West Region Second Round Prediction & Free Pick: #3 Texas Tech vs. #6 Buffalo

Date | AuthorJonathan Willis

Last Updated: 2019-03-23

This will be a traditional offense versus defense match-up. The best defense in the country will be out to stop one of the top shooting teams around when the No. 3 Texas Tech Red Raiders take on the No. 6 Buffalo Bulls for a spot in the Sweet 16. Both teams dominated their first round opponents in easy wins and covers, but only one team will advance to Washington D.C. for the West Regional Semifinal next week.

The Red Raiders are the shortest favorite of the day, and the oddsmakers think they are the team most likely to be upset. #3 Texas Tech is just a three-point favorite over #6 Buffalo in this West Region Second Round game, and the total has been set at 146.5. This will be the first game of a doubleheader from the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Sunday, March 24. The game is scheduled to tip off at 6:10 p.m. ET. The winner will advance to the Sweet 16 where they will face either Florida or Michigan for a spot in the Elite Eight.

How They Got Here

Buffalo was one of the best mid-majors in the country all year long. The Bulls have made the NCAA Tournament in four of the last five seasons, but this is the first time that they were a single-digit seed. They knocked off West Virginia and Syracuse to put their name on the map, and they lost just three times all year. Buffalo had little trouble winning the MAC in the regular season and the postseason and smoked Arizona State in their first round game. The Bulls shot over 50 percent from the field and crushed the Sun Devils on the glass, outrebounding them 42-26 in a game where they led by 25 midway through the second half.

Texas Tech had a long layoff after being stunned in its first Big 12 Tournament game by West Virginia. The Red Raiders had eight days from when they lost to WVU and played their first NCAA Tournament game, and they got off to a slow start against Northern Kentucky in their first round tilt on Friday, leading by just four points at halftime. They put the Norse away with a scoring barrage early in the second half, with Jarrett Culver going 10-17 from the floor to lead all scorers with 29 points.

Preview

Can Buffalo score on Texas Tech? That’s the big question coming into this one. The Bulls have been able to score against every team they have faced this season. They scored 99 against West Virginia and 71 against Syracuse, and they even put up 85 points on Marquette in a loss.

This isn’t a great perimeter shooting team. Buffalo is sinking just 33.6 percent of its threes, and 69 percent of its free throws, but the Bulls are great inside the arc, hitting 56 percent of their two-point field goals.

Nick Perkins, Jeremy Harris, and CJ Massinburg are the leaders for the Bulls. Massinburg is the leading scorer and is hitting 53.8 percent of his twos and over 40 percent of his threes, while Perkins is hitting 49.8 percent of his twos and 37.4 percent of his threes. Harris has been a bit of an enigma though. The guard is integral to the team, but while he hits 57.1 percent of his twos, he is hitting an abysmal 26.1 percent of his threes on over 200 attempts. With that kind of average, Texas Tech will let him fire away from deep.

The Red Raiders aren’t great on the offensive end, but they do have a fantastic option in Culver. He is averaging 18.8 PPG, and he is the player they go to when they need a basket. He is very involved in the offense with 6.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, but he has been a marginal three-point shooter on the year.

That’s where Matt Mooney and Davide Moretti come in. Mooney has hit 38.6 percent of his threes, while Moretti is the team’s sharpshooter and is nailing 46.4 percent of his triples. However, Buffalo has been one of the best teams at defending the perimeter, allowing opponents to make just 29.3 percent of their threes.

Pick: Buffalo +3

I smell an upset. Provided Harris doesn’t take Texas Tech’s invitation to fire away from deep, I think Buffalo can run a bit on the Red Raiders and get a number of easy buckets. The Red Raiders aren’t a team that can play from behind well, and Buffalo can get ahead early.

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