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No. 6 Texas Tech vs. No. 11 Utah State preview for NCAA Tournament first-round matchup

The No. 6 Texas Tech and No. 11 Utah State face off in the first round of the 2021 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of what and how to watch following Selection Sunday.

Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Mac McClung reacts after a play against the Texas Longhorns during the second half at T-Mobile Center.  Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday, March 18th with the First Four, and then moves on to the first round on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16. No. 6 seed Texas Tech will face No. 11 seed Utah State in the first round. Game time has yet to be announced but we will update this article with that and game odds as soon as it comes available. For now, we’ve got a preliminary preview of the two teams to get you ready for March Madness!

Once March Madness odds from DraftKings Sportsbook are made available for this game, we’ll add that information below. We’ll also add the game time and TV channel once it’s settled.

Game date: Friday, March 19
Game time: 1:45 p.m. ET
TV channel: TNT
Location: Assembly Hall, Indiana University

Odds: Texas Tech -4.5
Over/Under: 133

No. 6 Texas Tech

The Texas Tech Red Raiders have elevated themselves as a program with head coach Chris Beard, who is in his fifth season with the team. Texas Tech is again led by their defense, which comes in at No. 17 in college basketball in adjusted efficiency, and allowing 62.6 points per game is the best mark in the Big 12. Offensively, the Red Raiders will play a slow style of basketball as their possessions per game ranks outside the top 250.

Texas Tech is led by Georgetown transfer Mac McClung, who is averaging 16.3 points per game. The Red Raiders do not have many players who will jump off the page statistically, but the success of this team is based on solid team basketball. As a team, Texas Tech ranks second in the Big 12 in turnover margin, as they take care of the ball very well, making them a tough out in the tournament.

Record: 17-10, 9-8 Big 12
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 33
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 24
ATS: 10-17
Over Total: 12-15
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +1300

No. 11 Utah State

The Utah State Aggies heard their name called on Selection Sunday in quite the relief for their players, coaches and fans. Utah State is a defense-led team, which ranks inside the top 10 in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency. They can hold their own on the offensive end, but it will likely be their defensive excellence that could lead to a win or two in the NCAA Tournament. Utah State ranked second in the Mountain West this season in opponent field goal percentage.

The Aggies are incredibly good at bringing down rebounds with a pair of big men in seven-foot junior center Neemias Queta, who averages 14.8 points and 10 rebounds per game. Forward Justin Bean chips in 11.2 points with 7.7 rebounds per game. Utah State’s weakness is on the offensive end, but second-chance points can make a big difference.

Record: 20-8, 15-4 MWC
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 112
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 9
ATS: 15-11
Over Total: 11-15
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +6000