Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE
5 things trending for the Red Raider basketball team.
TRENDING FOR TEXAS TECH
Free Throws | One of the most talked about issues from fans last game against McNeese State was the Texas Tech poor free throw shooting percentage in the game. Tech ended up making only 51.9% of their 27 shots from the charity stripe. That is completely unacceptable. There are 135 teams that make over 70% of their free throws per game in Division 1 college basketball, and we need to be one of them if we are going to win some close games. We are ranked #248 and making only 65.6% of our attempts this season. I don’t want us giving away free uncontested points from the line or else we will lose some of these tight games as we did to MSU. The only thing that helps with free throws is practice, and most Tech players need to put some extra time into getting in the gym and learning their own stroke to hit these points. I expect to see this number trend up in the Alabama and Arizona State games this week.
Press | McNeese State was a team that didn’t have many turnovers coming into this game, averaging around 12 a game. Tech pressure defense, and full-court press gave MSU hell and they ended the game giving up 20 turnovers. I was really happy our guys were getting on them and pushing up the tempo of the game so MSU would get out-of-control and cough the ball up. I hadn’t thought we would hit our steals per game average against a team like that, but we did getting 14 steals and pushing our average up to 11.6 per contest. That makes up ranked #4 in the country in team steals per contest! We do have a tremendous defensive strategy in place, and I like that it is showing how effective it can be against teams. I love to see our guys swarming and covering the ball the way they do. An observation I made against MSU was that Tech started the game and played a lot more man-to-man D when the ball came across mid-court than I had seen all season. It will be interesting to see what Coach Walker runs against Alabama and ASU, but I would guess he was practicing that man-on-man D for a reason.
Rebounding | We had been doing fairly well for the season on rebounding, but the number right now is slowly declining. We were outrebounded 28-35 on the boards against MSU, and that can’t happen to a team like that. It is scary to think what will happen when we play teams in the Big 12 with powerful and dominate posts. I wrote early in the year I was afraid of us not having a true center, and with the loss of Ross to an ACL injury we have no enforcer down low. This is going to be the thing that kills us this year with no huge tough presence down low. Tolbert and Crockett are who we will have to rely on, and they are undersized to go up against some of the big body centers in Big 12 competition. Kravic is 6’11’ but does not have the strength to block or play down low with the big boys. Maybe our frontcourt will surprise me as the season goes on, but this will be something to pay attention to in games, and figure out a different way to crash the boards and get some rebounds.
Kader Tapsoba | It is interesting with all the help that our team is needing with big bodies in the frontcourt that Tapsoba is not being used more than he is. He is averaging 7.8 mpg, 2.8 ppg, and 3 rpg. He’s a big guy that might be able to help us get some strength in the box down low for rebounding and clean-up buckets. The best thing about Tapsoba is that he hasn’t had a turnover all season, and in only 12 minutes of action against Grambling State he had 6 rebounds. I would like to see more of Tapsoba in the games if our frontcourt starts struggling like against MSU. He might become a key guy to give us the boost we need to win our low post battles that are being lost right now.
Big Games | This week is the most exciting for Texas Tech Red Raider basketball fans so far this season. Besides Arizona, we have two schools from other top conferences traveling to the United Spirit Arena and see action against our guys. Alabama is a really good team, most people don’t realize they are going to put up a big fight against us and it will actually be a fairly huge upset if we can knock them off. The other game against ASU is more of a closer matchup and I think we actually have a chance to win this one if we play great. For those college basketball fans that like to see star talent don’t take your eyes off the thrilling freshman PG Jahii Carson on ASU, he is so much fun to watch play! I hope we get a lot of fans out to the game, and I heard that a whole bunch of Tech students on break donated their tickets to charity and I am thrilled some young Red Raider fans that don’t usually get to the games will be there to experience something everybody should be able to. Wreck ‘em Tech! Let’s beat Alabama and Arizona State!