Date: Wednesday, December 10th
Time: 8:00 pm
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-1, 0-0)
Bad Guys: Fresno State Bulldogs (3-6, 0-0)
Location: United Supermarkets Arena | Lubbock, TX
TV/Stream: FSSW Plus / FCS Central
Radio/Stream: Broadcast Affiliates and TuneIn App
Talking Fresno State. The best wins that the Bulldogs have are a couple of wins against UC Irvine and Cal State Bakersfield, so this isn't the best team that Texas Tech has faced. I have this perception that Fresno State is this great team, but they've only been to the NCAA Tournament five appearances. Rodney Terry is the head coach and he was a long-time assistant with Texas and Rick Barnes before becoming the head coach at Fresno State a few years ago. Fresno State was somewhat middling his first two years, winning 11 and 13 games, but won 21 games last year and made the CBI tournament. This year, it hasn't been great for the Bulldogs and I think Texas Tech has some significant advantages, especially defensively that I don't think that Fresno State can overcome.
Three Keys to the Game:
1. Scouting the Bulldogs. Marvelle Harris (6-4/210) is the team's best player and most consistent player, capable of going off, like he did against Cal State Bakersfield, scoring 20 of his 29 points in the second half. Harris is averaging 16 points a game on 43% from the field, 6 rebounds and 3 and a half assists. He is the "do it all" guy for Fresno State and it will be interesting to see if Smith sticks Robert Turner or Randy Onwuasor on Harris as he's a bigger guard that might take advantage of Turner's size. Paul Watson (6-7/197) is an athletic small forward who is more comfortable outside rather than banging inside. Watson is struggling a bit offensively, which is supposed to be his forte, scoring only 11 points on 37% from the floor with 4 rebounds a game. Julien Lewis (6-4/195) is the off-guard, although I get the idea that Harris is the point guard despite his size, and Lewis is second on the team, scoring 13 points a game on 39% from the floor with 4 boards and 1 assist a game. Karachi Edo (6-9/226) is the biggest inside presence for the Bulldogs, and he's terrific from the floor, shooting 61% from the field, 11 points, but just 4 boards a game
2. Stats. The teams look pretty even here, but don't discount those offensive rebounding and free throw shooting rates of Texas Tech. Those are huge parts of the offense and why Texas Tech is able to keep it's head above water.
Fresno State is pretty terrible on the offensive and defensive end, only 192 in KenPom's AdjO and 203rd in AdjD. Right now, the Bulldogs aren't doing much of anything good and the stats prove that out. Of course, Texas Tech has their own struggles, especially offensively. Texas Tech is 195th in AdjO and as you all know, at times it's been painful to watch. I think this is what happens with freshman playing so many minutes. But Smith has them playing some stellar defense, at least for Texas Tech standards, and is 85th in AdjD, which may be the highest that I can recall.
*AdjO and AdjD via KenPom.
3. Matching Up. Fresno State has a version of Norense Odiase in fellow freshman Terrell Carter II, a 6-8/265 pound forward, but Carter hasn't played a ton of minutes, which means that I definitely think that Texas Tech is going to have a nice advantage with Odiase matching up with Edo, who's been playing mostly the 5 spot for the Bulldogs. The strange thing is that when you look at Texas Tech's roster, Odiase is really the only offensive player that Texas Tech has where you can say that Texas Tech has a distinct advantage in terms of head-to-head play on offense. Turner is a threat to score, but he's just shooting 36% from the field and Onwuasor is playing 25 minutes, but shooting just 25% from the floor. They are just good enough to hit an occasional shot, but not offensive threats. There's no way to measure defensive success (at least not from what I've seen) of individual players, but that's why Onwuasor is in the game and he does play tenacious defense (shout-out Kyle). I think that Justin Gray could really try to dominate Watson, although Watson has better stats, I think this is a good test for Gray.
"They pose some problems with size, as well," Terry said of the Red Raiders. "They're a team that really wants to get the ball inside. They do a great job on the offensive glass. They put a lot of pressure on an interior defense, and I think their guards - (Devaugntah) Williams is one of the top 3-point shooters in the country, so he's a guy that can really shoot the basketball; (and Robert) Turner is a kid who is a dual threat, a guy that can score the basketball off the drive and shoot the basketball."
How about that? A hype video. Seriously, a hype video. Good work to Brian Holland and KAMC Sports!