NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT 2ND ROUND: 6:10 P.M.: South (3) Arkansas vs. (6) Texas Tech, at Hinkle Fieldhouse, TNT; Red Raiders game notes

INDIANAPOLIS – No. 21 Texas Tech will play No. 10 Arkansas in the 2021 NCAA Tournament Second Round at 5:10 p.m. (CST) on Sunday at the Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana with the opportunity to advance to its third straight Sweet 16. 

The South Region’s No. 6 seeded Red Raiders (18-10) are coming off a 65-53 win over Utah State in the NCAA Tournament First Round, while the No. 3 seeded Razorbacks (23-6) secured an 85-68 victory over Colgate with both teams pulling away in the second half in close first-half games. Former Southwest Conference rivals, Texas Tech is 40-39 all-time against Arkansas with the last matchup resulting in a 67-64 win by the Red Raiders in the 2019 Big 12/SEC Challenge in Lubbock. TTU is 1-0 against SEC opponents this season with a 76-71 win at LSU on Jan. 30 in Baton Rouge during the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

“They’re an outstanding team,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “They’re worthy of their high seed. They’ve had a great season. Nothing but respect for Coach (Musselman) and those players. We look forward to the opportunity to play against a great team. I have a lot of pride in the state of Arkansas. Little Rock will always be special to me. Got my first Division I opportunity there, and I just love that state. I follow that program.”

The Texas Tech-Arkansas winner will advance to the Sweet 16 to face the winner of the Florida-Oral Roberts matchup. The Gators earned a 75-70 win over Virginia Tech, while ORU knocked off second-seeded Ohio State with a 75-72 win on Friday. The Sweet 16 is scheduled for March 27-28.

Mac McClung leads the Red Raiders with 15.8 points per game this season after going for 16 in the win over Utah State, while Terrence Shannon, Jr. is scoring 12.6 per game. Kevin McCullar and Kyler Edwards are both at 10.1 points per game to give Tech four double-digit scorers going into the second round of the national tournament. Marcus Santos-Silva, who is the lone senior on the team and played in the 2018 NCAA Tournament with VCU, leads TTU with 6.5 rebounds per game and 1.1 blocks (32 total). Edwards leads Tech with 2.7 assists per game and has the most tournament experience on the team after playing as a freshman during the run to the national championship final. A junior from Arlington, Edwards scored 12 points with two 3-pointers in the title game against Virginia. Avery Benson, Edwards and Santos-Silva are the three players on the TTU roster with tournament experience coming into this year’s event in Indiana. Benson was on the Elite 8 team and played in games against Buffalo and Michigan in the 2019 tournament.

DATES: All NCAA Tournament games will be played in Indianapolis this year with the First Four games to be played on March 18. The First Round is on March 19-20 followed by the Second Round on March 21-22. Advancing teams will compete in the Sweet 16 on March 27-28 followed by the Elite 8 on March 29-30. The Final Four is set for April 3 before the national championship final on April 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium.  

Tech is in its 18th NCAA Tournament in program history and is now 17-19 all-time after the win over Utah State. The program has made the tournament in 1954, 1956, 1961, 1962, 1973, 1976, 1985, 1986, 1993, 1996, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2016, 2018 and 2019. In the past three tournaments no program has won more games with the Red Raiders securing wins in the 2018 NCAA Tournament over SFA, Florida and Purdue to advance to the program’s first Elite 8 before reaching the 2019 NCAA Championship Final with victories over Northern Kentucky, Buffalo, Michigan, Gonzaga and Michigan State in the Final Four.

TEXAS TECH STORY LINES

  • Texas Tech has an opportunity to make the Sweet 16 for the third straight season… The program has made the Sweet 16 four times in its program history coming in the 1996, 2005, 2018 and 2019 seasons. Going into games on Saturday, Gonzaga, Michigan and Florida State are the only other programs who can make the Sweet 16 the past three tournament. Purdue had made two straight but was upset by ORU on Friday.
  • Texas Tech advanced with a 65-53 win over Utah State on Friday… The 53 points allowed matched a program record low in the NCAA Tournament and was the 13th time this season the Red Raiders have held an opponent under 60.
  • Texas Tech now has a 9-2 record in the NCAA Tournament under head coach Chris Beard with trips to the 2018 Elite 8 and the 2019 National Championship Final… The 9-2 record over the past two NCAA Tournaments is the best in the nation after the run to the program’s first Final Four… TTU earned a win over Michigan State in the national semifinals before an overtime loss to Virginia. The run to the 2019 National Championship came with wins over Northern Kentucky, Buffalo, Michigan and Gonzaga before topping the Spartans in Minnesota to reach the final Monday night of the 2019 college basketball season.
  • Texas Tech is in its 18th NCAA Tournament and its third straight which is a program record… The team was projected to make the 2020 tournament before it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • At No. 21 in the final week of the national polls, Texas Tech has been ranked throughout the 2020-21 season which is the first time in program history… The Red Raiders began the year at No. 14 in the AP Preseason Poll and were as high as No. 7.
  • Avery BensonKyler Edwards and Marcus Santos-Silva are Red Raiders who have competed in the NCAA Tournament… Benson, an Arkansas native, is the only current player who was on the 2018 Elite 8 and 2019 Final Four teams while Edwards played as a freshman during the 2019 tournament… Santos-Silva played in the 2019 tournament at VCU… McCullar was a redshirt on the 2019 team.
  • Four Red Raiders were honored with All-Big 12 awards with Mac McClung being named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year to go along with All-Big 12 Second Team and Big 12 All-Newcomer Team recognition… Terrence Shannon, Jr. was named to the All-Big 12 Third team while Kyler Edwards and Kevin McCullar were All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selections.
  • TTU is a six seed in the tournament for the fourth time, most recently in 2005 where the team opened with a win over UCLA in the West Region before falling to Gonzaga… The Red Raiders were a three seed in the past two tournaments.
  • TTU is now 8-10 all-time in the first round of the tournament after the win over Utah State and is 4-1 in the Round of 32.
  • Tech is 7-10 this season against teams in the NCAA Tournament field… vs. Oklahoma 2-0; vs. Texas 2-1; vs. Abilene Christian 1-0; vs. LSU 1-0; vs. Baylor 0-2; vs. Oklahoma State 0-2; vs. Kansas; vs. West Virginia 0-2; vs. Houston 0-1; vs. Utah State 1-0.
  • The Red Raiders are one of seven teams from the state of Texas in the NCAA tournament, joining Baylor and Texas from the Big 12 along with North Texas, Texas Southern, Houston and Abilene Christian. TTU played Houston and ACU during the regular season, dropping a neutral-court matchup against UH on Nov. 29 in Fort Worth before securing a 51-44 win over ACU on Dec. 9 in Lubbock. The Red Raiders were 2-1 against UT this season and 0-2 against Baylor.

STAT RANKINGS: Texas Tech comes into the second round of the NCAA Tournament fourth in the nation with a 5.4 turnover margin advantage and 20th with 16.3 turnovers forced per game this season after having only eight turnovers and forcing 22 in the win over Utah State. The Red Raiders also forced 20 turnovers against the Longhorns in the conference tournament and have now forced 15 or more turnovers in 18 of 28 games this season. Tech leads the Big 12 and is 23rd nationally by holding teams to 63.0 points per game after holding 13 opponents under 60 points. Offensively, the Red Raiders are averaging 72.8 points per game and are shooting 44.2 percent from the field. The team is 9th nationally with 438 free throws made (16.0 per game) after going 6-for-8 at the line on Friday in Bloomington. Tech had a season-best 25 free throws made in games against Sam Houston and Oklahoma State. Tech’s defense is limiting opponents to 41.1 percent shooting with 10 teams being held under 35 percent. USU shot 44.0 percent from the field, but was limited to just 4-for-19 on 3-pointers.  

SERIES HISTORY: The programs played their first games against each other on Dec. 28, 1942 with the Razorbacks winning 43-38 in Oklahoma City. The game on Sunday will be the 11th neutral court matchup with Tech leading 6-4 in games played away from home venues. The programs have split their last four matchups since 2005 after having not played each other since 1991.

RED RAIDER REPORT: The Texas Tech roster consists of 12 players with one senior, four juniors, three sophomores and four freshmen. The program returned six players from last year’s roster in Kyler EdwardsAvery BensonKevin McCullar, Terrence Shannon, Jr., Clarence Nadolny and Tyreek Smith while adding graduate transfer Marcus Santos-Silva (VCU) and transfers Mac McClung (Georgetown) and Jamarius Burton (Wichita State). The team is strengthened by true freshmen Micah PeavyChibuzo Agbo and Vladislav Goldin.

Marcus Santos-Silva is the lone senior on the Texas Tech roster and is playing in his second NCAA Tournament – first as a Red Raider. He is coming off a game against Utah State where he scored six points and had six rebounds to take his season averages to 8.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and a team-leading 32 blocks (1.1 per). A Taunton, Mass. native, Santos-Silva is in his first season at Tech after transferring from VCU where he played three seasons. Santos-Silva played in the 2019 NCAA Tournament as a sophomore at VCU. He scored seven points and had five rebounds in an opening round loss to Central Florida. This season he has recorded two double-doubles in non-conference play and was coming off going for 10 points and nine rebounds in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinal loss to Texas. He is currently second in the Big 12 and 42nd nationally with 3.04 offensive rebounds per game. He scored a season-high 14 points in wins over Iowa State and Kansas State and recorded double-digit rebounding totals in four games with a season-high 13 in the opener against Northwestern State where he also had 10 points for his first double-double. He’s had two or more blocks in nine games, including a career-high four blocks in games against Abilene Christian and Oklahoma State. He had three blocks to go along with eight points in the regular-season finale at Baylor. Santos-Silva has recorded 1,064 points, 801 rebounds and 124 blocks through 125 games in his collegiate career.

Kyler Edwards is coming off scoring 12 points and contributing six rebounds, four assists and three steals in the win over Utah State. An All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection this season, he is playing in his second NCAA Tournament and is now averaging 10.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and a team-leading 2.7 assists per game. An Arlington native, Edwards played in all six games during the run to the 2019 National Championship Final where he would cap his freshman season by going for 12 points with two 3-pointers against Virginia in the title game. He scored seven points in the win over Arkansas in 2019 as a freshman in 16 minutes as a reserve. Edwards scored a season-high 20 points in a home win over TCU to begin the month of March and would lead Tech with 18 points by hitting four 3-pointers in the regular-season finale at Baylor. He leads Tech with 53 3-pointers this season, including hitting two or more in 16 games after going 2-for-5 on Friday. His stat sheet also has him making four in three games this season. Edwards comes into the matchup against Arkansas with 845 points, 339 rebounds and 213 assists through 97 games in his career. He averaged 5.8 points and 2.0 rebounds through the six games of the 2019 NCAA Tournament where he was 8-for-12 on 3-pointers. His 12 points in the win over Utah State on Friday all came in the second half with him shooting 3-for-4 from the field and 4-for-4 at the free-throw line to help TTU advance.

Mac McClung was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and earned All-Big 12 Second Team and Big 12 All-Newcomer Team honors in his first season with the program after transferring from Georgetown. He led the Red Raiders with 16 points in the first-round win over Utah State after hitting three 3-pointers. Along with his conference honors, he added all-district selections to his list of honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association on Tuesday. A junior from Gate City, Virginia who has started all 28 games, McClung leads the Red Raiders with 15.8 points per game this season where he averaged 17.0 in Big 12 play. A dynamic scorer, McClung had a season-high 30 points at West Virginia where he had four 3-pointers and came into his first NCAA Tournament experience with 10 games this season with 20 or more points. His last 20-point performance came in the home finale against Iowa State before being limited to seven at Baylor and seven against Texas in the past two games. McClung is 103-for-128 from the free-throw line (80.5 percent) for the season and is second on the team with 46 3-pointers. He hit a season-high four 3-pointers in the team’s home game against Baylor where he scored 24 points by also going 8-for-10 at the line and matched a season-high six assists in the home win over TCU. McClung is averaging 2.1 assists per game to go along with his scoring after also having six assists in a non-conference win over Corpus Christi and having three or more assists in 11 games. He scored a career-high 38 points as a freshman at Georgetown against Little Rock and comes into the matchup against Arkansas with 1,151 points through 78 collegiate games.

Kevin McCullar continued filling the stat sheet and helping Tech win games by going for 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the win over Utah State following a career-high six steals against Texas and 11 points against Texas in the conference tournament. Playing in his first NCAA Tournament, he is averaging 10.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game in his redshirt sophomore season. A San Antonio native who earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention, McCullar redshirted during the historic run to the 2019 NCAA Final Four and was with the team throughout the experience. He missed the first nine games this season due to a preseason injury but has played in all 19 since returning with 18 straight starts. McCullar also had 11 points, two assists and a steal at Baylor in the regular-season finale in Waco. He scored a career-high 16 points in a road win over Texas in his fifth game back this season and has recorded two double-doubles with 15 points and 11 rebounds at Iowa State and then 10 points and 10 rebounds at home against Baylor in mid-January. McCullar comes into the second round of the NCAA Tournament with 367 points, 210 rebounds and 69 steals through 48 games in his career. He has recorded 10 games (19 played) with two or more steals, including four steals against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and at home against Texas before his six-steal performance in Kansas City at the conference tournament.

Terrence Shannon, Jr. earned All-Big 12 Third Team honors and is a Julius Erving Award Finalist in his sophomore season. A Chicago, Illinois native, Shannon is playing in his first NCAA Tournament where he opened by going for 10 points and three assists against Utah State on Friday. Shannon is averaging 12.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game after leading the Red Raiders with 18 points against Texas in the conference tournament where he was 4-for-7 on 3-pointers. He had made seven 3-pointers in the last two games before the NCAA Tournament after also going 3-for-3 and scoring 11 points in the regular-season finale at Baylor. Shannon has scored in double figures in 21 of 27 games played this season with a high of 23 coming in a road win at LSU in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. He would add 10 rebounds in Baton Rouge to record his first career double-double in the game where he went 9-for-10 at the free-throw line. Shannon, who scored a career-high 24 points as a freshman in his hometown at DePaul, has made 27 3-pointers through 27 games played this season after making nine in 29 games during his freshman season. Shannon is second on the team with 31 steals this season, averaging 1.1 per game with a high of three coming in a home game against Kansas State where he added 22 points and six rebounds. He comes into the second round of the national tournament having scored 624 points, securing 228 rebound and with 57 steals through 56 games in his career.

Micah Peavy has started 25 of 28 games in his freshman season where he is averaging 5.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game after going for seven points against Utah State in the first round. He is averaging 7.6 ppg. in the past five game after he had six points at Baylor and six against Texas in the conference tournament. A Cibolo, Texas native, Peavy scored a season-high 14 points in the season-opener against Northwestern State and then scored 12 against Corpus Christi and in the home finale against Iowa State. Against the Cyclones, Peavy was 6-for-8 from the field and also had three assists in the second game of March. He’s shooting 47.1 percent from the field this season and has had four or more rebounds in 12 games. Peavy was the Texas Class 6A Player of the Year and helped lead Duncanville High School to a state championship under his father David Peavy. In his first collegiate season he’s averaging 20.5 minutes per game and has supplied 39 assists after having four against the Longhorns in the conference tournament.

Avery Benson is in his fourth season with the program and is the only player on the roster who was part of the 2018 Elite 8 run. A junior from Arkansas, Benson has played in 70 games during his career and is currently 6-for-9 on 3-pointers this season. Benson scored a career-high 10 points last season in a win over No. 1-ranked Louisville in the Jimmy V Classic in Madison Square Garden where he also had two blocked shots. He scored a season-high six points with two 3-pointers in a non-conference win over Incarnate Word and also had one 3-pointer in the regular-season finale at Baylor. Tyreek Smith is a redshirt freshman who has played a reserve role in all 28 games this season where he is averaging 2.7 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. A Baton Rouge native who played high school basketball in Dallas, he scored a season-high nine points against TCU in the first game in March where he was 4-for-4 from the field and also had six rebounds. Smith is second on the team with 21 blocked shots, including a career-high three blocks in wins over Kansas State and Troy. Smith had four points and three rebounds in the conference tournament against Texas.

Jamarius Burton is averaging 4.5 points and 1.3 assists per game. He returned to the court against Utah State after he had missed the past six games with a toe injury. A junior from Charlotte, North Carolina who transferred from Wichita State, Burton has scored 630 points and has 256 assists through 89 games of his collegiate career after scoring two points on Friday. He scored a season-high 10 points in the win over Grambling in non-conference play and had a Big 12-best of nine at West Virginia where he was 4-for-7 from the field with one 3-pointer. Burton had a season-high five assists in the win over Northwestern State and has an 11-assist performance against Oklahoma State on his resume from Wichita State. Burton has made four starts and appeared in 18 games as a reserve this season.  

Clarence Nadolny had three assists, a steal and scored two points against Utah State in his first NCAA Tournament game. A sophomore from France, he scored a season-high seven points against Oklahoma where he was 2-for-2 from the field, including hitting one of his four 3-pointers for the season. He also had three assists at West Virginia in the first matchup where he played 17 minutes before scoring his seven points in 15 minutes against OU. He had a previous season-high of six points in the win over Corpus Christi and has a career-high of nine points last season against Houston Baptist as a freshman. He is currently 9 points away from 100 in his career after scoring three against Texas at the conference tournament. Chibuzo Agbo and Vladislav Goldin are true freshman along with Peavy and have had some strong moments in their first season at Tech. A San Diego native, Agbo is averaging 1.9 points per game after scoring a Big 12-best four points in the wins over TCU and Texas. In the win over the Longhorns at home he made a layup and then two free throws in the final minute to help ice the game. He scored a season-high five points coming in the opener against Northwestern State. He had three points at West Virginia with a 3-pointer and also had two points at LSU. Agbo has hit six 3-pointers this season. Goldin is the tallest player on the roster at 7-foot-1 and is averaging 2.1 points and 1.1 rebounds per game through nine games played. A forward from Russia, Goldin scored a career-high six points against Grambling in non-conference play and also added four rebounds in the win. Goldin played one minute against UT after he had not played since the win at Iowa State on Jan. 9 in Ames.

BIG 12 NOTE: The Big 12 placed a nation-high 70 percent of its teams in the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. The Conference has seven selections for the sixth time in the last 11 tournaments, including five seasons in the past seven years the event was conducted. The Big 12’s average seed of 4.0 is the best in conference history. Six have led teams to the Final Four, tied for the best in the nation among conferences. Half of Big 12 institutions have made an appearance in the Final Four with Texas Tech playing in the most recent title game in 2019.

SECURING POSSESSION: Beard stresses a 10-or-less turnover game is one of the keys to victory in every game the Red Raiders play which the team has accomplished 13 times this season after having only nine in the win over TCU and seven at Baylor. The season has been highlighted by a two-turnover showing at West Virginia which matched the Big 12 single-game record. The Red Raiders are currently averaging only 11 turnovers per game which is the second in the Big 12. In Big 12 play, Tech also had only seven turnovers at Texas and Kansas, nine in the win over Kansas State and 10 at Iowa State. The team averaged only 10.5 turnovers per game in Big 12 play. Tech had only one turnover at halftime in Ames against ISU to get out to a 24-point lead in the first matchup. In non-conference play, Tech had only four turnovers against Corpus Christi which was the low in the Beard era before the two in Morgantown. During his five seasons, Tech has committed 10 or less turnovers 64 times under Beard. The program’s low turnover output was highlighted at the 2019 Final Four with only seven in a win over Michigan State and eight in the overtime loss to Virginia in the National Championship game. Tech currently has a 5.1 turnover margin advantage. The Red Raiders have drastically improved in the turnover category after committing 13.7 last season.

FORCING THE ISSUE: Texas Tech forced 22 turnovers in its win over Utah State after forcing 20 against Texas in the conference tournament. The Red Raiders now have seven games this season with 20 or more turnovers forced and had a season-high 30 against Grambling for the most since the 2009 season opener against South Dakota. Tech traveled to Indianapolis after forcing 20 turnovers against Texas in the Big 12 Championship which was the sixth time it has forced 20 or more this season before coming away with eight steals and 22 turnovers by the Aggies. The Red Raiders forced 16 against Baylor after 15 turnovers at Texas and Iowa State. Tech has recorded 13 steals in two games this season, against Grambling and Northwestern State before having eight at KSU. The 13 steals against Grambling and Northwestern State is the most steals in a game since a 15-steal game by the team against Rice on Dec. 16, 2017. Tech had nine steals against the Cyclones with Edwards having three and McClung coming away with two. Edwards led Tech with three steals in the win over Utah State while Peavy had two.  

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