SE Louisiana vs. Texas Tech | Game Preview

TEXAS TECH (6-5, 0-0)
VS.
SE LOUISIANA (5-5, 0-0)
Game Essentials
Date | December 30, 2011
Time | 8:00 pm
Location | Lubbock, TX
TV | ESPNU and ESPN3
Radio | Affiliates

Texas Tech Starting 5
Javarez Willis (5-11/171) | 8.0 PPG | 2.5 AST
DeShon Minnis (6-3/200) | 2.5 PPG | 2.3 REB
Jaye Crockett (6-1/180) | 5.1 PPG | 4.4 AST
Jordan Tolbert (6-7/210) | 15.8 PPG | 6.4 REB
Robert Lewandowski (6-10/256) | 7.7 PPG | 4.4 REB

SE LA. Starting 5
Daron Populist (5-10/170) | 8.0 PPG | 1.4 APG
Brandon Fortenberry (6-3/185) | 17.5 PPG | 3.7 RPG
Deshawn Patterson (6-4/220) | 7.2 PPG | 3.6 RPG
Roosevelt Johnson (6-6/225) | 10.0 PPG | 7.5 RPG
Elgin Bailey (6-8/265) | 11.3 PPG | 9.0 RPG

WHAT TO EXPECT

A POOR SHOOTING TEAM | SE Louisiana is a poor shooting team, shooting about 40% from the field, although the Lions shoot about 32% from the three point line (which is actually pretty okay). The Lions field a much better team if Fortenberry is on the floor, but he's missed a few games recently and that's certainly hurt. I've plugged into the expected starting five, although I haven't been able to figure out if he'll start or even play. If he does play, then that helps out a ton and I'd also add that if Bailey starts, then that's not a bad group. We'll get to Bailey a bit more in a minute. It's also interesting to point out that the Lions are 5-0 at home and 0-5 on the road, so that trend alone bodes well for Texas Tech.

IT'S ABOUT TO GET REAL | This is the last non-conference game for Texas Tech, so this had better be a good tune-up for the season. I'm incredibly nervous about what I think might happen this year in conference play for Texas Tech, not because I think that the Big 12 is the best conference, but there are a lot of very good teams in the Big 12 and right now, Texas Tech is not a good team. I mentioned this after the Cal State Bakersfield game, that I think that if the Texas Tech lineup is fully healthy then I think this team can win 6 or 7 games, but if the full cast of players are not available, I'm struggling to see where those wins happen. I was expecting OU to have a down year as they transition with a new team, but they've actually played pretty well thus far, and the only team that has seemingly struggled is Oklahoma St., but I still think they have more talent than Texas Tech, but they're facing some injury issues at point guard.

KEY MATCHUPS

BAILEY VS. TOLBERT | Tolbert is featured a lot, but this time it may be warranted. Head coach Billy Gillispie mentioned after the CSU-B game that Bailey was a highly rated player coming out of high school, but transferred from Mississippi St. due to getting in a fight with one of their players. Due to transfer rules, Bailey has only played in 3 games thus far, but other than his first game, he's had a very nice impact, and he's been very good on the offensive boards. Bailey is a big-body and that should be good test for Tolbert as Texas Tech transitions into Big 12 play. Tolbert has been nothing short of dominant the last few games for Texas Tech and although the competition hasn't been great, other teams know about Tolbert, but he continues to be the first scoring option for this team.

FORTENBERRY VS. WILLIS | Given the fact that Willis has been this team's most consistent player and he's been very good defensively, I'm expecting Willis to get the call against Fortenberry, if Fortenberry plays. Fortenberry has missed his team's last three games and other than just a couple of awful shooting performances against Western Kentucky and S. Missouri St., Fortenberry has been a very good player for the Lions. Willis had an awful game against TCU, but he's been on a nice streak over the last three games. Not shooting too much and making 50% of his shots over these last three games. Willis really has to watch the turnovers, especially because he handles the ball so much and that's been his biggest problem as he's had 15 turnovers in his last four games to only 10 assists. That ratio has to be better for Texas Tech moving forward.

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