TEXAS TECH (7-7, 0-2)
KANSAS (12-3, 2-0)
Game EssentialsDate | January 11, 2012
Time | 8:00 pm
Location | Lubbock, TX
TV | ESPNU
Radio | Affiliates
Texas Tech Starting 5Javarez Willis (5-11/171) | 9.0 PPG | 2.2 APG
Ty Nurse (6-1/180) | 10.6 PPG | 1.9 RPG
Terran Petteway (6-6/185) | 4.9 PPG | 2.3 RPG
Jordan Tolbert (6-7/210) | 14.7 PPG | 6.4 RPG
Robert Lewandowski (6-10/256) | 7.5 PPG | 4.2 RPG
Kansas Starting 5Tyshawn Taylor (6-3/185) | 14.7 PPG | 5.1 RPG
Elijah Johnson (6-4/195) | 9.6 PPG | 3.8 APG
Travis Releford (6-5/207) | 10.0 PPG | 4.2 RPG
Thomas Robinson (6-9/237) | 17.5 PPG | 12.0 RPG
Jeff Withey (7-0/235) | 7.3 PPG | 5.8 RPG
WHAT TO EXPECT
I THOUGHT KANSAS WOULD HAVE TO REBUILD | I'm not very smart. I think I've admitted that plenty of times here, but in this case, I really believed that Kansas would have a tough time being remotely as good as they were last year and at this point of their season, I think I'm wrong. Kansas did not have to rebuild, but they just reloaded, and their success is essentially based on players that weren't talented enough to jump early to the NBA, but were still talented in their own right. KU's top six scorers are five juniors and one senior. So Kansas is obviously deep and the scary thing is that they're not even getting any help from any of their recruiting class. This is just all guys that stuck around and are reaping the benefits of early entrants into the NBA.
KEEP SHOOTING FREE THROWS | Although the non-conference competition that Texas Tech faced was pretty much awful, the one thing that I think needs to continue is the idea of getting to the line. I don't think this team is going to get many fast-break points, despite my thought that they should, and the other way to ensure that this team gets some easy points is to get to the line. I like the fact that this team took 18 free throws against Oklahoma St. and 22 against Baylor. This team has shown a propensity to hit free throws, hitting around 71.5% for the year. This team has also shown a propensity to battle, as pointed out by Dan, and I think the Baylor game would have been infinitely closer had Lew not had such a rough day turning the ball over, 6 by Lewandowski alone. That's a lot of possessions that could have had an impact on the team. still, Like Dan said, this team isn't holding their head down, they're fighting.
ROBINSON VS. TOLBERT | Tolbert is going to face one of the biggest challenges of the season facing Robinson. The forward combination is scary, but Robinson may be the most polished and mature power forward in the Big 12. Robinson has shot 91 free throws on the year, so he's getting opponents into foul trouble and Tolbert fouled out against Baylor. Tolbert has to understand that he's an important part of the team and he has to be judicious with his fouls throughout the game. I also thought it was interesting that Tolbert didn't start against Baylor, the announcers made mention that it may have been done to take Tolbert down a peg for receiving a Big 12 Conference rookie of the week award.
RELEFORD VS. PETTEWAY AND MINNIS | I'm a bit surprised that DeShon Minnis is getting so many minutes just based off of his defensive ability. Minnis can handle the ball, heck he had 5 assists against Baylor, and he plays tough defense, but he's a true liability offensively as he's really only accurate driving to the basket. Petteway is getting the start, but he's only playing about 10 to 15 minutes a game, but he's not making a huge impact statistically. He gives good effort, but he's maturing. Minnis played 31 minutes against Baylor and if Releford continues to play as well as he has of late, then I'd think that Minnis gets the call. And just to reiterate, Releford was named the Player of the Week in the Big 12 (and by Dan!), so he's coming into Lubbock on a really hot streak.