Red Raiders Rise in Polls, Stat Rankings

LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech will go into the postseason on a nine-game winning streak and at No. 9 in the NCAA NET Rankings, No. 7 in the Associated Press Top-25 and No. 6 in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll after winning the program’s first-ever Big 12 Conference regular-season championship. The rankings are the highest for Tech this season and the No. 6 ranking in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll matches a program-best.

The Red Raiders (26-5, 14-4 Big 12) will open this week’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Championship at 6 p.m. on Thursday in a quarterfinal matchup against the Oklahoma-West Virginia winner. Tech, which is the second seed in the tournament for the second straight season, finished the regular season leading the nation by limiting opponents to only 36.8 percent shooting and is second in the country by holding teams to 58.6 points per game. The team also ranks ninth with a 14.4 scoring margin of victory, is 16th defensively with opponents shooting just 29.9 percent on 3-pointers and 17th with 4.9 blocks per game. Offensively, the Red Raiders are second in the conference with a 47.2 shooting percentage and a 72.3 percentage from the free-throw line. Tech finished the regular season leading the Big 12 with a 3.3 turnover margin, 15.61 turnovers forced and were second with a 36.9 shooting percentage on 3-pointers.

Along with the polls, Texas Tech is No. 10 in the ESPN Power Rankings and No. 8 in the Pomeroy Ratings and Andy Katz’s Power 36. The Red Raiders have now been ranked in the AP Top-25 and USA TODAY Coaches Poll for 15 straight weeks after being unranked entering the season following last year’s NCAA Elite Eight run. Tech first entered the AP poll in the fourth week of the season at No. 20 and climbed to No. 8 in Week 10. The highest ranking in program history came last season at No. 6.

Individually, Davide Moretti leads the nation by shooting 93.3 percent from the free-throw line and finished the regular season shooting 50.7 percent from the field and 48.1 on 3-pointers. He is 84 of 90 at the free-throw line this season, including going 33-for-34 during the nine-game winning streak and has made 20 free throws in a row coming into the tournament. Tariq Owens finished the regular season second in the conference and 10th nationally with a Texas Tech single-season program record of 75 blocked shots. He’s also 13th in the country with 2.42 blocks per game. Jarrett Culver, who was named the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year on Sunday and then the Big 12 Player of the Week for the third time this season on Monday, is third in the conference with 18.3 points per game, fifth with 113 assists and eighth with 41 steals. Matt Mooney is second in the Big 12 with 1.74 steals per game and Norense Odiase is sixth in the conference with 0.97 blocks per game.

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