Duke-Texas Tech matchup will be a clash of styles, experience
Duke and Texas Tech are set to meet in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night in a game that could define the rest of the NCAA Tournament.
On one side, it’s a Duke team with a legendary coach and 5 potential NBA draft picks. On the other, it’s a Texas Tech squad that plays with a Chris Beard-sized chip on its shoulder.
But don’t be fooled — the Red Raiders, now led by Mark Adams, are built like a team that’s supposed to win in the NCAA Tournament. They play tough defense, have smart guard play and are extremely well-coached.
Perhaps most importantly, they’re experienced. That fact really stands out when you compare Texas Tech’s average age to Duke’s.
The average age of Duke's starting five is 19.
The average age of Texas Tech's starting five is 22.
Something's gotta give in the Sweet 16.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 22, 2022
The Red Raiders start four seniors and a junior in Kevin McCuller that has 77 career games under his belt. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils’ 6-man rotation includes three true freshmen and a sophomore in Mark Williams. Wendell Moore Jr. is by far Duke’s most experienced rotation player at 85 career games.
But on paper, Duke has the more talented roster. Paolo Banchero is a candidate to go No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft. Mark Williams and AJ Griffin are both near-locks to be picked in the lottery. Moore and freshman Trevor Keels both have late-first round potential.
Duke and Texas Tech also have wildly different strengths and weaknesses on the court.
Texas Tech really stands out as a problem for Duke with its defensive efficiency. The Red Raiders have the No. 1 overall defense in the country this season, according to KenPom.
Meanwhile, Duke’s strength is on offense. KenPom rates the Blue Devils’ attack as the No. 4 most efficient offense in the country. Both teams remain in the top-50, per KenPom, for their weaker unit (Texas Tech’s offense and Duke’s defense).
Stylistically, these teams are at odds in almost every way. That should be a great recipe for one of the most fascinating games of the entire tournament.