NCAA Championship Props — Texas Tech the Definition of a “Second Half” Team


Based on what we have seen in these NCAA Tournament games, the argument can be made that Chris Beard might just be one of the best coaches of our time when it comes to making halftime adjustments. And that could loom as a very big factor in the national championship game, scheduled for 9:20 PM ET at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

As Beard’s Texas Tech Red Raiders meet up with the Virginia Cavaliers, take note that BetAnySports customers can get reduced juice before the game, and Live Betting Ultra as the contest is in progress, which means you can make some in-game adjustments of your own.

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It has truly been amazing what the Red Raiders have done here in this five-game period. They have, in fact, outscored their opponents by an average of ten points in the second half.

And what is even more noteworthy is that they have done coming right out of the locker room. If we could divide each of these second halves into two, in effect creating “quadrants,” if you will, you’ll see that Texas Tech has outscored Northern Kentucky (23-14), Buffalo (26-8), Michigan (24-13), Gonzaga (18-13) and Michigan State (22-14) in the first ten minutes of the second half (the “third quadrant”). Isn’t that the kind of thing the Golden State Warriors became known for doing?

In four of those five games (Gonzaga being the exception), the third quadrant was the one where they scored the most points, and it constitutes 34.2% of their total points in this five-game trip to the national title game. They have yielded just 62 points during these ten-minute stretches, and it’s one of the things that has led to the Red Raiders holding Buffalo, Michigan and Michigan State to its lowest point total of the season, Northern Kentucky to its second lowest, and Gonzaga (which had led the nation in scoring) to its third lowest.

This has translated to five consecutive pointspread wins in this event for Texas Tech, and if you want to focus on a possible prop bet for you as the game unfolds, Beard and the Red Raiders have now covered the second half spread in all eight of the NCAA Tournament games they have been in together, and Beard himself is an 80% proposition – versus the number – in the second halves of games outside of his conference; that is to say, when there’s been a number (this includes his season with Arkansas-Little Rock as well).

We don’t know what the second half line is going to be yet; that will be available after halftime. But coming into the game, Virginia is the slight favorite at BetAnySports:

Virginia Cavaliers -1.5
Texas Tech Red Raiders +1.5

Over 118 points -110
Under 118 points -110

Leading into the Big Dance, the Red Raiders had scored more than 20 points in the third quadrant seven times. And they have now done it four of the last five, as the stakes have been highest.

But don’t fall under the impression that this is an aberration. Texas Tech (with a 31-6 record) has outscored its opponent in the second half in each of its last eight games, and 30 of the 37 games overall. There are a couple of outliers here; on December 12, they were outscored 17-16 by Northwestern State in the third quadrant, but they could be excused for that, as they were up 53-10 at the half. And Memphis outscored them 17-16 in the first ten minutes of the second half on December 1, before the Red Raiders put up 34 points in the last ten minutes of the contest (which projects to an incredible 136 over the full 40).

The most dominant second half they’ve had was in the season opener, when they took Incarnate Word to the woodshed with a 48-7 barrage on the way to an 87-37 victory, although outscoring nationally-ranked Buffalo 26-8 between the 21st and 30th minutes of their game in the Round of 32 was infinitely more impressive.

So how do we apply this to the title game? Well, in a sense, the numbers speak for themselves, but also remember that the adjustments may have considerably more effect against this kind of opponent. Consider that Virginia is not going to change up its basic scheme. In other words, they’re not going to move out of their Pack Line defense. They are not likely to put any full court press or trap on Texas Tech, because they are not programmed to force turnovers that way. And they certainly aren’t going to go fast-break crazy, not when their tempo figure on offense is 352nd out of 353 Division I teams.

So maybe Beard will have less to worry about coming out of the locker room. And the Red Raiders might have a leg up in that way.

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