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DTN's Basketball Report: 12.2.2008

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Double-T Nation takes a weekly look at a number of issues surrounding the basketball team and the progression of Pat Knight as Texas Tech's head coach.  The issues to be discussed weekly include the following:  a summary of the past week's games, the Pat Knight uptempo offense, continuing the defensive work of Robert Knight, the improvement of the sophomores and how the newcomers are adjusting to the college game.

The Games

  • Southeastern Louisiana: Win 74-63
  • Pittsburgh: Loss - 67-80
  • Mississippi State: Win - 77-73

All in all a pretty productive week for Texas Tech. A win over Southeastern Louisiana, a loss to #4 Pittsburgh and a solid win against Mississippi State. You would prefer that the SE La. state game not be so close and the Pitt game was a little closer, but considering the number of new faces with this club and acclimating to Junior Knight's faster pace, I'll take a 2-1 record. I've only been able to watch some of the earlier games so I don't have any frame of reference for the Pitt and MSU game, thus I have no idea how well or how poorly the team played, but anytime you can go on the road and play well I'll take it.

Playing Uptempo

Texas Tech is playing at a faster pace, there's certainly no doubt about that.  The key of course is not just playing faster, but being efficient all at the same time, utilizing the motion offense but running when opportunity knocks.  Thus far, and it's a work in progress, I'm pleased with the results.  Putting up 167 against East Central Oklahoma isn't an indication of where the offense it, but rather that ECU is a team on a much lower level (only scheduled as a result of being part of the Legend's Classic).  According to KenPom the 2009 version is much more efficient than the 2008 version (see the adjusted offensive efficiency), but it's also important to keep in mind that the 2009 numbers are without the benefit of going through conference play.  Alan Voskuil started slowly, and he's probably the key to the season.  Consistent scoring from Voskuil will mean that this team is going to be successful.  I should also mention that the multiple scoring threats (Roberson, Voskuil, Okorie, Singletary and Cook) are all scoring in double-figures and having multiple options makes it more difficult for opposing teams.

Continuing the Defense

I always loved the defense that Bob Knight instilled at Texas Tech.  The defense was typically pretty good, but last year it was not.  Personally, I think that had more to do with personnel than effort, but this year Junior Knight is implementing some of his own ideas while still carrying over what his father started.  From the games I've seen, JK is using the zone more freely, but I haven't been able to watch the team against the best competition.  Of course the biggest concern is the 117 given up to the aforementioned ECU, but thus far the defense has been pretty good.  Individually, D'walyn Roberts offers up something his RMK didn't have, which is a very athletic small forward who can man-up against almost anyone on the floor. 

The Sophomores

This is my own personal idea, but I've thought that how the sophomores (D'walyn Roberts, John Roberson and Mike Singletary) progress will be telling of where Junior Knight is as a coach.  Thus far, I'm very happy with the progress of Roberts.  He's added weight and confidence and having a guy like him can be huge for the program.  Mike Singletary continues to be a scoring machine, although he may tend to be a defensive liability at times, his post-up game is second to none.  Roberson is leading the team in scoring and in assists and right now his assist to turnover ration is at 2:1.  Much improved.

The Newcomers

This can encompass quite a few players, but we need to keep an eye on all of these guys as we move forward.  First and foremost, Nick Okorie is the type of guard that can be a great complement to Voskuil and Roberson, and although he's slowed as of late, he's going to be just fine.  I love his game and think he's going to add quite a bit to this team.  Darko Cohadarevic is still adjusting to Division I basketball, but he offers a unique skill set, much like Trevor Cook's and his versatility will be very useful in conference play.  True freshman Tyree Graham isn't afraid to shoot, which is something that I like in my guards (11 shots against Mississippi State).  He's got something.

Top Three

  1. Trevor Cook: 24 points against Pitt along with 5 blocked shots for the week.
  2. John Roberson:  8 assists and only 2 TO's against Pitt while scoring 20 against SE La. and 13 against MSU.
  3. Alan Voskuil:  A rebounding machine (7 - SE La.; 8 - Pitt; and 4 - MSU) and as a result is finding way to contribute other than just scoring.