The LSU men’s basketball team (11-4, 6-3) will press pause on its conference schedule Saturday afternoon and welcome the No. 10 Texas Tech Red Raiders as part of the annual Big 12/SEC Challenge.
When we last saw LSU, the Tigers coughed up a 17-point first half lead to Texas A&M, but rallied back and held the Aggies to zero points over the game’s final 8:50. The Red Raiders (11-5, 4-4), on the other hand, came up just short Monday in Morgantown losing to the Mountaineers 88-87.
It’s a testament to how strong the Big 12 is that a four-loss team like Tech can still be ranked inside the Top 10. The Big 12 has six teams ranked, with Baylor and Texas at No. 2 and 5 respectively. The usual suspects, Kansas and West Virginia, are inside the Top 15, while Oklahoma is 24th and should only climb higher after handing Texas an 80-79 loss Monday night.
When it comes to Texas Tech on the football field you think offense. But on the hardwood, Chris Beard has turned Tech into one of the nastiest defenses in the country, with the Red Raiders currently ranked 15th in adjusted defense per KenPom. It’s a classic strength vs. strength matchup as the Tiger offense goes up against the Red Raider’s defense.
But LSU had better have its mind right on the defensive end because Texas Tech is no joke scoring the ball either. Per KenPom, the Red Raiders are 24th in adjusted offense.
It starts with Mac McClung, who is Tech’s leading scorer with 17 points a game. McClung came to Tech after transferring from Georgetown and was widely thought of as the biggest prize on the transfer market. He’s had a hot streak of late, scoring 22 or more over the last three games including a 30-piece against West Virginia. McClung figures to be tasked with defending Cam Thomas, and that could be one hell of a show.
McClung and Thomas both hail from Virginia and were scoring machines at the high school level. Thomas is the all-time leading scorer for powerhouse Oak Hill Academy, home of Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, and did it in only two years; McClung, on the other hand, set the record for most points scored in the state’s history. The previous record holder was none other than Allen Iverson.
Tip off is set for 1:00 P.M. and will be broadcasted on ESPN2. LSU is 2-2 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, winning last year in Austin against the Longhorns.