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Texas Tech Hoops: Three Things You Need To Know

Only one game left until conference play begins. Here are three things to get you caught up on the team's performance thus far. It is starting to feel like Tubby Smith's team is ready to make a run at a post season birth.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Tech men begin conference play on January 2nd so it's time for a little review. The team is 9-1 and in the midst of an eight game winning streak. With an RPI ranking of 8 the team is in position to compete for post season play. Here are three things that should give Raider Nation some optimism.

Offensive Improvement

The improved offensive production may be the biggest surprise of the season. Tech is impressively averaging 78 ppg compared to 61 ppg last season. The improvement starts with Williams' 14 ppg and Toddrick Gotcher's hot hand around the perimeter. Of course, there will be no success in conference play if Tech relies solely on outside shooting. Fortunately, Coach Smith now has three big men in the rotation executing a nice high/low game.

Points Per Game:

Player PPG
Devaugntah Williams 14.2
Toddrick Gotcher 11.4
Zach Smith 10.4
Norense Odiase 8.9
Keenan Evans 8.8
Justin Gray 7.3
Aaron Ross 7.1
Devon Thomas 3.5
Matthew Temple 2.7
Jordan Jackson 1.4
C.J. Williamson 1.0
Donovan Ham 0.7
Andrew Sorrells 0.0

Defense

The team has shown they can effectively guard man to man or drop into zone depending on the situation. One of the more impressive defensive performances this season was against SDSU when Tech forced 20 turnovers that led to 23 points. Zach Smith leads the team in blocks per game (1.5) and defensive rebounds per game (6). Tech is holding teams to 63.9 ppg to go along with their 4 blocks and 5 steals per game.

The Bench

Having depth on a basketball team pays dividends all season. It is hard to believe, but the Red Raiders have 9 players averaging over 13 minutes per game. Granted some minutes will drop with more closely contested conference games. What will not drop are the minutes for Gray, Ross, and Temple. When any of these three come into the game the positive impact is felt. Ross and Temple provide help inside while Grey, with his 52% shooting percentage, can play forward or guard. Jordan Jackson and C.J. Williamson will be competing for that 10th spot. Could this team end up being 10 players deep? Most likely Tubby Smith rolls in to conference 9 deep and what a luxury that will be.

Minutes Per Game Breakdown:

Player MPG
Devaugntah Williams 29.4
Toddrick Gotcher 27.8
Zach Smith 29.6
Norense Odiase 19.7
Keenan Evans 25.3
Justin Gray 16.8
Aaron Ross 18.9
Devon Thomas 15.2
Matthew Temple 13.0
Jordan Jackson 6.1
C.J. Williamson 5.9
Donovan Ham 2.0
Andrew Sorrells 3.0