Texas Tech basketball is coming off a heartbreaking loss on the road to Texas. The good thought to take away from the loss is that we stepped up away from the United Spirit Arena in our first Big 12 road game and showed we are not going to be an automatic win when visiting our conference foes.
- Small Starting Lineup | Since last season I believed our lineup was strongest when Jaye Crockett and Jordan Tolbert played down in the paint together. Crockett has expanded his game to stretch beyond the arc, but he is still incredibly good at the 4 position. In the UT game Crockett and Tolbert started with 3 other guards. The matchup was fine because UT started Jonathan Holmes and Cameron Ridley, who are not necessarily tall forwards at 6’8’’ and 6’9’’. However, Holmes and Ridley are beefy and I’m certain that Crockett and Tolbert are the strongest guys on the team to give us the best chance to defend these types of opponents. There are a lot of teams in the Big 12 starting two shorter athletic forwards with three guards. I’m interested to see if we will continue to start with a shorter lineup in these games. Against Baylor tonight with some taller guys on their roster, I don’t think we will see the small starting line-up.
- Outside Shooting | Texas Tech ranks 9th in the Big 12 three point percentage category at 32%. We have had some horrible games from downtown this year, but the frustrating thing is when everyone is missing the target in the same game. Against Texas Dusty Hannahs was 2-6 and Robert Turner was 3-5. I can deal with those sorts of stats from our guards much better than the WVU game when Hannahs was 2-6 and Turner was 0-2. Toddrick Gotcher is streaky from the outside game-to-game as well. I am always bringing up the three-point shot in these 5 things post each week to keep everyone aware that we need to find out who will step up and be a consistent downtown threat every game. It brings me into the next subject I want to discuss…
- Final Shot of the Game | Robert Turner against LSU missed a 3 at the buzzer and we lost by 2 points. Dusty Hannahs against WVU missed a 3 pointer at the buzzer in regulation to win the game. Jaye Crockett against UT missed a 2 point mid-range jumper to take the lead with only a few seconds left on the clock. Many people are frustrated at the lack of running correct set plays on the last shots in close games; Seth pointed this out in his last post game write-up. I am frustrated that the guys that I would expect to make the tough last second shot to be the hero disappoint with their results. The only other players on the team that I would feel comfortable with for a final chance at the buzzer would be an inside shot by Tolbert around the rim, or a jumper by Gotcher. It’s a game of luck and chance sometimes, but when given the opportunity to make a game winning shot I would think one of those shots this season would have dropped in through the basket. Don’t misread what I am trying to portray, there are many factors that lost those games for us… not the last shot. If the guys got a second chance I am betting all three would nail those buzzer beaters.
- Keeping Confidence | Tubby Smith recently said, “I’m really concerned about where we are emotionally and psychologically. When you lose eight games it gets to be tough.” That is something I have a concern with as well. On the good side, we are not getting slaughtered in any of these Big 12 games. If anything we have played some more of the exciting games to watch in the conference so far. I hope that it’s not taking too much of a toll on our players and coaches getting down on themselves because we have ended up on the losing side at the end of games. The next few contests are going to be huge tests to see if we keep up our fight and keep staying competitive with the teams in our conference all season.
- Baylor Tonight | The Bears are ranked #12 in the country with a 14-2 record. Their only losses this season were to #2 Syracuse (17-0) and #8 Iowa State (14-2). The test to show that we haven’t lost our confidence is coming tonight. Forwards Cory Jefferson and Isaiah Austin are NBA talent that will give trouble to our frontcourt. Guards Kenny Chery and Brady Heslip are going to be raining threes on our backcourt. We really need to step up in this game and play tough against a powerful Baylor team. Deny the entry passes, and get in their face when they’re shooting from the outside. Limit our turnovers and getting some downtown scoring will keep us hanging around all game long. It’s really important that we don’t let them come into Lubbock and push us around. The player, fans, and coaches need to be pumped for this game tonight. Wreck 'em Tech!