The Result :: Tremendous: I really thought that this was a game that the Huskies would ultimately win, especially as they're picked to win the Pac-10, but there's something about playing on the road. Last year, Texas Tech was awful on the road, and in Texas Tech's lone road game, a very close win against SFA, indicates that almost no matter the opponent, playing on the road is tough. Nevertheless, it's still incredibly satisfying for this team to get this win. I've been one of the guys standing behind Pat Knight, I like his style, albeit he's certainly had some rough spots, but I can see the potential and I can see how players would want to play for him. He's still finding his way, and there are going to be some bad losses with this team, but I still like what he's doing.
The Storylines ::
Athletes, Athletes, Athletes: That was not your typical Bob Knight team. It took a season for Pat Knight to transform his team from a typical Bob Knight team (2008) to a team with much better athletes. I loved how the Texas Tech perimeter defense was basically able to switch with just about every Washington player, and that seemingly made it incredibly difficult for UW to get into much of rhythm outside as the Huskies were only 4-15 from the 3-point line. Perhaps the most impressive part was seeing the very long and athletic SF Brad Reese play the point on defense. That's a tough thing for a small point guard to have to around a long 6'6" player and that's not something that could have been done last year. I'd also add that Pat Knight had, for very long stretches of the game, no true post player (i.e. Darko Cohadarevic and Robert Lewandowski), instead opting for a combination of guards and smallish forwards that played really well. This smallish lineup still out-rebounded Washington 42 to 37, something that you just don't see from a typical Texas Tech team.
More storylines after the jump.
In Control Roberson: That's the PG John Roberson I want to see more of from this point forward. Roberson didn't force very much in the first half, taking only 3 shots, but dishing out 5 assists and turning the ball over only 2 times. He was truly a floor leader and didn't look for his shot until the second half, when I think he could sense the offense dragging a bit and scored 9 of his 25 points in the second half.
Transition Defense: With better defense comes better transition defense and Washington had only 6 fast break points for the entire game. It really didn't matter if it was Reese, G David Tairu, SF Mike Singletary, G Nick Okorie, SF Theron Jenkins or PF D`Walyn Roberts, all of these guys are buying into the defense and they are all getting back to man-up or are athletic enough to block shots and make it difficult for an opponent. This is a different team, perhaps not as good of a shooting team, but a different team athletically and it's pretty interesting to watch.
Washington is Pretty Good: I had no idea what to expect from the Huskies, I'm still working my way into basketball mode, but I thought that they were an athletically gifted team and some tremendous players. This is a good team, that's going to have to learn how to play on the road, just like every team in the country, but this is a really good win for this Texas Tech program. I watched a bit of the USC vs. Texas game afterwards and thought that the Longhorns are equally as athletic, but haven't yet figured out how to play as a team. I don't think that the Red Raiders are as athletically gifted as Texas, but the gap is much, much closer than it has been in previous years.
Game Flow and Four Factors: I love these graphs from StatSheet and I hope you do too:
The Offensive Co-MVP's :: PG John Roberson and SF Brad Reese: Roberson had a tremndous line (Pts: 25; Reb: 2; Ast: 7; Stl: 2; TO: 4) and kept Texas Tech in the game in the 2nd half. Reese (Pts: 17; Reb: 5; Ast: 1; Stl: 1; Blk: 2; TO: 2) was the key in the first half and was electric. I thought watching the game that it's been a long time since the Red Raiders had a 6'6" guy step up and hit 3-point shots the way Reese did. That's pretty fun to watch.
The Defensive MVP :: PF D`Walyn Roberts: Roberts' stat line isn't going to be too terribly impressive (Pts: 8; Reb: 5; Ast: 0; Stl: 0; Blk: 2; TO: 0), but I thought he did a pretty good job of battling inside. I have a feeling that the inside players may not have pretty stat lines for a good part of the season, but their play will be very important throughout the year.