Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech defense suffocate MI en route to Elite 8

Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver smiles at the end of an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa State Saturday

Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver is doing anything it takes to put Texas Tech in the next round. More

Certainly, most expect Beard to bring in at least one grad transfer because there are no juniors on the current team potentially creating a leadership void. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. ET at BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.March Madness Preview and Pick: Raiders -3.5 vs Bulls.

Buffalo is coming off a savoury 91-74 win on Friday against their former head coach, Bobby Hurley, and the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Here are five standouts and three sleepers to keep an eye on Thursday as the Bulldogs face Florida State and MI faces Texas Tech. The Bulls finish their season with a 24-10 record.

The danger of a 2nd-round letdown after a large margin of victory in the Round-of-64 is real.

Bulls are 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.

Texas Tech, a program that sprinkled five Sweet 16 berths here and there between 1961 and 2005 and usually just repaired to football, reached an Elite Eight that will become both its second ever and its second straight.

Nick Perkins led the scoring for Buffalo with 17 points and had 10 rebounds. Yet Kabengele is still FSU's scoring leader, at 13.4 points per game, and has a team-high 1.5 blocks per game. The Bulls took 969 threes this season while shooting 33.5 percent as a team. Over the past two years, the SportsLine Projection Model has returned over $4,000 to $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks and entered the postseason on a strong 11-5 run on all top-rated college basketball plays. MI scored 16 points in the first half, shot 32.7 percent from the floor and avoided the worst 3-point shooting performance in tournament history when walk-on C.J. Baird dropped one in off the back of the rim in the final minute. Note that that ranking is not an adjusted efficiency rating and is overly dependent on the tempo that the Zips play at.

Bulls are 34-16-4 ATS in their last 54 games following a ATS win. The Lithuanian-born rookie hasn't missed a start for MI in 2018-19 and was voted the Big 12 Freshman of the Year after averaging 14.8 ppg and 5.2 rpg. The Raiders allow less than 60 points per game (59.2), joining South No. 1 seed Virginia (55.1) and West No. 2 MI (58.2), as the best in containing opposing offenses. The Raiders do not want to get pushed into a 3-point game. But their strength of schedule is best described as soft. It limited its turnovers to just 11.7 per game despite the fast pace it plays at. Furthermore registered a total of just nine affairs versus Quad 1's and 2's.

The matchup to focus on in this game will be between two big men with contrasting styles of play. His back-to-back 3-pointers just after halftime seemed to ignite the Red Raider offense and put MI in a hole they would never climb out of.

But one defense was clearly better than the other on Thursday, and Texas Tech staked its claim as a championship contender capable of shutting down any offense that stands in its way. Also Tech's opponents (29.6 percent) have shot less than 30 percent from beyond the arc this year.

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