Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma | Game Preview

TEXAS TECH (7-9, 0-4)
VS.
OKLAHOMA (11-5, 1-3)
Game Essentials
Date | January 17, 2012
Time | 7:00 pm
Location | Norman, OK
TV | Big 12 Network
Radio | Affiliates

Texas Tech Starting 5
Javarez Willis (5-11/171) | 8.7 PPG | 2.1 APG
Ty Nurse (6-1/180) | 9.3 PPG | 1.9 RPG
Terran Petteway (6-6/185) | 4.6 PPG | 2.2 RPG
Jordan Tolbert (6-7/210) | 13.5 PPG | 6.2 RPG
Jaye Crockett (6-7/200) | 7.4 PPG | 5.0 RPG

Oklahoma Starting 5
Sam Grooms (6-1/200) | 6.3 PPG | 5.3 APG
Carl Blair Jr. (6-2/206) | 4.7 PPG | 2.7 APG
Steven Pledger (6-4/221) | 17.2 PPG | 4.0 RPG
Romero Osby (6-8/237) | 11.3 PPG | 8.3 RPG
Andrew Fitzgerald (6-8/243) | 13.0 PPG | 5.5 RPG

WHAT TO EXPECT

NOT A CELLAR DWELLER | The prevailing thought prior to this season was that Lon Kruger and Oklahoma would be battling Texas Tech for last place. Not so much. OU isn't great, but they aren't bad, and they just knocked off Kansas St. on Saturday for their first conference win of the year. Statistically, they are a better team than Texas Tech and like most of the teams that Texas Tech seems to be playing in conference, OU sports a 6 rebound advantage. I should also mention that OU is 8-1 at home, including that win vs. Kansas St.

MORE THAN ONE | This isn't breaking news, but Texas Tech has to have more than one player step up their offensive game in a given game. It was Willis against Kansas and it was Crockett against TAMU. I've written this a handful of times recently, but Texas Tech must find a way to score other than in their halfcourt game, which is becomeing tough to watch. I mentioned it after the TAMU game, but the offense seems to be almost robotic. Swing the ball on the permiter, get the high post player open, high post player tries to feed it into the low post and hope for the best. Teams are game-planning for this, mostly by double-teaming Tolbert in the low post and the guards for Texas Tech aren't good enough shooters to hit the open shots or dribble, drive and create opportunities. I don't know what the answer is and I think that Luke Adams seems to be the one player that understands the concept of getting his head up to look for easy opportunities and also the concept of not just feeding the ball to the post from the high post. The problem with Adams is that he's a liability on defense, but that liability may not be out-weighed considering what he might be able to offer in running the offense.

KEY MATCHUPS

TOLBERT VS. OSBY | I didn't know who Romero Osby was before the year has started, but he's putting up some impressive numbers. He's only averaging 11 points a game, but he's also grabbing 8 boards a game, 3 of which are offensive rebounds. You can expect a very active player and Tolbert has to keep Osby off the glass. Tolbert is struggling because I think teams know that he was this teams best option to score. Tolbert has gone into a funk and it's mainly because he's having a tough time trying to figure out double-teams and how to get the ball to the open man. Tolbert is a good enough passer that eventually, he'll figure it out. Not to mention, Tolbert missed on a few easy shots on Saturday that he normally makes. He gave a lot of effort, especially rebounding the ball, but the scoring has almost disappeared.

PLEDGER VS. PETTEWAY AND MINNIS | Pledger is playing at a very high rate, averaging 17 points no 48% from the floor, 45% from the three point line and 88% from the free throw line. That's an incredibly tough match-up for really any player on Texas Tech's side of the ball, much less for a true freshman coming off a one game suspension. I don't know that Petteway really gets the start tonight, but it will either be him or G DeShon Minnis and I'd expect both of them attempt to guard Pledger most of the night. Texas Tech is in a tough situation because of the injury to SG Toddrick Gotcher, who would have been the best play here, but I haven't heard anything in regards to an injury update and so, unfortunately, I'm going to assume that Gotcher is out for a while.

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