|OPPONENT:||Missouri Tigers (13-3, 1-0)|
|LOCATION:||United Spirit Arena : Lubbock, TX|
|DATE:||January 13, 2010|
|TIME:||8:00 p.m. CST|
|GAME CAST:||Fox Sports|
**Make sure and check out Rock M Nation's preview of tonight's game. Great statistical analysis from the RMN guys..
The Season Thus Far: The Tigers have been great as of late, winning their last eight games. In fact, much like most teams the Tigers have struggled on the road, losing both of their away games to Vanderbilt and to Oral Roberts, and lost one of their three neutral games to Richmond. The Tigers best win happened on Saturday, when the Tigers took down the Kansas St. Wildcats. Because of Texas Tech's melt-down in Stillwater, I don't have much faith in this Texas Tech team, but at the very least, the Tigers have a worse strength of schedule than Texas Tech and a worse RPI.
The Main Players: How much time do you have? Mike Anderson's Tigers are very deep and that's the way that Anderson likes to play. The Tigers have 10 players that play more than 10 minutes, but are led by their guards. Kim English, Zaire Taylor and Marcus Demon lead thsi squad and all score over double-figures, while fellow guard J.T. Tiller is just a shade under 10 points a game. The Texas Tech guards should be more than gearing up for a challenge tonight in guarding these gentlemen, but will also need to be prepared offensively as Missouri will be pressuring the Red Raiders, especially after Texas Tech gifted 21 turnovers to their opponent on Saturday. One more note, no one on Missouri's roster averages more than 26 minutes a game. Anderson does a danged good job of making sure his guys are fresh.
Get to the Line: I'm sure I could find these splits somewhere, but if I had to guess, the Red Raiders are much worse getting to the line on the road than they are at home. I think Texas Tech has its best chance to compete with Missouri if they are able to get to the line and slow the game down. I pointed this out on Saturday, that the Red Raiders were getting to the free-throw line much more than the Cowboys, and the same holds true for the Tigers. With that being said, having a statistical advantage and actually putting it to use (something that didn't happen against Oklahoma St.) is what needs to happen.
40 Minutes of Roberson: If there was ever a game that John Roberson needed to be on his absolute best behavior, it's tonight. Roberson actually only had two turnovers against Oklahoma St., but it was his teammates that couldn't hang onto the ball. Roberson also didn't score a single point against OSU, and when Roberson isn't scoring at least some, then he's somewhat of a liability because he's not the best drive-and-finish guys or drive-and-dish gusy there is. Thus, the bottom line is that I think this is a game that Roberson needs to step up and makes sure that his teammates are careful with the ball. Being careless against Missouri is an easy way for the Tigers to get an early lead. Control the tempo and control the game.
Why Not Stretch Some Guys Out: I found it strange that PK would mention before the Oklahoma St. game that he had made a mistake in not playing SF Theron Jenkins more time. Jenkins is sort of a jack-of-all-trades sort of player and probably does more with less, but what I do not understand is why he's still only reeiving 10 minutes a game, or less. Much like the Red Raiders, the Tigers aren't necessarily blessed in the front court, which is what happens when a stud like Demare Carrolle graduates, and I'd just add that this is a game that would make sense to stretch out a couple of players, especially considering how many players that Missouri plays.