Can Purdue slow down Keenan Evans and Zhaire Smith?
In the final Sweet 16 game Friday night, the No. 3 Texas Tech Raiders will be facing off against the No. 2-seed Purdue Boilermakers. During the regular season, both teams were mainstays in the AP Top-25 poll.
Both Purdue and Texas Tech are led by terrific guards in Carsen Edwards and Keenan Evans, respectively. These two guards can take over a game and make plays when the it matters most. The East region game is scheduled to tip-off at 9:57 p.m. ET at TD Garden in Boston.
How did Texas Tech reach the Sweet 16?
The Red Raiders began their Sweet 16 run with a win over No. 14 Stephen F. Austin in the first round. SFA held a three-point lead at halftime, but the Red Raiders roared back in the second half, scoring 43. Evans led the way for Texas Tech, scoring 23 points (19 in the second half) on 6-of-10 shooting from the field.
After defeating the Lumberjacks, the Red Raiders played No. 6 Florida Gators in the Round of 32. This game went down to the wire as the Gators had a chance to send the game in overtime with less than 20 seconds remaining. However, Zhaire Smith and Evans made key plays down the stretch to help the Red Raiders secure a 69-66 win.
How did Purdue reach the Sweet 16?
The Boilermakers made easy work of their first-round opponent in No. 15 Cal State Fullerton, 74-48. The Titans managed to stay close to Purdue early. But, the Boilermakers dominated the second half, outscoring Cal State Fullerton, 44-27. Carsen Edwards led the way with 15 points and four assists, while Vincent Edwards added 15 points too along with seven rebounds.
Purdue had a tough time with the Bulldogs, but pulled out a 76-73 victory. Just like their first-round matchup, Edwards played a huge role with 20 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and a perfect 2-for-2 from three-point range. As a team, Purdue shot three-pointers at a 45.8 percent clip, while holding Butler to only 30.6 percent shooting from distance.
How can I watch this game?
Date: Friday, March 23
Time: 9:57 p.m. ET
TV Network: TBS
Streaming: March Madness Live
Who are players to watch?
Keenan Evans: He is the star player for the Red Raiders, and needs to continue to play well for his team to advance.
Matt Haarms: With Isaac Haas suffering a fractured elbow, Purdue will be leaning on the 7’3 big man to play extensive minutes.
How will the Elite Eight bid be determined?
The matchup to watch for in this game is Purdue’s frontcourt vs. Texas Tech’s frontcourt. Without Haas in the middle, expect the Red Raiders to give Zach Smith the ball inside the paint. If that doesn't work, they will try to use either Evans or Zhaire Smith to create within the lane.