Texas Tech is less than two hours from playing in the first national championship game in program history. It looks like they will have the services of power forward Tariq Owens.
Owens injured his ankle in Saturday night’s national semifinal win over Michigan State. While he returned to the game, he clearly looked hampered by the injury.
It was expected that Owens would try to give it a go tonight, and Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard confirmed to CBS’ Tracy Wolfson moments ago that the fifth-year senior will play.
Chris Beard just told me under normal circumstances Tariq Owens would not play but because it’s the National Championship game, he WILL be out there. @CBSSports @TexasTechMBB @FinalFour pic.twitter.com/plE3DDKPdp
— Tracy Wolfson (@tracywolfson) April 8, 2019
While Owens will be on the court, his effectiveness remains to be seen. Clearly, the injury is a tough one to play through on such a short turnaround.
LubbockOnline’s Carlos Silva posted a video of Owens riding on a golf cart with his teammates in the bowels of the arena a short time ago. He is still sporting a walking boot on his right foot.
Texas Tech’s Tariq Owens still has the boot on his foot. pic.twitter.com/2IwoxFYBzG
— Carlos Silva Jr. (@cmsilvajr) April 8, 2019
Owens is a major factor for Texas Tech, particularly defensively. A strong rim protector, he is averaging 2.5 blocks per game to go along with 8.8 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Virginia and Texas Tech will tip off at 9:20 p.m. ET on CBS.