Date: Wednesday, December 17th
Time: 7:00 pm
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-1, 0-0)
Bad Guys: South Carolina State Bulldogs (3-7, 0-0)
Location: United Supermarkets Arena | Lubbock, TX
TV/Stream: FCS Central
Radio/Stream: Broadcast Affiliates and TuneIn App
Terrible Strength of Schedule. This is going to be an odd note heading into this game, but I wanted to take a second to point out the fact that although Texas Tech's record is absolutely stellar, don't read a ton into it because the strength of schedule is one of the worst in the country. Texas Tech's strength of schedule is somewhere near 275 in the nation.
The point isn't to bemoan the situation, but rather to make note that the sterling record is one that was I don't think that the intention of head coach Tubby Smith was to test this team with the best of the best in the nation, but he absolutely needed to know what these young freshman have in terms of ability without sending them off to be demoralized for game after game. The likely scenario is that the Big 12 conference will be a serious wake-up call for this team, but that's okay. Smith had to see what his team consisted of and who could play and who can't play and I think that's just fine in terms of scheduling this year. Next year, I think this has to change a bit and Texas Tech will need to step up who they play. Some of that will happen by just being in the Puerto Rico Classic next year where the field consists of Butler, Miami, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Missouri State, Temple and Utah. That's a pretty good slate of teams and I think that Smith really has the same idea here, which is build this team's confidence as much as possible this year and then start pushing his sophomores. 2015 is going to be a fantastic year.
Three Keys to the Game:
1. Scouting the Bulldogs. SCSU is led by Edward Stephens (6-2/175) a freshman guard who is averaging 10.5 points a game, but is shooting just 37% from the floor. Koran Wright (5-10/185) is the player that averages in double figures, but like Stephens, he shoots a pretty woeful 37% from the floor. There's not much of an inside presence for SCSU as Darryl Palmer (6-8/210) is the only guy inside that does much of anything and he averages just 6 points a game almost 5 rebounds.
2. Stats. Considering the stats, you can expect another free throw fest for Texas Tech and I’m surprised that the Red Raiders continue to go to the line. For an offense that struggles offensively, getting to the line is a huge for this offense and the disparity between Texas Tech and pretty much every opponent has been pretty wide. It would also not surprise me at all to see Texas Tech just dominate the boards as well as I think that Texas Tech has a significant advantage inside.
SCSU is pretty terrible offensively, ranking 343rd in AdjO and 275th in AdjD, which means that the Bulldogs struggle mightily to do much of anything. Texas Tech continues to be consistent with both of those metrics, and the offense continues to struggle as the Red Raiders are 187th in AdjO, but 65th in AdjD.
*AdjO and AdjD via KenPom.
3. Matching Up. There isn’t a spot that Texas Tech does not have a significant advantage. Norense Odiase is a huge target and he should have a huge day because I don't see anyone on SCSU's roster that can match up with him. This is normal for this portion of the preview. It's time that Robert Turner starts making some shots. He has struggled from the field for the entire season and he is shooting just 35% from the field and this has to improve for Texas Tech to have a decent chance at being competitive in the Big 12. The conference will be a different animal for this team and Turner doesn't have the defensive prowess that Randy Onwausor has.