FAYETTEVILLE – The third-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks, 23-6 of the SEC, and the sixth-seeded Texas Tech Red Raiders, 18-10 of the Big 12, will play their second round NCAA Tournament game at 5:10 p.m. CDT Sunday on TNT television at Butler University’s historic Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.,
On Friday Coach Eric Musselman’s advanced to Round 2 overcoming an early first-half deficit to defeat 13th-seeded Colgate, 85-68 in Indianapolis while Coach Chris Beard’s Red Raiders advanced to Round 2 Friday defeating 11th Utah State, 65-53.
“We’re playing a great Texas Tech team,” Musselman said Saturday. “Really well coached, great offensive rebounders, really physical. Really difficult to score against.”
Tempo seems paramount given Musselman’s Razorbacks like to run and Beard’s Red Raiders are deemed more methodical but that can be misnomered both ways, both coaches say.
For instance the Musselman’s move of going small during the Colgate game with 6-7 forward Justin Smith the tallest Hog after starting 7-3 center Connor Vanover, and 6-10 and 6-8 alternates Jaylin Williams and Ethan Henderson were benched after brief appearances, have been Beard duplicated.
“Interestingly enough, Texas Tech went small in the second half against Utah State at times,” Musselman said. I don’t know how the game’s going to be dictated, or the tempo, how that’s going to go. You’ve got to make some shots against Texas Tech, because they’re so good defensively. You not only have to talk about how you’re going to stop them, but how you’re going to score.”
Tech’s Mac McCLung, 15.8 scoring average, leads Tech for the season and his 16 points led Tech against Utah State.
“McClung’s a great scorer,” Musselman said.
Beard, formerly the head coach at Arkansas-Little Rock, said Arkansas graduate transfer via Indiana University forward Justin Smith, 29 points, 13 rebounds and five steals against Colgate, posted the best first-round game of any during Friday’s 16 first-round games.
One Arkansas concern could be Smith’s just having Sunday to rest after never leaving the court playing the entire 40 minutes against Colgate.
“No concerns at all,”Jalen Tate, Arkansas’ starting point guard and graduate transfer via Northern Kentucky University, said. “ I know Justin is a guy that spends excess time with our trainers and our training staff just to get his body right. He’s a pro’s pro when it comes to things like that. So I definitely believe Justin will be ready to go come Sunday.”