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Double-T Nation Daily Diatribe :: 03.20.10

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Tuberville Takes Over:  SI.com's Cory McCartney writes about new head coach Tommy Tuberville taking over for Mike Leach.  This article has been written a handful of times already, but it's still worth your time, especially as spring practices start on Monday.  Here's an exceprt:

"I'm going to have to spend more time on the offensive side of the ball, giving my input and I needed somebody to come in, who knew my mentality that had worked for me and really understood what I think can work for us on defense," Tuberville said.

Defensive coordinator James Willis is well-versed in the SEC attitude Tuberville is looking to bring to the Big 12 South, having served as an assistant under both Will Muschamp and Gene Chizik at Auburn before spending last season as linebackers coach for Nick Saban at Alabama. He's installed a three-man front at Texas Tech to combat the spread offenses that are so prevalent on the Red Raiders' schedule. Defense was also Tuberville's priority in recruiting, as he signed eight linemen and six defensive backs, making up more than half of the class.

"Most teams run the spread in this league, they're going to throw it and we have to make that adjustment here," Tuberville said.

When the coach took to the practice field in Lubbock last week, he did so as a man reenergized. The year away from the sidelines wasn't spent away from the game; he worked as a studio analyst for ESPN, evaluated recruits and traveled across the country to the likes of Air Force, Georgia, Notre Dame and South Florida to observe other coaches' philosophies and reevaluate his own tendencies.

"There's a lot of ways to do things, there's not just one or two," Tuberville said. "When you're coaching sometimes you get ingrained in 'It's gotta be this way; I believe in this.'"

Game Tonight
Jacksonville Dolphins (20-12, 14-6)  vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (18-15, 4-12)
Time:  2:00 p.m.
Location: United Spirit Arena : Lubbock, TX
Television:  None
Open Game Day Thread:  1:00 p.m.

DTN Preview:  I feel somewhat silly doing a preview for a game that I'm not even going to be able to watch . . . even on ESPN 360.  I would truly appreciate someone writing a FanPost for someone that goes to the game.  The Dolphins are led by senior G Ben Smith (5-10/165; 19.8 PPG; 3.7 APG), who hit the game-winning shot against Arizona St. in the first round of the NIT.  He's only shooting 41% from the floor, so there's a chance that if he's not hitting his shots, that he continues to shoot Jacksonville out of the game.  I'd also think that Texas Tech can throw three different players to guard Smith, Roberson, Okorie and Tairu.  Jacksonville's other double-digit scorer is Lehmon Colbert (6-6/205; 12.0 PPG; 6.9 RPG) and this seems like a perfect matchup for SF Mike Singletary.  Colbert shoots 24% from 3-point range, which makes me think he's a similar inside player like Singletary, but probably with more athleticism.  Quite simply, this seems like a matchup where Texas Tech shouldn't be dominated. 

Jacksonville and Texas Tech are pretty even on the boards, but JU does average 3 more offensive rebounds a game.  If D`Walyn Roberts plays like he did the other night, I'm less worried about JU getting on the glass.  Texas Tech should win this game.  Jacksonville is obviously talented, especially considering they went to ASU and won, even though it was a last second shot.  It's never easy to win on the road. 

Smith's 3-Pointer:  LAJ's Courtney Linehan writes that the Red Raiders took note of Ben Smith's 3-point winning shot.  Here's PG John Roberson:

"That was a great shot, especially coming down at the buzzer to bank it," Tech point guard John Roberson said. "Everybody ran into the hallway as soon as they hit that shot."

"I thought the game was over," Roberson said. "There was like two minutes left and they were down by 12. I thought we’d be playing Arizona State."

Dolphins (does anyone else think this is a funny mascot?) Confident:  Morris News Service Jeff Elliott (probably a beat-writer for JU) writes that the Dolphins are supremely confident:

"The buzz around our program is extremely high right now," Warren said. "The support from the city and our fans has been nothing short than amazing. We want to keep this momentum going and see how far we can go.

"While the win over Arizona State was very nice. We’re not satisfied. We’re still working to get better and try to win this game and advance in the tournament."

Baby Steps:  LAJ's Courtney Linehan writes that Texas Tech's goal right now is to make the final four of the NIT and get to New York City.  Head coach Pat Knight thinks the team has a right frame of mind:

"How could our ego be big?" he said. "We got beat up pretty good for three weeks. These kids are just happy to keep on playing."

With the hope for a New York City trip planted in their minds, Knight said he will change his theme when addressing the team before today’s game. He wants the players to look at this as a senior night re-do, in which seniors Nick Okorie and Darko Cohadarevic can avenge the 86-68 loss to Baylor in their final guaranteed home game March 2.

Okorie and Cohadarevic have both played perhaps the best games of their Tech careers in the past weeks. Now they will get the chance to leave their home court with a win.

"I wouldn’t say we have more to play for," Okorie said, "but seeing as how this is our last couple games, we don’t want to lose."

No Television:  I should have addressed this above, but there's no television today. None.  Zero.  Zip.  Zilch.  From reading Courtney Linehan's blog post, it appears that it's ESPN who chooses who is on television, but I really have no idea.

Texas Tech (8-11, 0-1) vs. Texas A&M (14-3, 1-0)
Location: Olsen Field : College Station, TX
Radio: Affiliates
Date Start Time Texas Tech
Starting Pitcher
Texas A&M
Starting Pitcher
Result
3.19.10 6:35 p.m. John Neely
L, 0-1
Barrett Loux
W, 3-1
L: 3-6
3.20.10 2:05 p.m. Bobby Doran
0-1, 4.50
Ross Stripling
3-1, 4.57
-
3.21.10 1:05 p.m. TBA
-
TBA
-
-
Outfield:
LF - Michael Reed (Sr.); CF - Taylor Ashby (Sr.); RF - JaModrick McGruder (Fr.)
Infield:
SS - Joey Kenworthy (Sr.)     2ND - Garrett Totten (So.);
3RD - Justin Berry (So.)                                  1ST - Barrett Barnes (Fr.)
C - Jeremy Mayo (So.)
DH - Scott LeJeune (So.)

*Click on the score for boxscore. Texas Tech series preview (pdf).

The Game: Son of a son.  Starting pitcher John Neely (3.0 IP; 8 H; 4 R; 2 ER; 1 BB; 4 SO) couldn't get out of the 3rd inning, but the defense gave up 3 errors, so I'm at a loss right now.  The fact that a starting pitcher can't get out of the third inning (seems like this trend has happened for quite a while).   Still, 6 runs seems like an improvement from the last 2 weeks, but I think I'm being a tad bit pessimistic.  The offense was led by RF Jamodrick McGruder (1-3; 1 R) and SS Joey Kenworthy (1-4; 1 R; 2 RBI), but this was it.  Ugh x 2.

Recap:  LAJ's George Watson has the recap:

A throwing error by Tech shortstop Joey Kenworthy with two outs in the second loaded the bases, and Greene made the Red Raiders (8-11, 0-1) pay with a single through the left side to give A&M (14-3, 1-0) a three-run inning and a 3-2 lead it would not relinquish.

"I didn’t have a good grip on it, and with (Barrett Barnes), a great athlete you figure a guy like that over there can catch anything," Kenworthy said. "But it was a terrible throw and there’s no excuse for a senior shortstop to throw it away like that, especially in a Friday night conference game. I take full blame for that one."

Outside of that one inning, Tech pitchers did a good job against A&M bats, scattering 13 total hits. Joaquin Hinojosa’s two RBI singles accounted for A&M’s only other runs until pinch-hitter Brett Parsons’ RBI double in the sixth pushed the Aggie lead to 5-2. A two-out throwing error by catcher Jeremy Mayo on a wild pitch with two on in the seventh gave A&M its final unearned run and a 6-2 lead.