in the 2006 quarterfinals.
Texas Tech (13-18, 3-15) finished last in the conference. Wednesday marks the Red Raiders' 19th year to participate in the conference postseason tournament. The Red Raiders are 13-18 in the event and this year will mark the 17th time the Red Raiders will open the tournament in the first round. Texas Tech is 8-8 in first round games.
Texas was 2-0 this year vs. Tech. On Jan. 3 in Lubbock, UT won 70-61. Javan Felix scored 15 points and Jonathan Holmes added 14 to lead Texas in each team's Big 12 opener. Felix was 3 of 6 from 3-point range, while Holmes became the 34th player in Texas history to score 1,000 points. Isaiah Manderson scored 12 points for the Red Raiders. On Feb. 14, TTU lost its 19th straight game in Austin, 56-41. Turner scored 25 points. Turner was 10-of-13 shooting and also had 12 rebounds and three blocks while easily towering over the smaller Red Raiders.
Key betting trends: Red Raiders are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall. Red Raiders are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. Big 12. Red Raiders are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record. Longhorns are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS win. Longhorns are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a losing S.U. record.
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