LUBBOCK, Texas – No. 15 Texas Tech will host the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in program history Friday. Making their way to Lubbock will be the club from Pepperdine, who are set to face off with the Red Raiders for the third time in three seasons.
Head coach Tom Stone's side is looking to continue its current 15-win season – already the most victories for a Red Raider team since 2015. His group entered the postseason hot, picking up wins in Waco and Austin en route to a six-win Big 12 campaign, which counted as the most for the program since 2013.
Standing in the way of the Red Raiders' sixth second round appearances in seven trips to the NCAA Tournament will be an 11-6-2 Waves club that picked up seven West Coast Conference wins and knocked off No. 2 Stanford during non-conference play. To secure the home victory, Stone's squad will need to be in top form.
"We're going to have to be at our best," Stone said. "This is a team that can beat anybody on any given day. They tore through some Pac-12 teams and had a late season run as they seemingly always do."
Stone also stressed the importance of getting home field advantage in a first round game – especially against a team like Pepperdine, who he believes is one of the toughest opening round tilts in the entire tournament. Tech is 5-0 when playing first round NCAA Tournament games at home.
"We're super grateful to be playing them here," he said. "We know we have an edge when it comes to environment. The atmosphere here is fantastic and electric. When you're rolling and have a home game in the NCAA Tournament, Tech fans are putting on their coats and coming out. We love that about our Red Raider fans."
In addition to deciding whose season continues and whose fall comes to an end, the game against the Waves will act as a rubber match between the two clubs. Tech first met Pepperdine in Malibu in 2017, where the Red Raiders suffered a tough 3-0 loss. Last season, in 2018, the Waves traveled to West Texas to begin their season ranked 18th in the country. Tech handed them a swift 1-0 defeat at the John Walker Soccer Complex thanks to Jade King's goal in the second minute.
First touch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the John Walker Soccer Complex. The match will be streamed on TexasTech.TV.