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Cal State Bakersfield vs. Texas Tech | Game Preview

TEXAS TECH (5-5, 0-0)
Game Essentials
Date | December 27, 2011
Time | 7:00 pm
Location | Lubbock, TX
Radio | Affiliates

Texas Tech Starting 5
Ty Nurse (6-1/180) | 11.0 PPG | 1.2 AST
Javarez Willis (5-11/171) | 7.2 PPG | 2.7 AST
Toddrick Gotcher (6-3/190) | 8.3 PPG | 4.4 REB
Jordan Tolbert (6-7/210) | 14.0 PPG | 6.2 REB
Robert Lewandowski (6-10/256) | 7.2 PPG | 4.7 REB

CSU Bakersfield Starting 5
Issiah Grayson (5-11/165) | 11.9 PPG | 5.0 APG
Stephon Carter (6-3/180) | 8.7 PPG | 4.5 RPG
Tyrone White (6-7/185) | 9.3 PPG | 2.3 RPG
Donald Johnson (6-8/215) | 7.0 PPG | 4.0 RPG
Rashad Savage (6-6/220) | 5.3 PPG | 7.0 RPG


WHO PLAYS? | I've kept the starting five for Texas Tech the same for the past three games and I've been wrong the last two. Gotcher and Nurse are hurt and they haven't played the last two games, which meant that PG Luke Adams and PG Kevin Wagner, both are 5-9 or so, have started along with 5-11 PG Javarez Willis. That's an incredibly small lineup and at some point, Texas Tech is going to have to get some size into the starting lineup. Sometimes, I have a tough time figuring out if players are actually hurt or if Gillispie is teaching a lesson to a young player about playing hard and benching that player for a two game stretch. I don't think that Texas Tech has much of a chance to win 3 conference games without Gotcher and Nurse playing significant minutes and this will be the last game that I don't change the starting five to K-Wag (yep, I just called Wagner K-Wag) and Adams.

WHERE IS CROCKETT? | Jaye Crockett is supposed to be one of the leaders on this team. He was picked as one of the players to represent the team at the Big 12 Media Day, but he's been virtually missing for two of the the past three games. Against TCU, Crockett played 3 minutes, had 1 shot and that was about it. Against ORU, Crockett played 7 minutes, didn't attempt a shot or grab a rebound, but he did manage to have 1 assist and two turnovers. If Texas Tech has Gotcher and Nurse playing heavy minutes and Crockett shows up game-in and game-out then this team, I think has a chance to win 6 or 7 conference games, but these are all key players that aren't really playing. This team is not deep enough or strong enough to get by with Luke Adams playing heavy minutes, at least not right now. Adams is a great story and I think that he can eventually contribute heavily to this team, but right now, this team needs some veteran leadership and Crockett is either not providing it in practice or not exhibiting enough during his limited minutes during games. I don't know where this eventually ends. I think that Gillispie is stubborn enough not to play one of his best players for the entire year to prove a point and I think he's let everyone on the team know that their scholarship is good for this year and that's it and Gillispie won't be above cutting any one player.


WILLIS VS. GRAYSON | I should give credit to Willis, who has quietly been playing terrific man-on-man defense this year. He hasn't quite been the shooter that he was initially billed as, but he's been very consistent defensively and he's been one of the three constants in the starting five, which means that he's playing the right way in practice and Gillispie appreciates his effort during games. Willis should be locked up against CSBU's best player in Grayson and this will be interesting as Grayson is actually shooting 51.1% from the field and 53.3% from the three-point line.

LEWANDOWSKI VS. SAVAGE | Big Lew has quietly put together three solid games in a row, putting up 8 points and 9 boards against TCU, one of the bright spots, 16 points and 6 boards against Grambling St. and 10 points and 6 rebounds against Oral Roberts. That's really what I was somewhat expecting of Lew for his enior year and not the stat line of 6 points and 1 rebound, which is what he had against TAMU-CC. I don't know what it was and why he struggled early, I think that it may have had something to do with what Lew was being asked to do defensively, and guarding in the post, which created some foul problems for Lew, but he seems to have gotten over that a bit and I'm hopeful that this trend for Lew continues. Savage is an undersized power forward or center, and even if I'm wrong about Savage being the center, the tallest player in the starting lineup for CSBU is 6-7, so no matter what, Lew should have a heigh advantage, no matter who guards him.