Texas Tech’s Unusual Defense Stifles Montana State
SAN DIEGO — Coach Danny Sprinkle sort of already knew what his Montana State Bobcats would be in for on Friday. But just in case, as Sprinkle made the rounds doing prep work, a Big 12 coach whom he didn’t name made sure to remind him of Texas Tech’s threat: “They’re as real as it gets.”
Defensively, the Red Raiders entered the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament leading the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency at 66.6 points per game, according to Kenpom.com. They ranked sixth nationally by holding opponents to 38.4 percent shooting. They limited Iowa State to 41 points in a conference tournament quarterfinal game, establishing a school record for fewest points allowed against a Big 12 opponent.
They are long and lean, listing four guards in their starting lineup, all between 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-8. They attack in swarms. They are voracious readers of pick-and-pops and move on screens as neatly as a well-choreographed dance line. And they were every bit as real as it gets with a 97-62 blowout of the Bobcats in the round of 64 on Friday.