By Wes Woodward
RALEIGH, NC (March 16, 2016) – Butler expects Texas Tech to play a “Big East-style” game when the two teams clash in the 8 seed vs. 9 seed battle in the NCAA Midwest Region Thursday in Raleigh, NC.
“They are really athletic and we are going to have to keep them off the glass, we are used to that nature and hopefully we have figured it out,” said senior guard Kellen Dunham.
“They are physical, they played in one of the country’s best leagues. They are really disciplined in what they do. It’s almost like a Providence or a team in our league. It’s going to be a challenge, but when you are in the 8/9 game it’s always going to be like that, ” said Butler head coach Chris Holtmann.
The Dawgs hope that experience will be a factor in Butler’s favor, Texas Tech is returning to the NCAA’s after a nine-year absence.
“When I played in my first tournament sophomore year, it was different. Big atmosphere, really different than the regular season. Fans are way into it, I was way nervous and had an off game, ” said Butler senior Roosevelt Jones.
“We are going to ride those guys as far as we can,” Holtmann added. “We have been saying that for a couple months now, and they have done a great job. I think experience plays a role, but it’s really how you are going to play on that given day.”
Looking down the sideline Holtmann will face off with one of college basketball’s most accomplished active coaches in Tubby Smith. In bringing the Red Raiders back to the tourney, Smith has now guided 5 different schools (Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota and Texas Tech) over the years to the Big Dance. He led Kentucky to the title in his first year at the school in 1998.
“Tubby might be my mom’s second favorite coach, growing up in Lexington, she loves him. Won at every level, won at numerous jobs. I have tremendous respect for his team and him as a person,” said Holtmann.