Texas Tech Hoops | 5 Things (Week #11)

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Thoughts on 5 things trending with the Red Raiders basketball team. This week... Robert Turner, The Big Serb, Rebounding, Chemistry, and 3 wins in a row.

How great is two Big 12 wins in a row? It’s spectacular! Texas Tech has a chance tonight to be on a Big 12 winning streak of three in a row when they take on West Virginia. Get your guns up!

  1. Robert Turner | He has turned up his game, and played at a capable level of being a true threat at the PG position. A few weeks back I was disappointed with his inconsistent play and wrote about it in our VTM roundtable question of the week. I’ve seen a spark in him for the last two games and enough consistent play that has made me hope he has found his rhythm for the rest of the season. Turner is still going to be a streaky shooter, especially from downtown. But, he is leading this team and setting up the offense in a nice way. His ball movement has been excellent and he is getting this team to play at an even pace that he controls the tempo. Against Baylor he had 14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal with only 1 turnover. In the TCU game he ended again with only 1 turnover to go along with 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal. He needs to keep it up against WVU and OU this week for my confidence in him as our starting PG to grow back to how it was in the beginning of the season.
  2. The Big Serb | I cannot hand out props to Turner without giving credit to Dejan Kravic. He has been a beast over the last 2 games. Kravic is one who I get annoyed at a lot because of the potential I see in him, but he doesn’t always show up in games. He sometimes gets pushed out of the paint too easily or throws up shots that make me wonder if he believes he is a guard. Not against Baylor and TCU. He is playing like an athletic center any Big 12 team would be proud to put on the court. Stats over the last two games combined are 26 points, 19 rebounds, 7 assists, 6 blocks, and 2 steals. If you watch Kravic play you will see him moving his feet and getting better position in the paint than his opponents. I don’t know who to credit on the coaching staff for working with Kravic, but he is improving at a rapid pace. Just like Turner, he needs to keep up his dominating play for the rest of the season.
  3. Rebounding | Over the last two wins we have beat the other teams not only on the scoreboard, but also in the rebounding category. I don’t want to lie and say that I have noticed all the players with much improvement on the boards to their positioning and block-out techniques. Jaye Crockett and Jordan Tolbert have always been fairly good at boxing out. I attribute our effort and determination to getting some of those rebounds. It looks like we are fighting harder and want to get the loose ball off the rim more than the other guys. That is what makes the games fun to watch. Tech outrebounded Baylor 35-29, and against TCU we won the battle 41-29. Aggression and fight are hard to teach a team, we are lucky to have such a scrappy squad.
  4. Chemistry | Last week I wanted to keep experimenting with a smaller lineup because we hadn’t found the right starting combination yet. I don’t think we should do that now that Tubby Smith has seemed to crack the formula for the starting lineup of Kravic, Tolbert, Crockett, Toddrick Gotcher, and Turner. I expect to see those guys start games until we start losing. It is working and the guys seem to be responding well to how they are playing with one another. Dusty Hannahs is a great player and our downtown threat off the bench. It is the right place for him at this point. Oklahoma State has Phil Forte, Baylor has Brady Heslip, and Tech has Hannahs. Things are going right and the chemistry is positive, let’s not stir the pot up for now.
  5. 3 in a row | Just the thought of three Big 12 wins in a row gets my blood flowing with the adrenaline level inside me rising. Faithful Tech fans have been waiting a long time for the basketball team to be relevant again. It is still a long road to gain a lot of recognition from anybody inside or outside of the Big 12, but we just have to keep doing our thing. Getting wins will turn heads. Going into the game tonight I keep thinking of the frustration that came out after the overtime loss to West Virginia in Lubbock. Our coaching staff, and our players had a chance once already to see firsthand what WVU does. We witnessed Juwan Staten drive by us into the lane multiple times and hit his layups, he scored 25 point. Eron Harris had an off night from downtown, but we saw him jack up 11 three pointers and know he isn’t afraid to shoot from the outside. He still had 18 points. Turner and Kravic had bad games, but are on top of their games right now. Let’s see what Coach Smith has in store for WVU tonight, it’s time for revenge. Make it 3 in a row, and then time for the Sooners to come to town on Saturday. Wreck ‘em Tech!
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