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Michigan Wolverines vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders Preview: Salvaging the trip

A 2-1 trip to the Bahamas would be a fine result for the Wolverines.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-West Regional Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan Wolverines were down 14 early to Stanford and looked destined for the loser’s game of the consolation bracket, but the team rallied back to take a narrow lead at half, then rallied again to erase an early eight-point deficit in the second half. It was not the cleanest performance, but the team got a much-needed win.

As a result, the Wolverines end their time in the Bahamas with a matchup against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, which is a big difference than facing a Northern Iowa team that sits almost 100 spots lower in Kenpom. It is a tougher game, but one that offers more upside — and definitely less downside — for the resume.

It has been five years since that ugly Sweet 16 loss, and while both rosters look much different now, Texas Tech still has a great defense. The other side of the ball has some questions, though, and Michigan has a good chance to leave the Battle 4 Atlantis with a respectable 2-1 showing.

Michigan Wolverines (4-2) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-1)

Date & Time: Friday, Nov. 24, 6:00 p.m. ET
Location: Imperial Arena, Nassau, Bahamas
Event: Battle 4 Atlantis Fifth Place Game
TV/Streaming: ESPNU

Even after getting handled by Villanova in the opener on Wednesday, the Red Raiders still have a very strong defense. Fouls are hard to come by, as are open looks, and the Wolverines are going to need to have great ball movement. While Texas Tech does not necessarily feast on steals, we have seen turnovers be an issue for Michigan, and that is a concern here.

On the other end, the offense is far from pretty. Just two Red Raiders average double-digits: former Hawkeye Joe Toussaint and Pop Isaacs, neither of whom is very efficient. In general, the metrics are pretty rough, but then again, Michigan has not been that lockdown itself. One thing that should not be a huge factor is three-point shooting, as the team is shooting just 27 percent on decent volume.

Despite the defensive issues, the Wolverines did step up when needed against Stanford, getting multiple breakaway slams off steals. It still was a little too sloppy, with Michigan going on big droughts that very easily could have swung the game. Just about all of the starters chipped in, and that will need to be the case again; this one will need some timely scoring against a well-disciplined defense.