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DTN's Pulse of the Team :: Texas Tech Basketball : Week 1

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The Pulse of the Team is a weekly or whenever-I-get-to-it post about the state of the team.  What about the team is trending up (looking great) and what is trending down (a bit worrisome).

Trending Up

Defensive Pressure: I mentioned this on Monday, but thus far, the defensive numbers are quite a turnaround. Last year at this time, the offesne was scoring 176 points and making SportsCenter, but the defensive numbers (those advanced stats I keep talking about) were troubling to say the least. This year it seems to be bit different in that there is a focus and the numbers do play this out. The Red Raiders are holding opponents to a an effective field goal percentage of 41.1% (remember, good is 50% or above and bad is 50% or below). I'd also add that the Red Raiders are holding opponents to a 0.78 points per possession (again, good is 1.00 and anything under that is bad). I know that thus far this is a small sample size, but I think this is certainly an area that's an improvement over last year.  I like to celebrate small victories.

JUCO Presence: There's always two thoughts regarding JUCO players in that the player shouldn't be signed because said player can only offer 2 years of eligibility and most likely, one of those years will be spent adjusting to Big 12 play, if he contributes at all. Another thought would be that if the player is truly talented, then he'll rise to the top and contribute immediately. There's certainly a bit of trepedation in signing a JUCO player and thus far, the three major newcomers, G David Tairu, SF Brad Reese and SF Theron Jenkins have combined for 22 points, 6 boards and 3 assists a game. It's understandable to be hesitant to accept the fact that some of these guys can play, in part because a perfect example of a player struggling his first year is PF Darko Cohadarevic. Darko seems to have figured some things out over the summer and it's a shame that he only has this year to make a serious contribution, but if 2 of the 3 JUCO juniors can contribute this year and immediately, then I'll be pretty happy with these guys.

Rebounding Just Enough: The rebounding numbers are better, especially the first game, but the defensive rebound percentage sits around 67% and Texas Tech opponents are sitting at 71%. Texas Tech has never rebounded with the Big 12 conference leaders, but I'd like to see this at least on par with the Red Raider opponents. Not awful, but not great either.

Trending Down

Rounding Out the Roster: I haven't had the opportunity to see any action thus far and my thoughts about the team are from merely looking at the numbers and trying to get an idea as to how the team has performed. Take just about everything I write with a grain of salt, however, I'd love to see the minutes spread out a little more. In Texas Tech's win over Oregon State, the two JUCO small forwards, Brad Reese and Theron Jenkins saw a combined 15 minutes and Robert Lewandowski only saw 11 minutes. I know that each and every win is important to Pat Knight, so it's tough to argue with how things are going now, but I want to make sure that guys like Mike Davis, Lew, Jenkins and Reese continue to see healthy minutes and be solid contributors when conference play starts.

Missing Voskuil: Thus far, the Red Raiders are only 12-43 from beyond the 3-point line and you could attribute the loss of Alan Voskuil, last year's 3-point ace. I think I'd be truly concerned about the numbers if the eFG% were a bit more off, but the fact that the team as a whole doesn't seem to be settling for a ton of 3-point shots isn't too bad. G Nick Okorie is still struggling to find his shot, shooting only 16.7% thus far in 2 games, but Okorie seems like one of those guys where once he finds his shot, it sticks with him for quite some time. PG John Roberson is leading the team with 13 3-point shots and making only 4. Not an awful percentage, but I've never felt comfortable with Roberson taking a ton of shots from past the 3-point line or driving in the lane, but has a very good mid-range game.