If you add up the number of each seed left in the Sweet 16 this year, you get a combined total of 85. That’s tied for the second-highest total of all time (89). But when Purdue and Texas Tech square off on Friday night, we’ll actually be seeing a meeting between two top seeds (2 and 3). Purdue rolled over Cal State Fullerton and took down Butler to get to the Sweet 16, while Texas Tech beat Stephen F. Austin and Florida to end up in the regional semifinal. Check out our NCAA Basketball lines preview of this March Madness tilt.
2018 Sweet 16: Purdue vs. Texas Tech NCAA Basketball Lines & Pick
— Purdue Men’s Basketball (@BoilerBall) March 22, 2018
When: Friday, March 23, 2018, 9:59pm ET
Where: TD Garden, Boston
Live Stream: March Madness Live
NCAA Basketball Lines: Purdue -1.5, O/U 138
Why should you bet on the Boilermakers?
In past seasons, Purdue has had dominant players inside but guards that didn’t have the speed or shooting ability to get the job done. That isn’t the case anymore, as Purdue nailed 11 shots from downtown in their three-point victory over Butler. On the day, Purdue knocked down 50% of their shots, led by Vincent Edwards, who put up 20 points, going six for eight. The fact that they were able to win on a day when leading scorer Carsen Edwards was ice cold (going just 4 for 17 on the day) is impressive. Purdue will need more from Edwards to advance past Texas Tech, and he is in a 12 for 45 slump right now over his last three contests. Isaac Haas (elbow) remains out, as the brace tried to wear against Butler was ruled dangerous for play (and he couldn’t lift his right arm up enough for him to shoot free throws with it). Without him on the inside, a team that is solid in the paint should be able to feast.
Thanks to a defense that gets porous at times, Purdue has found itself in games that turned out much closer than they should have and has suffered from some head-scratching losses. Against the spread, they have covered just three times in their last 16 games overall and just once in their last 11 games after winning straight up.
Why should you put your money on the Red Raiders?
Texas Tech has relied on a shutdown defense in their wins this season, and it was on display once again in their takedown of Florida in the round of 32. They held the Gators to just 39% shooting in their 69-66 win, and they got 22 points from top scorer Keenan Evans. He has put up at least 22 points in four of his last five contests now. Zhaire Smith dominated the paint on both ends, putting up 18 points and grabbing nine rebounds from the guard position. That gives him a total of 17 rebounds in two tournament games. Texas Tech has won four of five, with that loss coming in the Big 12 Tournament against West Virginia. They won 7 of 11 games against ranked opponents. It also helps that Purdue is missing center Isaac Haas.
The Red Raiders have covered the spread in seven of their last 10 games against Big Ten schools and in seven of their last 10 games coming after a straight up victory. If you like Texas Tech, you think they’ll dominate the paint thanks to the absence of Haas, and that their guard speed can keep up with Purdue’s backcourt.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
Texas Tech has picked up some big wins this season, including taking down Kansas on the road, and they have done it with their defense. Purdue will be a tough opponent, but the fact that their star center is out should allow the Red Raiders to control the boards and the rhythm of the game. I’m predicting a final score of Texas Tech 74, Purdue 67.