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.
This week, I'm happy to have NM99 join me with this week's basketball report, and you'll find his observations after mind.
I watched both the SFA and the TCU games on the tele, so I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what's going on with the team and it is frustrating. More than anything, I think I'm most interested to see how Pat Knight adjusts to how his team is currently playing and how I think he thinks the team can play (makes sense, right?).
This is starting to look like a team that wants to run and equates running with quick shots that may not be the best shot. There's got to be some sort of governor with these guys because there's nothing wrong with running, but a fast-tempo game for the sake of running isn't going to do any good. This is where I think that Roberson has to slow it down if it's not there, and not to single him out, because both Nick Okorie and Alan Voskuil are guilty of it as well. All of the guards need to realize that pulling up for a three-pointer is fine, if the situation is right AND as long as you can't drive to the basket for an easy bucket or get fouled. Make them stop the dribble.
Continuing the Defense
Obviously, we're having some issues here, but the key, at least for me, is that they are all correctable issues. I don't think we're talking about a lack of talent defensively, but rather a lack of focus and a lack of following fundamental principles. Again, you could say that this falls back on coaching, but moving your feet, stepping in front of the defender, and rotating over are all things that these guys have learned since junior high. This is not rocket science, it's just a matter of doing it.
Singletary stole the show against TCU while D'Walyn Roberts' double-double was key against SFA. The key to all of this is the play of John Roberson, who seems to have hit somewhat of a slump. Roberson was only 4-13 against SFA with 3 assists and 2 turnovers, whle going 3-13 against TCU and 1 assist and 3 turnovers . . . in 40 minutes. If there's one thing to key on, it's the play of Roberson. If Roberson plays well, under control basketball, then I think Texas Tech has a great chance of winning almost any game.
This is now the "Robert Lewandowski Show" as he continues to prove that he needs to be in the game as much as possible. He does tend to disappear a bit, but he's a freshman learning on the fly. I can live with that. Darko Cohadarevic is really struggling. After a decent game against SFA he looked lost against TCU. If Darko can be single-minded and just rebound and play defense, everything else will come naturally, but he doesn't need to shoot the ball unless it's under the basket. For Nick Okorie, see NM99.
Who shoots layups?
I was only able to watch the game versus TCU this week, but I am sure that by now everyone has heard of the incident during the SFA game this week in which PK invited a 12 year old from the stands to ask him if he could make a lay-up. While definitely unorthodox and perhaps over the top, the point cannot be overlooked. When on offense, to say this team is not playing well in the paint is an understatement. In reality, they are not really trying to get the ball into the paint. Most of the shots being taken are jump shots. 16 layup attempts versus Stanford for 24 points. That’s 75% folks. Compare that to 32% on 34 jump shots and 18% on 11 – 3 point shots, and it is easy to see the issue and understand the frustration. Versus TCU, only 17 layup attempts. Versus TCU, there were few attempts to work the ball inside, and the guards were often content to take a shot on the first look they were given with no one inside to rebound. Tech is doing a good job of passing the ball up the court, and I wonder if some of the long jump shots are an attempt to force an uptempo offense by taking quick shots, but I’m not sure its what PK has in mind.
Defensively, the long jump shots are not helping Tech’s cause. With the floor spread, our opponents are getting a lot of fast break opportunities and easy buckets. When they are able to force the other team to play out of their half court set, the defense is pretty good. Guys are making over to help out on the double team out of the zone. My biggest gripe is that we aren’t getting back on defense quickly enough to force the half court offense as much as we should. Like PK said, that is just a matter of effort. They certainly have the ability to guard the opponents we have been playing.
Roberson saw lots of minutes, but turned the ball over waaaay too many times and was not shooting well. I’m beginning to get a man-crush on Lewandowski. He’s seeing about 20 minutes a game. I wish it were more like 30. Okorie needs to focus and play smarter. He is taking a lot of bad shots and not making many of them. He also had 5 turnovers. Ouch.
- Robert Lewandowski: The numbers aren't jaw-dropping, but he's so solid. More minutes will mean more success and his teammates have got to look to him inside.
- Alan Voskuil: Kept Texas Tech in the game against TCU, especially late. Proves he can be deadly from outside and lead the team in assists against TCU with 5.
Mike Singletary: At the very least, he's going to the basket. He's going to have more success than failure so long as he keeps going inside.
- Alan Voskuil: Quiet against SFA and Stanford (didn’t take many shots, but still managed double digits in both games), but lit it up against TCU with 22 points and 5 assists.
- Robert Lewandowski: Not putting up huge numbers, but is efficient. He definitely improves our rebounding stats and also has a few blocks. Should be seeing more and more minutes.
- Mike Singletary: Did a good job of positioning himself inside and taking the ball to the basket against TCU, scoring 22 points. As a result he is getting easy baskets and a lot of free throw attempts...and seeing more minutes.
- 01.10.09: @ Baylor - 12:30 p.m. CST (Big 12)
- 01.17.09: Texas - 3:00 p.m. CST (Big 12)