Michael C. Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
What's trending with the Red Raider basketball team this week.
TRENDING FOR TEXAS TECH
Turnovers | The number of turnovers went up in the game against Grambling like I kind of expected them to do compared to the Nebraska-Omaha game. We were playing a team that turned the ball over a lot, and we got a lot of steals which sped the game up. Anytime you speed the game up you end up throwing the ball away by long crosscourt passes, and mishandles from the guys receiving the ball. Grambling gave the ball to us 24 times, and 17 were steals coming from our stifling defense. The positive that can be shown from this is our learning curve that happened in terms of our turnovers. We had 13 turnovers in all, but 10 of them were in the first half. We figured out a way to not get careless with the ball in the 2nd half even if the game was moving fast. I am impressed with our young guys and how they handle the ball already in only their 3rd game, but I’ll be even more impressed when we can get the number of turnovers below 10 each and every game. We are averaging 12.7 per game which is good for #248 in the nation, last season we were chronically a top 10 in turnovers per game all year.
Press | It is so fun to watch a team play the press the entire game. It takes conditioning and stamina to do it, and we better be ready for Big 12 play when we have 2 games a week instead of one like we are playing right now in our non-conference schedule. As I break down the press we use I notice we like to run big Jaye Crockett or Jordan Tolbert at the very top blocking the inbounds pass from the opponent. We then have 2 guards pushed out to the wings guarding the inbounds pass to the opponents in the top quarter of the court. I wish I wasn’t watching from the TV every game so I could see if we have 2 guys down on our side of the court or stacked with one below the basket and one at the midcourt line. This means we are running either a 1-2-2 or 1-2-1-1 press, and it’s killing me I can’t be at the actual game to break down our beautiful press game. Anyway we are running the press it is working. We are getting steals and getting out down the court to make easy baskets. We are tied for #9 in the nations on steals at 12.7 per game. We do get beat sometimes fairly easily when the other guys break it, but I’m seeing the guards cutting off more passes and shutting down more ball paths each game.
Scoring | Being #6 in the country in scoring is something to be proud of. We are scoring 90.3 points per game and that’s off 48% field goal shooting per game. That is something that is really a great thing knowing about every other shot you put up on the floor is going in and you are getting a lot of shots up. I can criticize our three point percentage being at only 31.5% but I am happy to see we have bombed it 73 times in three games from downtown. We shoot the ball from the outside, move the ball around the arc with screens, drive it to the hoop, and always try and get an outlet pass to the open guy down the court when we get the ball in our hands opposite of our basket. Not to mention our rebounding is great at #26 out of all the other teams in the nation grabbing 43 boards a game. Getting the boards puts the ball in our hands and lets us go for 2nd chance points when we are on the offensive end, or kick out for the run-and-gun game on the outlet pass when we crash the defensive boards. I know our scoring will slow down when we play better defenses, but we are making it work right now.
Attendance | It was Thanksgiving week for the students, so it is a reason for me to check out the official attendance and see what fans other than students are showing up to the games. Our first three games show the official attendance for each at 8550, 7053, and 7952. This leads me to believe a lot of students might not be going out to the games, yet. Once we start winning and the students get a glimpse of Tech basketball and how much fun the games can be I think we start seeing the numbers go up. Also not to mention there aren’t any more home football games to see, so I’m guessing some of the general sports fans will start going out to support another one of the Tech programs like basketball. It will be really interesting to see how big of a crowd we can pull to the #10 ranked Arizona game... if we can pull off the next win against Jackson State and bring both teams into the USA undefeated. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I am going to be extremely excited for that game and I expect others to be as well.
Smiles | The thing I liked the most last night was all the smiles on the players faces. They seem to be having some real fun out on the court, and it really makes me happy. To know what these guys have gone through with the whole Gillispie situation, and know how most media and Big 12 fans have been ignoring them it is a really cool thing that they are rising above it. I saw lots of high fives, lots of pats on the back, and even two players carry off another one that had a short-lived injury to the bench. Did anybody see the entire bench of starters jumping up and down yelling for the backups on the floor when we were up by over 30 points? When Luke Adams was putting up threes the guys were acting like it was a game winning shot. That’s what basketball is all about, that is what makes the games so great to watch, and that is what we haven’t seen from our Red Raiders in a long time. I’m glad they are having fun and that fun will become contagious with the fans.