Preview: BYU matches up with Texas Tech again in the Big 12 Tournament

BYU gets a rematch against Texas Tech on Thursday. What should you look out for?

Spencer Johnson defends Texas Tech's Chance McMillan
Spencer Johnson defends Texas Tech's Chance McMillan / John E. Moore III/GettyImages

Following Wednesday's double-digit win over UCF, BYU and 4th-seeded Texas Tech will match up in the Big 12 quarterfinals. This is a meaningful game for both teams, as they both have plenty to prove with a win over the other.

For BYU, this will be their second matchup against the Red Raiders this season, with the first matchup in Lubbock finishing in a 78-85 loss. Normally, this wouldn't especially stand out. Of course, the Cougars would want to settle the score in the rematch, but that game represents some of the biggest problems that plagued this team throughout the season. In the January 20th matchup, BYU entered the halftime break with a 48-32 lead--that's sixteen points!

Unfortunately, the Cougars lost control of this game and were outscored by 23 points in the second half, losing their double-digit lead and the game as a whole. Texas Tech caught fire, as they've proved they can do all season, but BYU fell into the habit of getting ahead and losing steam before they can put the game away. They did this against Cincinnati, Baylor, Kansas State, UCF, and Iowa State. And while they didn't lose all those games, finishing games when they're in control has been a weakness of this team. Texas Tech represents that problem, and after keeping UCF at bay despite their comeback efforts yesterday, BYU is ready to prove that they are a better team than the one Tech met in Lubbock earlier this year.

For Texas Tech, BYU represents everything that they feel they deserve this season. Despite some bad losses against Cincinnati, Butler, Villanova, and UCF, the Red Raiders have been solid all year. They can get hot at the right time, as they proved in their 29-point win over Kansas and their 23-point turnaround against BYU, but without many high-profile wins, like BYU grabbed over the season, Texas Tech has been overlooked by AP voters and by bracketologists. Despite finishing the season with the same record as BYU and a better conference record, the Red Raiders just cracked the top-25, while the new-kid Cougars have been ranked for most of the season. A win over BYU would be a 2-0 record against BYU and would likely improve their tournament resume.

Dallin Hall, Joe Toussaint
Dallin Hall drives against Texas Tech's Joe Toussaint / John E. Moore III/GettyImages

When these teams last faced off, Texas Tech's Pop Isaacs exploded for 32 points on 11/19 shooting from the field and 6/9 from beyond the arc. He was scorching the nets in this game, and his season-high point total was the catalyst behind the Red Raiders' win. While a scoring performance like that likely won't happen again, Isaacs and Darrion Williams are dangerous when they heat up, so keeping the Red Raiders' scoring at a minimum will be paramount if BYU hopes to keep their plans of a semifinal berth alive.

Keep a lookout for how players like Dallin Hall and Richie Saunders impact this game. As previously discussed, when Dallin Hall plays well, the team plays well. He did well against UCF with 13 points and a 2 assists-to-turnover ratio. Richie Saunders is BYU's energizer bunny. He's always producing energy for his team and only plays harder when his teammates aren't picking up the slack. He hit a few very timely shots against UCF, and his availability could be a difference-maker.

You can watch the game on ESPN 2 or listen via KSL NewsRadio at 10:30 AM MST.

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