During the semifinal win over Michigan State on Saturday night, forward Tariq Owens sprained his ankle and left the game for a pretty significant amount of time. He wound up returning, and finished with seven points, four rebounds and three block in 27 minutes.
The 6-foot-10 Owens is a major factor on the defensive end for the Red Raiders. He averages 8.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game, in just over 25 minutes per night.
Obviously his presence will be important tonight, depending on what he can give. In normal circumstances, Owens might miss the game, but because of the gravity of tonight’s national title game, head coach Chris Beard says he will go.
Owens entered the arena in a walking boot, but is apparently in good enough shape to play.
Not only will he play, but according to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello, Tariq Owens has been announced as a starter for Texas Tech.
Tariq Owens listed among Texas Tech's starters.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 9, 2019
Despite all of the talk about how low scoring the game will be, both teams have quite efficient offenses. Texas Tech’s ranks 28th in the country, per KenPom, and UVA boasts the third-most efficient offense in the country.
For Virginia, that includes inside threats like De’Andre Hunter and Mamadi Diakite, who Owens can go a long way towards neutralizing.
UVA and Texas Tech tip off at 9:20 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on CBS.