THE RESULT | SHOULDA, WOULDA, COULDA| Texas Tech shoulda, woulda, coulda won this game, but just didn't. I made the comment during the game that this was essentially a product of playing awful, and I mean awful transition defense and not being able to hit a layup or a relatively short shot on the offensive end. Texas Tech was playing without PF D`Walyn Roberts and PG John Roberson and PF Robert Lewandowski fouled out so there was almost no bench and no frontcourt depth. Still shoulda won.
Head coach Pat Knight said it after the game and I couldn't agree more, PG John Roberson and SF Mike Singletary (more on him later) need to play like their coach's career is on the line because they're not. In an up-and-down game, Roberson should have excelled, but he had silly fouls which insured that he was out for the last 3 minutes of regulation and the entire overtime. That's not to say that there weren't bad calls (there were many questionable calls), but he's got to be better than that. Roberson finished the night with 11 points, 6 assists and only 1 turnover, but his impact on the team felt minimal. I want more out of Roberson. SG David Tairu go tthe start and he didn't make much of an impact until later in the game.
Tairu is the king of fighting his rear off to grab an inside rebound and then tries to go up, hoping to get the foul, with three opposing post players surrounding him. I like Tairu's grit and wanting to get to the line, but sometimes, it's good to get another possession and set up the offense.
I really like Jaravez Willis, he's going to be a good player for Texas Tech for this year and next year. He's very solid at the point, has an excellent outside shot and does a good job of controlling the team. The only problem is that he didn't do a good enough job controlling the game in overtime, but I'll cut him some slack. It should have been Roberson out there and he wasn't because he couldn't stay out of foul trouble. What all of the guards failed to do was guard the North Texas perimeter players. In my estimation, it was more about being lazy switching on screen plays and not getting up in the faces of the smallish North Texas guards. Roberson, Tairu and Willis have enough ability to keep up with these players and I thought that Willis probably did the best job, but these players need to do a better job switching on screens at the three-point line.
More after the jump.
We'll throw Brad Reese here as well, but he had one of his better games, finishing with 20 points, 6 boards, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks. He was active and wasn't just settling for outside shots. The only downside to Reese is that when Texas Tech doesn't start Roberts and Tairu, there isn't a good defender on the floor when the game starts. With that being said, Reese played as good as anyone for Texas Tech.
My biggest problem with Lewandowski is perhaps my problem. What I want him to be and what he actually is are probably two different things. Lew missed a handful of easy buckets around the rim, got into early foul trouble with at least two bogus foul calls for a charge where the North Texas player flopped. Still, Lewiandowski doesn't make much of an impact. Not enough rebounding and not enough of an inside presence. He needs to call for the ball and learn a few low post moves to get a foul. And if there's anyone that should draw your ire this morning, it's Mike Singletary, who had a decent stat line, but he was 4-13 from the field, 5-10 from the free throw line and had 4 turnovers. Singletary has to be better than that.
I absolutely love Jaye Crockett. The guy is for real and is a jumping-jack of a small forward. There were a couple of dunks that he had that were almost underneath the basket and he just jumped up and slammed it down. We haven't seen enough players like Crockett, but he can play. It wouldn't surprise me at all that he averages 15 points and 7 rebounds next year, but he's going to be incredibly valuable this year in terms of frontcourt depth. He also sees the court really well, very guard-like and right now is one of the best three passers on the team. He can be a bit wild, but once he plays a bit he's going to be a force.
With Roberts out, as well as PF Paul Cooper and SF Theron Jenkins, I hadn't really considered that this team wasn't deep, but last night there was no one for PK to turn to inside. The article linked below said that Roberts tweaked his back in pre-game warm-ups, let's hope that this year doesn't turn into last year in terms of injuries for Roberts.
You can say what you will about Pat Knight, but at least he's honest and even if you don't think he's the right guy for the job, at the very least he knows that he's coaching for a contract. With the limited frontcourt depth, there wasn't any real options other than Crockett. Knight's biggest problem is that he's got to tell Singletary that if he can't play defense and if he turns the ball over then he's not going to play. Last night was not the best opportunity for Knight to teach that lesson with so few options, but defensively, this team must be better. Per LAJ's Courtney Linehan, PK laid the blame at the feet of Roberson and Singletary, and rightfully so:
Knight squarely laid the blame on the two fourth-year seniors who suited up Tuesday night: Mike Singletary and John Roberson. While senior forward Brad Reese stepped up to the tune of 20 points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks, Knight wanted more from the most experienced members of his squad.
“Roberson and Singletary haven’t played well yet,” he said after the game. “They’ve got to start playing like seniors and quit playing like freshmen. It’s that simple.”
Not much to say here other than Texas Tech got beat on every important statistic.
MVP | Jaye Crockett | As mentioned above, Crockett was really good. This was a really good find by Pat Knight and I'm glad that they sat him out last year, although I think he would have helped quite a bit. Crockett finished the day with 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and 1 turnover.