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No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 14 Montana State: Preview, picks for first round of 2022 NCAA Tournament

The Texas Tech Red Raiders and Montana State Bobcats meet at Viejas Arena in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

The No. 3 seed Texas Tech Red Raiders kept the success going in the first season of the Mark Adams era, and they’ll take on the Montana State Bobcats in a West region game on Friday, March 18th. The game will tip off at 1:45 p.m. ET and can be seen on TNT with Texas Tech expected to win this one with ease according to the oddsmakers.

No. 3 Texas Tech: 25-9 (12-6 Big 12): At-large

KenPom rating: 9 Overall, 64 Offense, 1 Defense
NET ranking: 9, (8-9 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Bryson Williams (13.7 ppg)
Key stat: Bryson Williams does not shoot a ton of 3-pointers, but he is knocking down 40.5% of them.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders did not see a drop in their performance when Chris Beard left for the Texas Longhorns after last season. They are still led by what KenPom says is the No. 1 defense nationally and because of that, Texas Tech can keep it close with just about anybody.

Watch for Texas Tech to lock down defensively as the top-ranked defense in the Big 12 in opponent field goal percentage.

No. 14 Montana State: 27-7 (16-4 Big Sky): Auto Bid

KenPom rating: 125 Overall, 150 Offense, 129 Defense
NET ranking: 120 (0-2 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Xavier Bishop (13.9 ppg)
Key stat: Montana State blocks 3.7 shots per game, which is No. 1 in the Big Sky.

The Montana State Bobcats won six games in a row heading into the NCAA Tournament, and they made it this far by winning all three matchups in the Big Sky Tournament. Montana State have not been in this position since the 1995-96 season.

Watch for MSU to do everything they can to create turnovers as Texas Tech ranked near the middle of the Big 12 in taking care of the ball.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: Texas Tech -15
Point total: 131.5
Moneyline: Texas Tech -1600, Montana State +900

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: Texas Tech -14.5
Point total pick: Under 131.5
Pick to Win: Texas Tech

Both teams have the best defense in their conference when it comes to field goal percentage allowed, so the under is going to be the best play in this matchup. Montana State will try to speed things up, but more possessions actually favors Texas Tech when they have a significant talent advantage. Red Raiders should cover this high spread.

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