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Saturday Morning Baskeball Notes

The Texas Tech Red Raiders face the Missouri Tigers, today at 3:00 p.m. The game will be shown in Lubbock on FSN and in the DFW area on channel 21.

SEN's Tim Griffin has been working overtime as he as three articles all with a little bit of Tech basketball news. First, Tim's rankings of the Big 12 has Tech sitting at #1.

Second, Tim always does a nice job on his Big 12 Insider and this week is no different. He has this on the Red Raiders' ability to finish games:

One of the biggest reasons for Tech's improvement this season has been the Red Raiders' tough-minded ability to finish games. That skill was highlighted Wednesday night against A&M when Tech overcame a five-point lead despite converting only two field goals in the final 13:47 of the 70-68 victory. "We couldn't have won this game last year," Tech coach Bob Knight told reporters after beating A&M. "Last year's team had a real problem with things like that at the end of games."

Finally, Tim has this on the parallels between Knight and Huggins (both came from bad situations in their prior stints to turn their new programs around, etc.).

DMN's Tim MacMahon's article discusses the newfound depth on this Red Raider team, noting that it's been someone different leading the team in scoring the past 4 games. Pat Knight (who I am beginning to love as a future head coach more and more each day) had this to say about Jackson and his teammates:

"Jay last year had to carry everything - defense, offense, all of it," Tech head coach designate Pat Knight said. "Since the first day of practice, we've been hammering these guys to step up and not make him do everything. Shoot, they have."

Pat then states that it's been the consistency of the frontcourt that's been bothersome and I've been saying for a while, I'd love it if one of the frontcourt players (Plefka, Dora, White, Prince, Suljagic, etc.) would be a consistent scoring threat each game:

"Honestly, we didn't see it coming," Pat Knight said of the big men's production. "That's the problem with those guys. We haven't been able to tell from what they've been doing in practice. Their M.O. has been to have a good game here and go invisible for four or five games."

Finally, LAJ's Jeff Walker has an excellent preview of today's game. Assistant Coach Stew Robinson has this to say about the potential for a let-down:

"We hope they learned a lesson from that," Tech assistant coach Stew Robinson said. "We had this same thing happen three games ago. We were coming off a couple of big wins against Oklahoma and at Kansas State and then we went down to Waco and lost at Baylor. We hope that the kids learned from going down and playing at Baylor that everybody is going to come there to play. This team (Missouri) is no different. They are going to be ready to play pressure defense, there's going to be a packed crowd, so we hope our team learned from the Baylor experience."

Jeff grabs a quote from Stew regarding what I mentioned in my game preview (see the entry below) that Mizzou is aggressive defensively (over 11 steals a game):

"They're always going after the ball," Robinson said. "Whether it's through their press or their half-court defense, everybody has got their eye on the ball. You have to protect the ball at all times because even when they bring guys off the bench, they all have the same ideology of how they want to play and that's to be really tough on the ball."

As for me, I'll be posting a game day thread later in the morning, however, I may have to leave during half-time of the game, but want to encourage each of you to contribute to the game day thread.