Date: Monday, December 29th
Time: 7:00 pm
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (9-3, 0-0)
Bad Guys: North Texas Mean Green (6-5, 0-0)
Location: United Supermarkets Arena | Lubbock, TX
TV/Stream: FSSW Plus / FCS Central
Radio/Stream: Broadcast Affiliates and TuneIn App
Benford's Opportunity. Former Red Raider Tony Benford is the head coach at North Texas and he's not having the same success that his predacessor had, Johnny Jones, in that he's only 34-41 in three seasons and they just haven't had the success. Benford was thought of an option for Texas Tech before Texas Tech hired Tubby Smith because Benford had some nice success with Buzz Williams at Marquette. Benford started rough, going only 12-20 his first year and got to .500 last year, going 16-16. North Texas has a terrific win against Creighton of all things, so they are capable, but they did lose to Prairie View A&M by 3 before the break.
Three Keys to the Game:
1. Scouting the Mean Green. Jordan Williams (6-6/202) is the leading scorer and he's not the best shooter, only 40% from the field and 5 rebounds a game, but he is the only guy in double-figures. Colin Voss (6-7/240) doesn't average double-figures, but he does average about 7 points a game and 6 rebounds, so he is versitle. The other guy that almost averages in double-figures is Jeremy Combs (6-7/182) a ridiculously skinny small forward, but he can put the ball in the basket, 9 points a game, 58% from the field and over 6 rebounds a game. T.J. Taylor (6-3/215) is your point guard and he averages nearly 3 assists a game to just a shade over 2 turnovers a game.
2. Stats. Texas Tech has some good advantages here, especially at the line, but they have to get to the line in order to take advantage of said factor. You know, not throw up 20 three-point shots a game and actually get to the line.
North Texas is 248th overall in KenPom rankings and they struggle pretty mightily offensively, at 319th in AdjO and are similar to Texas Tech in that they are much better defensively, 104th in AdjD. Texas Tech slipped quite a bit after dropping the last two games and deservedly so (just to be clear, these rankings have zero personal influence, it's just a formula) and the Red Raiders fell to 217th in AdjO and dropped significantly on defense, to 102nd in AdjD. That's not good.
*AdjO and AdjD via KenPom.
3. Matching Up. After watching the Houston game I'm really disappointed how this team took the easy way out and so many three-point shots. These guys have to learn that opposing teams are going to give them those outside shots because Texas Tech hasn't shown a propensity to actually hit them on a regular basis. Hopefully over the break, the team really focused on banging the ball inside because that's where this team is going to find the most success. Voss can put a body on Norense Odiase, but he still needs to take half a dozen shots inside and when he's tired, then it needs to be Justin Jamison, who I think is this team's next best big-man offensively and if Jamison can't do it, then Isaiah Manderson should get a look. The offense will gel if this team gets the ball inside and gets to the line.