LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech continues to lead the nation in defense and is ranked in the polls for the fifth straight week at No. 7 in the NCAA NET Rankings, No. 11 in the Associated Press Top-25 Poll, No. 13 in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll and No. 8 in the ESPN Power Rankings.
The Red Raiders (10-1) top defensive stat categories by limiting opponents to 32.8 percent shooting from the field and 24.1 on 3-pointers and are second nationally by holding teams to 52.8 points per game and are fourth with a 22.9 scoring margin. Texas Tech limited Duke to a season-low 38.3 percent shooting, including 3-for-20 on 3-pointers and were the first team to hold the Blue Devils under 70 points. The Red Raiders also lead the Big 12 in rebound margin (6.6), turnover margin (4.4) and forced turnovers (17.00) and are second in the conference with 5.2 blocked shots per game and on the offense side of the court by shooting 37.0 percent on 3-pointers. TTU is third in the Big 12 by shooting 48.9 percent from the field and third with a 1.27 turnover-to-assist ratio and 16.0 assists per game.
Tariq Owens currently leads the Big 12 with 2.55 blocked shots per game and Matt Mooney leads the conference with 2.18 steals per game. The pair of graduate transfers have helped the Red Raider defense remain one of the top units in the nation, while sophomore Jarrett Culver is second in the conference with 4.5 assists per game, third in scoring at 19.6 points per game, 55.8 percent on 3-pointers and fourth with 49 total assists.
Duke moved up back into the top spot in the AP Top-25 after its win over the Red Raiders and Kansas losing to No. 17 Arizona State. The Blue Devils (11-1) are followed by Michigan (12-0), Tennessee (10-1), Virginia (11-0) and the Jayhawks (10-1) in the top-5 of the poll. TTU was ranked No. 12 in last week's rankings but moved back up to No.11 despite the loss to the Blue Devils. The Red Raiders were No. 11 in Week 6 after entering the AP Polls for the first time in week four at No. 20 and the team was at No. 9 last week in the ESPN Power Rankings before impressing and moving up one spot this week. The team fell back two spots in the Coaches Poll after being at No. 11 the past two weeks.
The Red Raiders, who were unranked in the preseason polls, have now been ranked in four straight polls. The team appeared in 14 AP polls last season but would enter this season unranked through three weeks. The Red Raiders finished the 2017-18 season at No. 6 in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll and were in its Top-10 rankings seven times during the season. The No. 6 ranking to finish the season matched a program-best set on Feb. 12, 2018 in the USA TODAY Coaches poll and on Feb. 19, 2018 in the AP Top 25 Poll.
UP NEXT: Texas Tech will return to action after the Christmas break at 6 p.m. on Thursday against UTRGV at the United Supermarkets Arena before opening Big 12 play against West Virginia on Wednesday, Jan. 2 in Morgantown, West Virginia. The Red Raiders will go into the matchup against UTRGV with a 7-0 home record this season and on a 45-game non-conference home winning streak. At home this season, TTU has outscored its opponents by a 31.3 margin and has limited teams to a 29.5 shooting percentage.