Mar 7, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders gaurd Ty Nurse(4) brings the ball up court against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the first half of the first round of the Big 12 Tournament at the Sprint Center. Oklahoma State defeated Texas Tech 76-60. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE
"Five" is a series of five things, players, thoughts or whatever I think will fill a post.
The biggest thing I took away from looking back at last year was how dreadful this team was last year in just about every important statistical category. The five statistics I've listed here are some of the most important statistics in basketball and quite frankly there was just no other way to describe this team other than abysmal. The somewhat good thing is that this might be an entirely new team for the most part and that's the encouraging thing and it was evident to just about everyone that there was a lack of talent. The bad thing is the attrition, the transfer of more than a handful of players and attrition, whether it be in football or basketball is a bad thing. Still, this new team can look at these numbers and see how far they have to go.
1. Scoring | Last year, Texas Tech was 323rd in the country in scoring, averaging only 59.5 points per game last year, which was also last in the Big 12. There were times last year when it seemed that the team struggled with putting together a decent offensive possession. There was no doubt that last year's team lacked a true scorer, a player that the team could go to for an important possession or could shoulder the load offensively. We'll talk more about how the 2012 commits might change some of that, but for now, this team must figure out it's offensive identity.
2. Rebounding | Like scoring, this team was 323rd in the nation last year. For me, there was always this expectation (at least by me) that Robert Lewandowski would be a better rebounder over the course of his career, but that just never happened. I think that Lew was probably just a bit over-matched athletically, but he always gave such good effort, it was tough to criticize him. The other rebounding options last year were Jordan Tolbert, who as a true freshman was pretty good, and Jaye Crockett, who probably would have averaged more rebounds with more minutes. Again, there are some big bodies on the way that should help give some legitimate size to the team, but as a lot of you know, rebounding is also about a bit more experience, desire and attitude.
3. Assists | We've broken below the 300's as this team was 292nd in the nation in assists and perhaps the biggest thing was that there were no easy plays last year. Every possession seemed like a grind and it seemed like those back-door looks that we were accustomed to seeing in the Knight motion offense didn't happen with Gillispie's high-low offense. And there were seemingly almost no fast break points or other easy baskets where the players were setting up each for easy looks. Nothing happened easily last year, especially easy baskets.
4. Turnovers | This team was 303rd in the nation in turnovers, averaging 16.8 turnovers a game. In addition to offense not being able to make it easy on themselves, they also literally gave up almost 17 possessions a game due to turnovers. I know that's not necessarily 17 additional shots, but you could argue that a decent team could get 12 or 15 shots out of 17 and converting 40% is six extra buckets each game which is 10 extra points. Again, it's loose math, but you get the point in that if the team just can't afford to hand over than many possessions during the course of a game.
5. Steals | This team was 271st in the nation in steals. Again, the defense wasn't all that bad. Gillispie was wanting to wear down opponents by grinding things out on offense, but the defense wasn't necessarily creating turnovers (again, which leads to easy buckets). Perhaps the lack of steals has more to do with the overall lack of athleticism that this team exhibited last year and the hope is that the players committed for next will will help with a more create a defense that's more athletic and more capable to creating havoc on defense.