Texas Tech is 3-1 and looking good. I’m excited for this upcoming week of games for the team. The Legends Classic Tournament will get more fun as it goes along! I’ve heard the chatter, and fans are enjoying watching our team play. That makes me happy.
Below are five things trending with the Red Raiders basketball team this week…
- Battle of the Boards | We were having trouble the last few games winning the battle down low in the paint to come away with more rebounds than our opponents. There can be many contributing factors that make a team lose out on getting rebounds, but most are excuses for poor execution to box out defenders. Against Alabama we were outrebounded 26-32, and against Texas Southern we lost the battle 34-37. Our top rebounders in those games were none other than Jaye Crockett (7 & 7) and Jordan Tolbert (7 & 5). This will not be a big deal against smaller teams, but when we get into conference play the team needs to have practiced on their positioning under the basket when a shot goes up into the air.
- Toddrick Gotcher as a Starter | For the first time this season Coach Smith toyed with the starting line-up. Against Texas Southern Gotcher got the start over Dusty Hannahs at the SG position. I liked the move a lot for a couple different reasons. Gotcher brings a different dynamic to the game that Hannahs doesn’t. He can do a little bit of everything both offensively and defensively which I like to start out with against teams. On the bench at the start we have Hannahs who is a great shooter, but not a whole lot more. I must admit though when he is hot from downtown and gets penetration to the hole it can really open up this offense. I like him bringing that into the game from the bench after the initial start. His 2nd half was wonderful and a main reason we won the game was his deadly shooting ability from the outside. I’m okay with Hannahs being the sharp-shooting sixth man on the squad.
- Closing-out the Game | It doesn’t apply to the Alabama game when they were whipping up on us, but it does in the Texas Southern match-up. In recent seasons we didn’t have a spectacular game plan when it came down to the last 5 minutes of the game with a close score. It was either hold the ball until the last second of the shot clock and shoot, or run with the other team and go bucket for bucket. I’m very proud of the coaching staff and players for not letting us throw the playbook to the ground and play schoolyard ball. It is usually more exciting to watch, but it is a roll of the dice and whichever team gets lucky shooting or has the ball last wins the game. Our new Texas Tech staff wasn’t going to let that happen, we ran our sets and kept playing our game to stay ahead and get the victory. This is a great quality to have on our side.
- Turner as our Star Point Guard | We are all thankful to have a guy like Robert Turner lead the team. I cannot get over what a talent he is and how much he brings to this squad. He is the floor general out on the court and we all appreciate him for stepping up to the challenge. The scary thing for me is watching when he goes on the bench. I’ve been desperately seeking out who can run the point when Turner needs a breather, or… (gulp)… worse has to go to the bench for an extended period of time for whatever reason it may be. There has been nobody step in at the PG role in any of these first 4 games that can run the team nearly as efficiently. Turner played 38 minutes against Alabama and 33 in the Texas Southern game. We are going to need this guy to play just about every minute of the games in the Big 12. I wonder if anyone will be able to fill his role at all this season as a dependable back-up?
- Legends Classic Tournament | A nice win over Texas Southern to open up tournament play was excellent. A win this Thursday in Lubbock for the 2nd game of the tourney against South Dakota State will get the team pumped. We then head to Brooklyn, New York for the showdown with Pitt on Monday night were we will get to see our guys march out into the spotlight of tournament basketball on ESPN2. It will have a different feel, and be a different electric atmosphere than we’ve seen Tech play in a long time. I can’t wait to see how the players react! Win or lose against Pitt it will be fun to watch. The last game in Brooklyn will be a winnable match-up against Stanford or Houston on Tuesday. Get prepared to watch some exciting Red Raiders basketball. Wreck 'em Tech!