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TTU Hoops Roundtable | How does Texas Tech Finish the Season Strong?

Different thoughts and opinions from the VTM staff members on certain questions and topics about the Red Raiders basketball team. This week we discuss the recent struggles of the team, and how they can turn it around to end the season.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Spo

Our last 4 games have resulted in losses, and now we are going into Waco on Saturday against a really good Baylor team (won 4 of their last 5 games). Then we travel to Lawrence against the mighty Kansas Jayhawks, and finish in Lubbock against the nationally ranked Texas Longhorns.

Our Red Raiders have struggled in a number of different aspects on the court over these last few games. What do you think has been the problem over the last few games, and how do we turn it around to finish the season strong?

Seth - I don't think it's really just one thing, it's a culmination of maybe a lot of little things that tend to break down at the end of a game. The best basketball players can make plays and other teams have had many years to cultivate and accumulate that sort of ability and talent, while Smith is still trying to teach his guys how to win. There isn't just one guy that can put the team on his back for a lengthy period of time and that's been the biggest problem. It would be easy to be frustrated, but this team has already exceeded so many expectations. With Kansas, it was a loose ball that went the wrong way. With Kansas St. it was maybe a foul that shouldn't have been called. That's not necessarily coaching or the team, that's just basketball. At some point, the team is going to figure that out and they won't be a bad-luck team. At some point, when Smith has time, he'll have the time spent and the players and it will all come together.

I'd love to say that there's no doubt that this team will finish the season strong, but truthfully, with Baylor, Kansas and Texas, it's a tough road ahead, but this team has already accomplished so I just won't let myself get down about the last three games and I hope the team feels the same way.

SARR - They've had a few tough last second losses after squeezing out a few big wins prior to that. Those losses are getting in their head.

Tubby has shown an ability to shake things up and we need that now more than ever. The last thing I want to see in these next few games is a margin of one or two points with a minute left and Tubby slows it down.

It's time for the basketball team to #ATMO. Go get it.

MikeTTU - The problem over the last few games has been a combination of carelessness with the ball and guarding the ball. In the Iowa State game, their defense was slacking, allowing Iowa State to get down open shots. Against Kansas, similar situation with Kansas attempting open shots. The two games with OKST and KState, it was more of the inability to hold on to the ball and not allow turnovers. Red Raiders have gotten sloppy as of late and haven't been able to keep the ball and play the game they want. First off, Texas Tech needs to play harder to the ball. Not saying that they don't play ball, they've done it all season, but their speed to the ball isn't as fast as some games. If they can close out shooters and grab loose balls, that's a few extra possessions and less points for the opponents. Also, Robert Turner needs to stay out of foul trouble. Is seems Onwuasor's minutes have risen as of late, and that's because Turner is committing fouls early. When he's in the game, the offense runs better and the defensive pressure is better. He is the X-Faxtor for the squad. If we can do that, we could turn this around. One more win and they past my preseason prediction (13-18)

LSRR - It's not fun to get punched in the gut. If it's this unpleasant as a fan, imagine how our guys feel. They were two or three fluke plays away from getting wins against Kansas and Kansas State, but were ran out of the gym in Stillwater. Somehow, they have to get passed that, and passed all of the close losses. If I were Coach Smith, I would start creating scenarios in practice that mimic what we have seen at the end of these games. Give the guys a sense of urgency, and coach them through how to avoid mistakes when you're down by 2 with 16 seconds on the clock or when and when not to call a timeout. There has to be a way to keep us from losing games in the final seconds. It's becoming a trend.

DanSwany - The team had been on a nice win streak knocking off some ranked opponents and getting the tight losses to LSU, West Virginia, and Texas behind them. They looked as if they had gained confidence and put the heartbreakers in the past. They felt they could close-out games in the end and get wins. Then Kansas came to town in a classic battle that was completely unlucky for Tech to lose yet another heartbreaker.

I feel that ever since the Kansas loss we have been on a downhill slide. We go into Oklahoma State and they blow us up, then we have a meltdown in the last minute of the K-State game to lose. The players and coaches are frustrated, and it has shown in the way the games have been played. We are worn down from the constant grind of games this season. But, we do not need to play careless and tired for the last few games. We need to pump energy back into our system by looking forward to the Big 12 tournament.

How to finish the season strong? Baylor is going to be hard because they are on a roll, and they remember what we did to them in Lubbock. Who cares? Let’s go into Waco and push them around some more. Kansas is a top team in the country that experts are picking as a Final Four team. They only beat us by luck, let’s hold our heads high in Allen Fieldhouse and play as equals on their court. UT only beat us by a few points in the last 30 seconds; let’s demolish them in Lubbock to end our regular season. The key is playing with confidence and chemistry as a team. Put everything else behind us like we have done before.

After that… the Big 12 tournament can’t handle us, the Red Raiders will surprise everyone when we show up in Kansas City. Wreck ‘em Tech!