Preview: Texas Tech vs. Duke
No. 11 Texas Tech is one of nine remaining undefeated teams in the country, and if it still is among that group after Thursday, it will have earned it. The Red Raiders attempt to maintain their untarnished record when they face second-ranked Duke in a marquee matchup at Madison Square Garden.
The Red Raiders are off to their best start since going 12-0 to begin the 1929-30 season, but they’ve played one of the weakest schedules in the nation heading into Thursday’s matchup. “We don’t shy away from this,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard told reporters. “It’s a great opportunity on national television, historic Duke, sellout, Madison Square Garden, future NBA players. We don’t shy away from that. … This is a great opportunity for our program.” The Blue Devils have had a much more challenging slate – this will be their fourth game against a ranked opponent – and their only loss was a two-point setback against Gonzaga. Duke has won its last five games by an average of 39.8 points, including a 101-50 rout of Princeton on Tuesday.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT TEXAS TECH (10-0): The Red Raiders top the nation in field-goal defense (32.2 percent) and are tied for the lead in scoring defense (51.2 points per game). Reigning Big 12 Player of the Week Jarrett Culver (19.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists), who poured in 30 points in Saturday’s 82-48 win over Abilene Christian, leads the way at the offensive end. Matt Mooney (11 points) is the only other double-digit scorer, but the Red Raiders have six players who average at least 7.4 points.
ABOUT DUKE (10-1): The Blue Devils lean on the most dynamic freshman duo in the nation in RJ Barrett (24.5 points, 7.1 rebounds) and Zion Williamson (20.1, 9.1, two blocks) – and that’s only half of their outstanding first-year group. Classmates Cam Reddish (14 points) and Tre Jones (8.3, 5.6 assists) also are playing big roles for the team, which averages 93.6 points and is shooting better than 50 percent. Duke defends the perimeter well, holding opponents to 28.1 percent from 3-point range, and forces 16.9 turnovers per game.
1. Duke is 34-18 all-time at Madison Square Garden, including a 29-11 record under coach Mike Krzyzewski.
2. Texas Tech ranks second in the Big 12 with 11.5 turnovers per contest.
3. The Blue Devils lead the nation with an average of 8.1 blocked shots.