The Result :: Awful? I don't know how many times I winced during this game due to a turnover, overall sloppy play, allowing Kansas to grab yet another offensive rebound, etc. I've tried to be the guy that gives Pat Knight plenty of time to get the players that he wants on the floor, but something isn't right, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. I won't go so far as to say that this game was there for the taking, but I don't think that Kansas was hitting on all cylinders in the first half. I guess you could say that the Jayhawks forced a bunch of turnovers, but what I saw was the Red Raiders failing to value each and every possession and being sloppy with passes. LAJ's Courntey Linehan wrote in her game story that the second half come-back fell short. What? There was no second half comeback. It was a 20 point game through most, if not all of the second half. In order for someone to call hte game a come-back, I think it at the very least has to be single digits.
The Storylines ::
Lineup Change: The game started with two notable changes in the starting lineup, PF Robert Lewandowski for PF Darko Cohadarevic and SF Brad Reese for SG Nick Okorie, but PK mentions that this may be due to the fact that PK was trying to take advantage of matchup issues rather than a permanent change. After watching Darko's performance against Missouri, where he started, played 15 minutes, missed all 6 field goals and grabbed 3 boards, I'd say that this warranted a change in the middle. Add to that Okorie's 2 for 11 performance against Missouri, along with Reese's 7 for 12 shooting performance, and you've got plenty of justification for Reese and Lewandowski each getting the starting nod. It's hard to say if Lewandowski and Reese made a huge impact, but they were at the very least active. Lew finished with with 8 points and 3 rebounds and was pushed around a bit inside, but he does compete and he didn't come out with a zeros in the boxscore. Darko was more effective than he was against Missouri, but only grabbed 1 rebound in 16 minutes. To say that Darko and Lew need to be much better inside is an understatement. Reese again played okay, finishing with 9 points (3 of 7 from the floor) and 5 boards, while Okorie finished with 5 points on 1 of 10 from the floor. Okorie's not in any sort of groove right now and he needs to just stop taking jumpshots and get to the rim.
Sloppy Play: I think I've reached my boiling point with how sloppy this team plays on offense. Right now, there's little direction on offense and the turnovers are mounting. Over the past two games, Texas Tech has had 30 turnovers and 27 assists. Do you want to guess who the biggest offender is? How about Mike Singletary with 10 of those turnovers in these past two games. Someone needs to set Singletary down and let him know that he should never lead a fast-break ever again. He's fine in the open court, but when he just gets one player around him, he seems to just hand the ball over to the opposing team. Singletary's problems aren't just limited to turnovers, as PK pulled Singletary early in the second half for yet another defensive lapse. I've mentioned this a number of times, but if Singletary has an athletic forward guarding him, it's an absolutely horrible matchup on both ends of the floor. Evidenced by Kansas where Singletary finished with no points on 4 shots and 3 boards. If Singletary is going to be an effective player in this league, he's got to learn to do two things. He must learn to get his shot off on the post without it getting blocked and he must ask for the ball in the post rather than on the wing.
Please Stop Expecting Calls: I am absolutely tired of this team expecting calls. I'm probably showing my home team alligience, but I absolutely hate the Tim Duncan turn to the ref with his palms up asking why wasn't a foul called. I see the exact same thing with this team. The tough part here is that with this team, the guards aren't not capable of finishing in and around the rim and the new JUCO players, like Reese and Jenkins, need to be able to finish in and around the rim rather than the guards like Roberson, Okorie and Tairu. The guards need to be getting to the rim during fast-break opportunities, but they've shown it more than once that this group just cannot get calls around the basket.
Help on the Way? It's obvious that the main issue with this team is that there's very little athleticism up front. The lone post player that Pat Knight has committed is Paul Cooper, who is a 6-8/240 power forward from Gulf Coast Community College. As of right now, Cooper has only started 10 of 19 games for his JUCO club and is averaging 6.6 points on 36.7% shooting and 4.5 boards a game. Cooper isn't even the best post player on his team, a title that goes to 6-10/215 forward Eric Buckner, who has only visited with LSU but hasn't committed. This is an interesting situation in that PK has a very tough decision to make in that it doesn't even sound as if Cooper has deserved a scholarship.
Four Factors, Player Impact and Game Flow: I love these graphs from StatSheet and I hope you do too:
The MVP :: ????: I have no idea. You tell me who deserves the MVP of the game. If I had to pick, I guess I'd pick Reese who played pretty hard for most of the game and finished with a pretty good line, but when the team MVP finished with 9 points, 5 boards, 3 blocks and 0 turnovers.