As the Zags look for Elite Eight revenge, a young Red Raider team will look to prove the preseason hype with an early litmus test at a neutral court.
Texas Tech and Gonzaga will match up in Phoenix on December 19th 2020 (Jon Rothstein). The last time these two teams met was in the 2019 Elite Eight. Gonzaga entered as a 1 seed and Tech a 3 seed. The game was close from tip to final buzzer, but Tech would eventually come out on top 75-69 as they punched their ticket to the Final Four. The Red Raiders were led by a great performance from Jarrett Culver who scored 19. Matt Mooney also had an incredible game, helping lead the Red Raiders to victory with his own 17 points. Gonzaga’s leading scorer was forward Rui Hachimura who scored 22. Sharpshooter Josh Perkins also knocked down 4 of his 9 threes and ended with 16 points. Texas Tech has a 3-0 all time record against Gonzaga with victories in 2019, 2007, and 2005.
The 2019-2020 31-2 Zags were led by sophomore forward Filip Petrusev. Petrusev led the Zags in scoring averaging 17.5 PPG, and also grabbing 7.9 RPG. Petrusev declared for the 2019 Draft knowing he’d return to Gonzaga to hear feedback from scouts. At this point, it is a mystery to me if we will see Petrusev in this game or not. I have not seen his name in any mock drafts thus far which makes me think he will be back at Gonzaga and play in this match up. The main responsibilities of containing him will likely be on Tyreek Smith or Joel Ntambwe.
The Zags have signed two 4-star recruits in guard Dominick Harris and forward Julian Strawtherv. They also have a hard commit from the 8th best guard in the country, Jalen Suggs. These three freshmen will likely play a big role in next years match up, along with the probable return of Killian Tillie (13.6 PPG, 5.0 RPG), Joel Ayayi (10.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG), and Drew Timme (9.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG).
But the Zags aren’t the only ones with a stacked recruiting class. Nimari Burnett, Micah Peavy, and Chibuzo Agbo Jr. will make their way into Lubbock next season ready to contribute immediately. These 3 freshmen will join with veterans Davide Moretti and Terrence Shannon Jr. to give the Zags a good fight.
It feels like every year the Zags make a living with their down-low big forward play. This will be a great time to see how ready big-men Joel Ntambwe, Tyreek Smith, and maybe even Russel Tchewa are ready to match-up with the big forwards in the nation and the Big 12. Size was an issue for the Red Raiders this past season, and a game against the big Zags will give the guys a chance to prove themselves. Ball handling was also a concern last season, and we’ll get to see how freshman Nimari Burnett can handle the primary role against a Gonzaga team that struggled on defense last year (43rd in AdjD from KENPOM). When I think of games next season that get me excited, this one may have just made it to the top of the list. A young Red Raider team gets a chance to prove themselves against a Gonzaga team that likely would’ve been a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Source: Viva the Matadors