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Texas Tech 94 UTEP 77

Sorry about the lack of posts this morning, the network was temporarily down.

Texas Tech beat UTEP, 94-77, moving Coach Knight to 6 wins of breaking Dean Smith's all time victories record.  Am I glad they notched another win?  Yes.  Am I worried about how this Red Raider team will fare in the Big XII?  Yes.

First things first, I thought the uniforms were, an adjustment.  My initial reaction was that the color of the uniforms was too much, but they grew on me as the game wore on.  I much prefer the all black uniforms or all white uniforms.

Tim MacMahon has a write-up on the game here.  As most of the write-ups from the game, the three players who are mentioned are Jackson, Zeno and Dora.  LAJ's Jeff Walker's article is here, and the AP article via the FWST is here.

I caught the last segment of the pregame show and the one thing that I saw was Coach Knight stating that he thought that this team was mentally deficient.  This is the first game I've been able to watch this team and I have a lot of thoughts about where Tech is headed, but if mental toughness was an issue before, it seems like it was not an issue yesterday.  There's this quote from Jeff Walker's article from Knight:

"The most important part of the game for us was when UTEP got within (seven)," Knight said. "I think, in the seven games that we've played so far, that's the best we've played under pressure from that moment on. ... We've kind of wilted at times when we've had a chance to win and we did that again today, that was the negative part. Then, the positive part came when we got it back up to 14."

On to the game itself.

The good:

  1.  Zeno is the best player on the team.  Jackson may be the best scorer, but Zeno is the best player.  They guy is incredibly athletic and if he could add a consistent outside shot, he'd be unstopable.  Zeno had 28 points, 8 rebounds and was 14-14 from the line.
  2.  We shot incredibly well from the 3 point line, 53.3%, and consistently hitting those open 3 point looks kept Tech in the lead all game.
  3.  Jackson is pretty dang good too, and he's shown that he can pretty much score against any team.  I don't know what we would have done if he were suspended all year.
  4.  Dora has a nice jumper and he showed yesterday  that he's got some range as well.
  5.  Burgess had a really nice game and is a nice compliment to Jackson.  I thought that some of his early shots were rushed, but as the point guard I thought he played very well.  He had 10 rebounds to go along with his 7 points and 5 assists.
  6.  I don't know what to make of Valentine.  I think he can be useful, but it's almost like someone needs to tell him to let the offensive game come to him.  Lots of forced shots.
  7.  Decensae White is a decent player.  He's got something.  He was very active on offense and defense and he lacks just a couple of adjustments and he'll be a player in the Big XII.
The bad:
  1.  Plefka, Dora and Suljaric combined, that's right, combined for 4 rebounds, with Plefka believing that rebounds are better suited for guards more so than forwards, with 0 rebounds in 14 minutes.  How do rebounds simply not fall to 6'9" players?
  2.  Tech only had 30 points in the paint, I'm sure some of those came off the fast break so Tech really had less than that.  That's disturbing.
  3.  Dora has a nice offensive game, but for whatever reason, none of the coaches have been able to convince him, or rather, instruct him, that he needs to be in the post some.  It would help this team tremendously if Dora could muster the strength to have a couple of turn-around jumpers off of the post, keep the teams honest and would open up the offense much more.
  4.  There is absolutely no bench.  Knight went with a lineup of Dora, Zeno, Jackson, Burgess for the most part with White, Valentine and Plefka rounding out that 5th spot.
  5.  I had high hopes for Rivzic, but this guy has a long ways to go.
  6.  Why can't Ogden or Prince or Wilkerson or Mitchell get any playing time?  Are their games so deficient that they can't get any more minutes than what they are?
  7.  Tech can be lazy on defense.  There were many times yesterday where the Tech defender just didn't move his feet.  This has to drive Knight insane.