So what do the Red Raiders do if both Plefka and Burgess are out for extended periods of time? According to LAJ's Jeff Walker both Burgess and Plefka are still questionable. Tech is very thin and had been playing with a two or three man bench for most of the Big 12. Now that Burgess and Plefka have injuries that kept them out of the Missouri game players not named Jackson and Zeno will also have to step up their game. The purpose of this exercise will be to take a look at who will be the starters and who will contribute off the bench. Whatever I believe, it will be interesting to see how Knight will utilize his bench from this point forward.
The Starting Five:
- Jay Jackson: Jay has got to step up his game. He's been consistently absent for the past 4 games. He's got to step up and lead this team.
- Martin Zeno: Martin should have an advantage against a young UT team. His turnovers are problematic, but he just has to slow down.
- Damir Suljagic: Post defense, that's all Tech needs from him right now. It's too much to expect him to have a post game. Just rebound and play defense.
- Michael Prince: Was the glue at the beginning of the year, but needs to step up his game and score like he's capable. He's shown he's capable of hitting the outside jumper, now it's time to take some of those shots.
- Decensae White: This is the wildcard. I mentioned in the Missouri game review and other times throughout the year that Knight has used White as a point forward at times. If Burgess is out for an extended time, White could be the answer. I know that the thought of White at the point potentially has a number of problems, especially with UT looming with their smaller guards Augustin and Abrams, but if Knight would insert White into the starting lineup this might cure some of the issues that plagued Tech against Missouri. He can help rebounding, a deficiency that Tech has lacked all year. Defensively, White is very active and although he will not always be able to stay with a quicker guard, I think he helps more than he hurts.
- Alan Voskuil: Voskuil has got to step up his game and start looking for his shot. I know that with Jackson and Zeno, it's easy to defer, but Voskuil is capable of making his outside shots and there's no reason why he can't take some of the load off of Zeno and Jackson in the scoring department.
- Darryl Dora: Dora is the X-factor. It is obvivously frustrating for Dora to get huge minutes against Kansas and Texas A&M and then get virtually no minutes against Missouri. At the very least, he's an offensive threat, something that Suljagic is not and there's something to be said for that.
- Benny Valentine: I think that Knight is forced to play Valentine because his natural position is the point, but there just seem to be so many times that he's over-matched both defensively and offensively. His height really limits his game.
- Tanner Ogden: Ogden can hit the open jumper, but defensively, he's really lacking.
- LucQuente White: I'd rather see LucQuente get playing time over Valentine. At the very least, he's got some height and athleticism that Valentine lacks and I don't think that Valentine's point guard skills out-weigh what LucQuente has to offer.
After that it's really a grab-bag of players, most of whom haven't seen the floor very much this season.
This is my rotation, I know it's flawed, and it's awfully dangerous to be messing with the starting lineup so far into the season and then force new positions on players, but if Burgess and Plefka can't go then this is how I'd roll.