The Texas Tech Red Raiders headline the 2019 Las Vegas Invitational at Orleans Arena when they face the Iowa Hawkeyes on Thanksgiving night.
The event is being held for the 19th time and can provide a nice little “get-away” on Turkey Day from football or, heaven forbid, family.
The 12th-ranked Red Raiders, who lost in overtime to Virginia in the national championship game last April, enter the contest undefeated at 5-0, although all five games have come against teams that are surely outside of the top 225 teams in the country thus far.
An easy schedule to say the least, although Tech beat one of those teams, Tennessee Tech, 72-57, as a prelude to this event as teams meet in a semi-round-robin with the semifinal spots already slated to the higher-quality programs.
The 4-1 Hawkeyes lost one of the stunners of the season thus far, dropping a 93-78 home decision to DePaul in the second game of the season. Iowa has the more respected wins of the two teams, with home wins over Oral Roberts and North Florida, both of which are surely rated inside the top 175 teams in the country.
Texas Tech is expected to come in at around a -6 favorite over Iowa with the total expected to come around 146. The game is scheduled for 5 p.m. PT and will be televised nationally on FS1.
Both teams may still be trying to find their identity this season, but Iowa’s sure leader is junior big man Luke Garza, who can range outside with the best perimeter shooters in the country.
Maybe more question marks about for Tech than last year of course, but freshman Jahmi’us Ramsey already has the green light on his decent shot from beyond the arc.
The Raiders played a preliminary contest in this tournament on Sunday, knocking off visiting Long Island, 96-66, covering -24 points.
Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes routed visiting Cal Poly in a tourney prelim, 85-59, covering a similar number (-23). The North Florida win was also a leadup to this event.
The winner of this game faces the winner of the game between undefeated San Diego State (6-0) and one-loss opponent Creighton on Friday at 5 p.m.
Both teams are still young but the defensive scheme of Tech is easier for coach Chris Beard to instill in the newcomers as the program still is in a great position to be among the top 10 teams in the country. TEXAS TECH
Creighton -1 vs. San Diego State: The Aztecs failed as a -17 favorite in a preliminary contest to this tournament on Monday night, defeating Tennessee State, 62-49, and also failed a -18.5 choice over LIU in an 81-64 home win last Friday. The Blue Jays’ run-up was the same with wins against Cal Poly (86-70) and North Florida (76-67) but failed to cover -24 and -17, respectively. This total could come as low as 130 with the way the Aztecs are playing defense. CREIGHTON
Tennessee State -3 vs. Cal Poly: An 11 a.m. PT tip at Orleans Arena, between a couple of teams that have faced off against some of the other teams in the event which provides bettors some early comparisons from games held just a few days ago.
The Tigers played well in covering their lead-in games, including last Monday’s loss against the Aztecs. Hot-shooting guard Michael LIttlejohn kept TSU within distance of SDSU most of the way. The total should come around 136. TENNESSEE STATE
North Florida -5 vs. LIU: The Ospreys are 4-1 ATS coming into this one, getting the money in those preliminary matchups, and also have gone 0-5 to the Under in those games. The Sharks (formerly the Blackbirds) are 1-5 straight-up thus far and have gone Over in six of seven games. The total should come near the mid-150s here. NORTH FLORIDA
Last week: 1-2