Texas Tech introduces stifling defense to nation in crippling Sweet 16 win over Michigan

Texas Tech is not a basketball team that’s demanded the attention of the casual basketball fan this season.

After Thursday’s thorough domination of Michigan in the Sweet 16, it can no longer be ignored.

The Red Raiders put on a defensive clinic unlike many seen before in the NCAA tournament in a 63-44 win to advance to the West regional final against Gonzaga.

In doing so, they held the Wolverines to an all-time tournament low of 16 points in the first half.

Coming in, the game promised to be a slog. Texas Tech entered the matchup ranked first in the nation in defensive efficiency with Michigan ranking third. Both teams trailed only Virginia in points per game allowed.

But one defense was clearly better than the other on Thursday, with Texas Tech staking its claim as a championship contender capable of shutting down any offense that stands in its way.

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CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 15: Coby White #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts against the Duke Blue Devils during their game in the semifinals of the 2019 Men's ACC Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 15, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura reacts during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against San Diego, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 15: Cam Reddish #2 of the Duke Blue Devils dribbles down court against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game in the semifinals of the 2019 Men's ACC Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 15, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - MARCH 15: Tremont Waters #3 of the LSU Tigers dribbles the ball against the Florida Gators during the Quarterfinals of the SEC Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 15, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - MARCH 15: Jalen Husdon #3 of the Florida Gators celebrates in the game against the LSU Tigers during the Quarterfinals of the SEC Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 15, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Seton Hall guard Myles Cale (22) gestures after scoring a basket against Villanova during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the championship of the Big East Conference tournament, Saturday, March 16, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Kentucky forward Reid Travis celebrates after scoring a 3-point basket against Tennessee in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Southeastern Conference tournament Saturday, March 16, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Tennessee forward Yves Pons drives against Kentucky in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Southeastern Conference tournament Saturday, March 16, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Syracuse's Elijah Hughes (33) handles the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
Virginia Tech's Ahmed Hill (13) drives during an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, in South Bend, Ind. Virginia Tech won 67-59. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
Michigan's Jon Teske (15) and Isaiah Livers (4) celebrate during the second half of an NCAA college basketball championship game against Michigan State in the Big Ten Conference tournament, Sunday, March 17, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 17: Michigan State Spartans forward Xavier Tillman (23) celebrates with Michigan State Spartans guard Cassius Winston (5) after a play during a Big Ten Tournament Championship game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans on March 17, 2019, at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 16: Iowa State Cyclones forward Michael Jacobson (12) holds up three fingers after making a three with 13:43 in the second half of the championship game of the Big 12 tournament between the Iowa State Cyclones and Kansas Jayhawks on March 16, 2019 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
STILLWATER, OK - MARCH 02: Kansas Jayhawks guard Devon Dotson (11) looks to pass during the D1 Big 12 college basketball game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys on March 2, 2019 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Florida State forward Mfiondu Kabengele (25) and guards David Nichols (11) and Trent Forrest (3) react on the bench near the end of the second half against Wake Forest in an NCAA college basketball game in Tallahassee, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. Florida State won 88-66. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)
DETROIT, MI - MARCH 12: Northern Kentucky Norse guard Zaynah Robinson (5) brings the ball up the court during the Horizon League Conference tournament championship game between the Wright State Raiders and the Northern Kentucky Norse on March 12, 2019 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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The Red Raiders held the Wolverines to their all-time low scoring output in NCAA tournament play, a mark that had stood since 1948 when they scored 45 against Holy Cross. In doing so, they held Michigan to 1-of-19 shooting from 3-point distance.

“I thought we guarded,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard told CBS after the win. “Everybody was dialed in. We had so much respect for Michigan. I thought our guys defended at a high level today.”

 

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