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Preview: Loyola (MD) Greyhounds vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

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The Texas Tech Red Raiders tip off against the Loyola (MD) Greyhounds tonight at 8:00 pm. We have your preview of Texas Tech's first game of the year.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Spo

Game Details

Date: Friday, November 14th
Time: 8:00 pm
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders
Bad Guys: Loyola (Md.) Greyhounds
Location: United Supermarkets Arena | Lubbock, TX
TV/Stream: FSSW Plus / FCS Central
Radio/Stream: Broadcast Affiliates and TuneIn App

Two in a Row. On Wednesday, Texas Tech signed their 2015 recruiting class, SG Jordan Jackson and G C.J. Williamson, who will, most likely, be the entire 2015 class. We didn’t have the opportunity to hear from head coach Tubby Smith about both players, but Smith spoke on Wednesday and as you might expect, Smith is excited to have both players. One of the things that I think I’ve really overlooked is how good last year’s class actually was, there wasn’t any one individual player that was a star, but all seven were really solid. And now, Smith gets to build on that success with two more very solid players. Smith may not be hitting home runs . . . yet . . . but he’s hitting a ton of doubles into the gap:

Last season, Smith signed the best recruiting class for the Red Raiders in more than a decade, when he inked five freshmen and two junior college transfers. His class ranked No. 32 nationally according to The Hoop Scoop. It is the highest signed class at Texas Tech since Bob Knight notched Hoop Scoop’s No. 29 class in 2005.

"Getting kids like C.J. and Jordan from winning programs begets winning," added Smith. "They understand what it takes. Usually, players from winning programs have made the sacrifices that it takes to be successful. These types of players have also been well coached."

Here’s Smith on Williamson:

"C.J. is a mobile, agile and versatile player. He is a very heady and intelligent player that plays in a very competitive conference at a school like Orlando Evans (High School) that has a lot of tradition," said Smith. "He is a winner. We are very fortunate to be able to recruit a player of his talent level."

And Smith on Jackson:

"Jordan Jackson is another multi-faceted player that is quick and athletic." said Smith. "He can do a lot of things. He is a guy that can play the point (guard). He can play one, two or three. The fact that his mom and dad are from here, helped us in his recruiting. He is a guy that won’t be intimidated when he gets here. He has the ability to shoot the three, but the open court is where he is most effective."

And we all know that Jackson is the son of Sheryl Swoopes, a true Texas Tech legacy, and Jackson loves the fact that his mother is a legend, and there’s an excellent article from the Houston Chronicle about how Sheryl and Eric, Jordan’s father, asked Michael Jordan if they could name their child after Jordan, and he asked that the child be able to dunk and shoot, otherwise he’s taking his name back. So far, so good. Eric talked about what it was like to play being the son of a legend:

One of these days, perhaps, Jordan Jackson's name will appear in an article without the name Sheryl Swoopes included.

"I don't see that," Eric Jackson said. "But it's a blessing. To refer or compare to a great player is a good thing. We look at it as a compliment.

"You're talking about someone who is trying to achieve greatness, and you want to hang your hat high. If your mom happens to be the person that sets that bar, so much the better."

Projected Starters. Thanks to LAJ's Krista Pirtle, she talked with Smith about who he will project as starters for tonight's game:

"At this juncture, I'm looking at maybe Randy, Rob and maybe Justin Gray because he's really playing well. Zach Smith is playing extremely well. And Norense. We could have three freshmen in the lineup."

Pirtle also notes that G Robert Turner and G Devaughntah Williams have been battling a few injuries and F/C Justin Jamison has not played thus far (I've been wondering why) because of disciplinary issues and will miss a couple more games.  That's disappointing for me and I hope Jamison gets back on track real soon.  I think Texas Tech is going to need Jamison's presence.

Three Keys to the Game:

1. Scouting the Greyhounds: Loyola is picked to finish in the bottom half of the Patriot League this year and the Greyhounds were 11-19 last year, so they're struggling a bit. They do return eight players, mostly guards, who should help some. Jarred Jones is the returning scorer (6-7/188) and he averaged almost 9 points a game and 4.5 boards. Eric Laster (6-6/191) shot almost 40% from behind the three-point line and Tyler Hubbard was also very efficient behind the arc, where he made a bit over 45% from behidn the three point line. Texas Tech will need to make sure that they do a good job of covering the permimeter.

Inside, Franz Rassman is a good sized power forard (6-10/230) and he can score, or at least he did in the exhibition win last week, netting 12 points and 7 boards. Denzel Brito rounds out the guard rotation as he's a guy that's going to distribute the ball and not turn it over as much.

2. Let's Work on that Rotation: From both of MikeTTU's accounts, Texas Tech and Tubby Smith are very much integrating and working on a rotation, while getting a few guys back from injury and whatever else. Justin Gray had his first action last week and Alex Foster is working his way back as well. I think Texas Tech having a full compliment of players, including the mysterious and missing Justin Jamison, who has yet to play in either of the two exhibition games, that need to get on the court so Smith can work on his rotation.

3. Let's Hit Some Threes: As Dan has pointed out thus far in the exhibition games, the three guys that we're somewhat expecting to be a big part of the perimeter game have yet to make much, if any, three-point shots. That's Robert Turner, Toddrick Gotcher and DeVaghntah Williams. These guys, will have to be better and start dropping some shorts from the outside. This team has lacked multiple outside threats for what seems like a long time and in order for Texas Tech to help take some of the pressure off of the interior guys, Turner, Gotcher and Williams need to start making some of those shots.

Timeout with Tubby