Big 12 conference games start this week. We get the pleasure to host undefeated #13 Iowa State (12-0) on Saturday. They rank #1 nationally in assists and #3 in scoring. How do we stop the Cyclones offense if we want to pull off a huge upset in Lubbock?
Seth - Texas Tech will have their hands full and it's going to take a terrific defensive effort from Texas Tech to stop and slow down Iowa St. The Cyclones have been one of the more efficient scoring teams in the nation thus far this year, and as you stated, they are undefeated heading into Big 12 play. I think it will start with Crockett (as long as he covers him) slowing down Dustin Hogue, and Robert Turner and Randy Onwuasor will have to be terrific against one of the better ball distributors in the game, DeAndre Kane. Texas Tech should have a size advantage with Kravic scoring better of late and I'd love to see Texas Tech slow the game down a bit by getting to the free throw line.
kevinkinsler - Be unpredictable. Hoiberg and company have two versatile forwards in Georges Niang and Melvin Ejim who can create serious mismatches depending on who is guarding them. Constant switches from man defense to zone defense as well as a steady rotation of frontcourt substitutions will be important to clog the production of those two and keep us out of serious foul trouble. Other than that, focus on typical points of a good old-fashioned upset: lower the number of possessions by slowing the game down whenever you don’t have an easy basket and don’t get excited and out of position.
SARR - I don't think you really want to change too many things as Tech has had decent success thus far. One thing I like that Tubby does is switch up the defenses from man to zone based on the situation. I remember John Chaney doing that to a superior James Dickey led Tech team in the 90's and it worked to perfection. This is a perfect opportunity for Tubby to shine and if he can significantly out coach Hoiberg we might have a chance.
MikeTTU - There is no doubt that this team is good, as they haven't lost a game yet, and beat teams like then #7 Michigan and #22 Iowa. If I had to describe this team in one word, it would be "tricky". They make extra passes and even some that the opponent never see coming. Also, it doesn't help that they can make a shot from anywhere on the floor. The only way that I can see the Red Raiders pulling off an upset will be to out physical them. They're biggers guys are a little smaller than the ours, and if Tolbert, Crockett and Tapsoba can out muscle them on offense, then we will have success. The way I think Tech needs to play them on defense will have to be man, with Iowa States ability to quickly distribute the ball and find open holes in the defense. That means the players will have to be on their toes and ready for the whole game. This is not the same Iowa State team as last year, with many new players lighting it up, so that victory last year doesn't mean anything. It'll be difficult, but not impossible.
DanSwany - The Cyclones have five different players that have been awarded the Big 12 player of the week this season. Three players average 15+ points per game. DeAndre Kane, Georges Niang, and Melvin Ejim are beasts. They are scoring, rebounding, and assist machines. But, Iowa State has a weakness.
From watching this ISU squad I have seen their tendency to let opponents hang around for most of the game, especially in the first half. They then turn it up at the end of the game to get themselves out of tight spots. I think they really do have a great team this year, but this is a flaw that Tech needs to jump on.
I would like to see our Red Raiders hang around long enough and be prepared to battle against the Cyclones late runs by throwing in some full court pressure at the first sign of momentum for ISU. Also, I think that Tech is doing an excellent job defending teams when Tubby Smith throws in the zone defense. Doing those two things will help contain the ISU offense. If we can do that along with limiting our turnovers and making shots we should surprise people with how close this game might be in the final minutes. We cannot be cold with our shots from the floor Saturday or ISU will eat us up. Wreck ‘em Tech!