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Double-T Nation Daily Diatribe :: 12.18.09

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Year End Photos:  Hat-tip to SBN, the Boston Globe's best sports photos of the year:  Part I and Part II.  Part III is to post today.

Game Tomorrow Tonight:
#16/20 Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Wichita State Shockers
Television: None
Time:  7:00 p.m.
Location:  Charles Koch Arena : Wichita, Kansas
Preview:  Noon post :: Game Day Thread:  6:00 p.m. post tomorrow

Ease Up on the Fast Start:  FWST's Dwain Price writes that Pat Knight is not getting carried away about Texas Tech's fast start and gives credit to the players:

"I always tell people there’s no secret to coaching," he said. "If you’ve got good players it makes you a good coach. I really like this group of kids, and I think we’ve got a lot of good players."

PK has been really consistent with his stance regarding how the lack of athletes limited what he could do on defense and offense.  I think I like the honesty and for everyone watching the games from last year to this year, it's obvious that that there are more athletes on this year's squad.  PK also acknowledges that it's what happens in the conference that matters the most:

"No matter how well you do in the preseason, you’re still going to be judged on what you do in the conference," he said. "I just think these next five games are going to be important for us to get our confidence, to get our defense down.

"We’re still working on our rotation and just trying to get these guys more experience before we get into conference play."

Unexpected Hoops Success:  Storming the Floor's Eric Angevine writes that Santa delivered unexpected hoops success to this Texas Tech squad:

Texas Tech (9-0): Honestly, I thought Pat Knight taking over for his father had echoes of a previous Big 12 nepotism case: Sean Sutton's disastrous tenure at Oklahoma State. But the younger Knight has put together a canny schedule that gives his team challenges (Oregon State and Washington) mixed in with confidence-builders over decent mids. We'll know more in a couple of weeks, as the Red Raiders travel to Wichita State and New Mexico before starting the tough Big 12 schedule.

Shockers Getting to the Line:  Wichita Eagle's Paul Sullentrop writes that the success of Wichita St. has been their ability to get to the free throw line:

The Shockers are both making free throws and taking more. Last season, opponents shot 69 more free throws than WSU and made 56 more. After 10 games, WSU is outscoring opponents by 18 points (162-144) on one more attempt (212- 211).

"I know a good stat is being able to make more free throws than your opponent attempts," Marshall said. "My teams have not always done that, have rarely done that, because we shoot a fair amount of three-point shots. At the same time, I don't want there to be a (large) discrepancy."

Interview with Pat Knight:  ESPN's Andy Katz interviews Michigan St.'s Tom Izzo, New Mexico's Steve Alford and Texas Tech's Pat Knight.  PK starts around the 27 minute mark.

Big 12 and Miscellaneous Links:  Rush the Court's Patrick Sellars checks in on the Big 12 . . . Blogger So Dear (a Wake Forest blog) interviews StatSheet's Robbie Allen . . . former Texas Tech coach Bob Knight says things that really surprise no one and asks how in the hell can Kentucky's John Calipari be coaching at Kentucky despite leaving two schools on probation (I know, it's not Calipari's fault, it's someone else's fault) . . .

Smith to Sign, Langley Signed Up:  LAJ's Don Williams has a good update on the status of DE's Donald Langley and Scott Smith.  I probably won't get to a post about Smith until tomorrow morning, but Williams article is good insight as why there was a delay in Smith's LOI:

Two years ago, Scott Smith left the University of California, where his college football career started. But in choosing a new school, he remembered a piece of advice from one of the former Cal assistants: After going on a recruiting visit, take two days to think it over before making any decisions.

Snip

"Two days passed, and I thought about where I wanted to be, and that was Texas Tech," Smith said, adding that one of the former Cal coaches told him to impose a two-day waiting period after returning from a visit before making any pledges.

For those of you wanting to know a little more about Smith, he's coming from the same JUCO as DE Daniel Howard, Butler Co. CC and Smith is currently rated the 4th best JUCO player by Rivals.com and this isn't just by position, this is overall.

Langley has already sent in and the staff has received his letter of intent and he certainly is no lacking in confidence:

"If I can be recruited on a national level two times and go to a big-time program like Texas Tech, it can’t be just me talking a good game," Langley said. "The proof’s on film. I really am excited about the opportunity to go to Texas Tech and get coached by coach (Charlie) Sadler and coach (Mike) Leach and coach Ruffin (McNeill)."

As an aside, Langley is the 41st best JUCO in the aforementioned Rivals rankings.