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No. 6 Texas Tech vs. No. 11 Utah State preview, picks for first round of 2021 NCAA Tournament

The Texas Tech Red Raiders and Utah State Aggies meet at Assembly Hall in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

BJ Armstrong and Julian Edlow’s locks for the final four

Update March 19: Here are the updated bet splits for No. 6 Texas Tech vs. No. 11 Utah State as of March 19th at 7 a.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Texas Tech -4: 60% of action, 72% of bets
Utah State +4: 40% of action, 28% of bets

Over 131: 38% of action, 55% of bets
Under 131: 62% of action, 45% of bets


Update March 18: Here are the updated bet splits for No. 6 Texas Tech vs. No. 11 Utah State as of March 18th at 1:30 p.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Texas Tech: -4: 48% of action, 72% of bets
Utah State: +4: 52% of action, 28% of bets

Over 131.5: 43% of action, 53% of bets
Under 131.5: 57% of action, 47% of bets


Update March 17: Here are the updated bet splits for Texas Tech vs. Utah State as of March 17th at 11:00 a.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Texas Tech: -4.5: 73% of handle, 76% of bets
Utah State: +4.5: 37% of handle, 24% of bets
Over: 131: 25% of handle, 53% of bets
Under: 131: 75% of handle, 47% of bets


The Texas Tech Red Raiders get a matchup they might like in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, as they take on the Mountain West Conference finalists in Utah State on Friday, March 19th at 1:45 p.m. They’ll play in the legendary Assembly Hall at Indiana University, with the action broadcast live on TNT.

No. 6 Texas Tech: 17-10 (9-8 Big 12): At-large

KenPom rating: 23 Overall, 33 Offense, 24 Defense
NET ranking: 16, (4-10 vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Mac McClung, 15.7 ppg
Key stat: The Red Raiders turn over their opponent on 23.8% of possessions, good for eighth in Division I.

Tech dropped five of their last eight games, but in a conference as deep as the Big 12 that’s not necessarily a knock. With wins over Texas twice, Oklahoma, and LSU, they played one of the toughest schedules in college basketball after the new year began.

The Georgetown transfer McClung has led from the guard position, but doesn’t get a ton of opportunities on a team that’s only getting 65.4 possessions per game. They shoot a mediocre 35.4% from three-point range as a team, and a big outing from sharpshooter Kyler Edwards might be helpful against a defense that can guard at an elite level.

No. 11 Utah State: 20-8 (15-4 Mountain West): At-large

KenPom rating: 40 Overall, 112 Offense, 8 Defense
NET ranking: 39 (2-5 vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Neemias Queta, 15.1 ppg
Key stat: The Aggies allow offensive rebounds on just 21.3% of opportunities, good for fifth in the nation.

The Aggies get after it defensively, and protect the rim as well as any team in the country. Queta averages a 15 & 10 double-double for the MWC runner-up, but the 7’0 center is out there for his defense as much as his scoring.

Shutting down McClung as both a scorer and playmaker will be key, as the Aggies will want to force the Red Raiders into bad shots while swarming spot-ups on the perimeter via tight rotations.

March Madness Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: Texas Tech -4.5
Point Total: 131
Moneyline: Texas Tech -200, Utah State +165

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: Texas Tech -4.5
Point total pick: Under 131
Pick to Win: Texas Tech

If Sam Merrill was still at Utah State after his MWC title last year, we’d be on this the other way. But the Aggies just can’t score consistently enough to keep up with a team that can also defend well. This one might be ugly, and the first team to 50 probably survives and advances. And to be honest, with USU’s struggles later in the season with not-great opponents, Texas Tech probably wasn’t too upset when they saw their opponent.

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