The Texas Tech Red Raider basketball team will play host to their rivals in the University of Texas tonight at 6 from the United Spirit Arena. The Red Raiders enter the game at 8-8 on the season 0-1 in Big 12 play while the 14th ranked Longhorns enter the game at 12-3 on the season and are making their Big 12 debut against Tech.

Tonight’s game will be the 126th meeting all time between the Red Raiders and the Longhorns as UT holds the all time series lead at 72-53, but Tech does hold a 29-24 lead in the city of Lubbock. Tonight’s ball game will also be broadcasted live on ESPN2.

This has been a bit of a disappointing season so far for the Red Raiders as they entered the season with 7 seniors with 3 of them having 4 years of experience as starters. A big win tonight though against the hated Longhorns could help Tech in the confidence department for the remainder of the Big 12 season. Here are a few things the Red Raiders will have to do to claim the big victory over the Longhorns tonight.

Minimize Mistakes: Senior John Roberson had 5 turnovers in the Red Raiders’ Big 12 opening loss to Baylor. The Red Raiders as a team had 15 turnovers in that loss. Tech will need to keep the turnover total to less than 10 and Roberson two or less if they plan on winning.

Crash the Boards: It’s no surprise that Tech is not the biggest team in the league, but their athleticism and hustle is near the top. TTU will need to get position, hustle and fight for every loose ball and missed shot. They don’t necessarily need to out rebound the Longhorns but they can’t let Texas have more than a 10 rebound difference on the night.

Play Smart: Careless passing, poor shot selection and lack of talking on the court have hurt the Red Raiders all season. Minimizing forced shots and playing as a team, opposed to one man putting the team on his back, will go further than any stat sheet will tell.

Utilize Home Crowd: Attendance for the games this year have been down, but the crowd will show up for Texas and show up loud. It shouldn’t be a sell out, or even close, but the crowd that will show up will be loud and supportive. Home court advantage could be the biggest factor in this game:

The Red Raiders could use a big win tonight against the Longhorns but it will be an absolute dog fight to get it. A win would improve Tech to .500 in conference play and help the team get back on the road to success and ready for Kansas State on Saturday.