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Double-T Nation Daily Diatribe :: 02.17.10

Result :: Loss : 70-88 : SB Nation Box Score
Record :: 16-9, 4-7
Big 12 Standings :: 9th
Up Next :: 02/20/2010 : Texas Longhorns : 20-5, 6-4

Sigh:  It's a talent problem. That's the difference between being a successful basketball program and not.  And it's frustrating for me personally because I'm a fan of Pat Knight and I want him and Texas Tech to have success, but I'm starting to lose faith.  Last night's game was a microcosm of what's wrong with Texas Tech in that Baylor simply had better athletes and better basketball players.  Texas Tech has talented basketball players, but the problem is that most of the rest of the Big 12 has better and more talented basketball players.  Mike Singletary is a good basketball player, but there's no way in hell he can compete athletically with a majority of the players he's matched up against.  He's either too small to guard true small forwards, too slow to guard shooting guards and he's not tall enough to finish inside and must rely on getting foul calls in order to be effective.  And this probably sounds like I'm picking on Singletary, but the truth is that you could say the same thing about every starter for Texas Tech versus every starter for Baylor (maybe sans Lomers). 

How about this one statistic:  Texas Tech 1 block; Baylor 11 blocks.

There may not be a statistic more indicative of athletic ability more so than blocks and it's incredibly evident that other than D`walyn Roberts, this team really lacks elite athleticism.

So back to Pat Knight and the crossroads that I'm at personally.  PK has certainly been better than last year.  He is improving as a coach, but the problem I have is that this team is flawed at the core and a team that has 4 junior and 1 senior starters may eventually struggle to make the NIT.  Fast forward to next year and you have to wonder if these same players who will be a year older, who will still have the same flaws to athletically match up with top tier opponents.  And then fast forward to two years from now and PK is replacing 7 players (there are 7 juniors on the current roster) and where is this program. 

I have no idea if the athletic department is at the same type of crossroads that I'm at, and I suppose that's the biggest question that we'll never know.  I don't know if its coincidence that this morning there's an article from FWST's Mike Jones about former UTEP, TAMU and Kentucky head coach Billy Gillispie and how he's changed his ways and ready to get back into coaching (he says he's no longer drinking at all).   I'd be incredibly nervous about hiring a guy like Gillispie, but I'm admittedly confused and concerned about where this program is headed and if it's even headed on the right path. 

Part of that confusion lies with the thought that PK offered a scholarship to Gulf Coast CC Paul Cooper, a 6-8/250 power forward who has hardly played for Gulf Coast and is shooting 36% and 5 points a game.  Thankfully, it appears that PK may be looking elsewhere as it appears that 6-8/225 forward Godwin Okonji will be taking a visit to Lubbock over the weekend, at least according to Okonji's's profile.  This is at the very least a step in the right direction in that PK cannot continue to stay committed to a player like Cooper that hasn't performed.  I have no idea if Cooper's been injured, but this looks like a bad situtation.  Okonji at the very least is a player that will have 4 years of eligibility compared with Cooper's 2 years.  Okonji is also playing on the best prep team in the nation, Las Vegas' Findlay and was recently featured in a Las Vegas Sun article.  Also while searching for stuff on Okonji, I found this feature about him on YouTube.

LAJ's Courtney Linehan writes this morning that it was the defensive lapses that cost Texas Tech the game last night.  Linehan's article really focuses not on the defense, or lack thereof, but on the blocking ability of Ekpe Udo:

"We don’t have anybody like that in practice unless I gave a guy a broom and had him block shots like that," Knight said. "We really don’t have anybody to simulate what he brings to the table."

Linehan also writes that PG John Roberson injured his ribs during a fall in the second half and is having trouble breathing.  Without Roberson against UT on Saturday, I'm not sure that Texas Tech has much of a chance.

Someone convince me that this program is going to be okay as currently constructed.

Miscellaneous:  Rush The Court checks in on the Big 12 . . .

Coaches' Poll:  The preseason Big 12 Coaches' poll was released yesterday and the Red Raiders are picked to finish last. LAJ's George Watson thinks that the coaches' rational is flawed:

For a team that truly believes it will be a regional team this season, this will do nothing but motivate them. I can see where the coaches might think this as they see only Chad Bettis returning from a pitching staff with a 6.31 ERA a year ago, but they obviously don’t know how Dan Spencer and his crew recruit. The pitching will be better this year, no doubt.

2010 Pre-Preseason Rankings: has incredibly early rankings for the Big 12, and figures that Texas Tech will finish 29th nationally, 3rd in the South and 4th overall:

Will Tommy Tuberville really make sure the offense rolls like it did under Mike Leach? That’s the plan meaning the early question mark will be at quarterback where Taylor Potts and fan-favorite Steven Sheffield will wage a fantastic offseason battle. There are more than enough veterans back on offense to be explosive, while the defense should be solid if a shutdown corner can emerge to replace Jamar Wall and the holes on the defensive front can be filled in right away. Getting Iowa State and Colorado from the North is a nice break, even if those games are on the road, while the Missouri battle is at home. The toughest road game is at Oklahoma, but the second-toughest road trip is at Colorado.

Tuberville, KWash and Damien to Have High Level Meeting . . . Hopefully:  The official site posted yesterday that head coach Tommy Tuberville will be in Midland on March 9th and in Lubbock on March 2nd.  This is tremendous and I'm encouraging public pressure from the rest of DTN to get get these two to go and detail a full report.  March 9th is also my birthday (as is Mike Leach's) and would be a great birthday gift, perhaps the best gift ever.

Glimpse Into Future:  LAJ's Karen Michael reported on a luncheon that Tuberville was at yesterday and if you've read the previous recruiting reviews, then you've probably already heard most of this, but I'm hoping that this quote alone produces a tremendous amount of controversy:

"We’ll put a lot of speed on the field," as well as a more aggressive defense, adding the team’s quarterbacks met with him soon after his arrival and asked Tech to run the ball a bit more to help protect them. "We’re going to be a little more balanced on offense."