Texas Tech Hoops | 5 Things (Week #9)

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Spo

Thoughts on 5 things trending with the Red Raiders basketball team. This week... Kader Tapsoba Injury, Comeback Efforts, Turnover Battle, Free Throw Shooting, and Texas on Saturday.

Texas Tech basketball has suffered two losses over the last few days to Iowa State and West Virginia. Both games had comeback efforts from which the Red Raiders fell short. Up next is a showdown in Austin with the Longhorns on Saturday.

  1. Kader Tapsoba Injury | Chris Level tweeted before the ISU game that Tapsoba would be out with a dislocated finger. Also according to the Twitter world, a sports source (@freeplays) tweeted that Tapsoba was questionable to play in the West Virginia game. If he was questionable to return on Monday then I have to assume that he will be cleared to play on Saturday against Texas. This is a positive as he is much needed for more than rebounds and blocked shots. Our frontcourt depth is thin at the 5 position. Most games Dejan Kravic, Tapsoba, and Jordan Tolbert rotate at the 5 spot. With Tapsoba out we have been in trouble when Tolbert has got himself into foul trouble. Having Tapsoba back will give us some breathing room when Tolbert gets into the danger of picking up his 4th foul.
  2. Comeback Efforts | There is no denying that the games starting off Big 12 play have been exciting for Tech. They came storming back in the middle of the 2nd half to tie the game against then #13 ranked undefeated Iowa State. They were down most of the game against West Virginia then started swapped leads at the end and went into OT. The frustrating finishes in both games were disappointing, but I would rather take exciting letdowns over embarrassing blowouts any day of the week. Our guys are being competitive and that’s what we have waiting to watch for the past few seasons... a basketball game that could go either way. The one thing I hope is that we finally get over the hump in some of these close games and finish victorious, because after a couple more tight losses I fear the squad might lose their confidence.
  3. Turnover Battle | In both games that we lost on the scoreboard, we also lost in the turnover category. Those turnovers gave points to our opponents. Iowa State had 5 turnovers compared to our 8 TOs. ISU converted our turnovers into 15 points while we only converted 4 points off theirs. West Virginia had 8 TOs while we had 15. WVU converted our turnovers into 17 points and we only had 6 points off theirs. This is a very important note to make; our points off turnovers difference to ISU was 11 points… we lost the overall game to ISU 73-62 by a score of 11 points. Our points off turnovers difference to WVU was 11 points… we lost the overall game by only 3 points! I don’t have to analyze this stat anymore for the message to be clear. Texas Tech needs to win the turnover battle to have an exponentially better chance of winning the games.
  4. Free Throw Shooting | The officiating has been a thorn in my side this season, but that’s a different story I do not want to dabble in right now. I want to congratulate the squad on being a great free throw shooting team over the past few games. Tech did not get to the line a whole lot in the Iowa State game, but did make 6-8 for 75% when the whistle blew. In the West Virginia game the team was 22-26 for an astounding 84.6%. Tubby Smith has asked the guys to practice their free throws and it is showing on the court.
  5. Texas on Saturday | We have proven that we can hang with Big 12 teams in Lubbock at the United Spirit Arena. Are we ready to show that the same is true when we hit the road for conference games? Texas is a tough team that got the better of North Carolina. They will be difficult, and we have to start off in the Big 12 displaying that we are just as competitive on the road as we are at home. It will be a very interesting game to watch, I cannot wait to see how we handle it. Wreck 'em Tech!
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