One day before coaching in his first national title game and the first in his program’s history, Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard offered a major injury update on big man Tariq Owens.
According to ESPN’s Allison Williams, Owens did not practice today due to the “mild ankle sprain” he suffered in last night’s win over Michigan State. However, Beard expects the 6-foot-10 forward to play in tomorrow’s title game against Virginia.
Owens went down with an ugly-looking leg injury during the second half against the Spartans. At first glance, it looked like he would be out for the rest of the night.
However, the St. John’s transfer jogged out of the locker room and eventually returned to the court, though his effectiveness was limited.
Spoke with @TexasTechMBB HC Chris Beard. Tariq Owens has a mild ankle sprain. Will not practice today. Expects to play Tomorrow but will know more when they arrive for game. Said if it was normal Sat/Mon he would not play, but this is the National Championship
— Allison Williams (@AllisonW_Sports) April 7, 2019
Owens is a major rim protecting force in the middle for the Red Raiders. He is averaging 8.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots per game this season and contributed seven points, four boards and three blocks in 23 minutes against Michigan State.
As strong as Texas Tech is defensively, they are not a big team, so if Owens has to sit out or is ineffective tomorrow, it will hurt against Virginia’s front line of Jack Salt, De’Andre Hunter and Mamadi Diakite.