The Red Raiders led for most of the game before letting the Bears take the lead late and ultimately losing 77-74 in Waco. It was a valiant effort on the road in their last regular season game, but it wasn't quite enough. Here are my 5 thoughts on the game.
1) Hope: My first thought coming out of this game is that the program has hope for next season. I love Zach Smith’s game. We haven’t had a rangy, athletic player like him in quite awhile. In fact I can’t think of another Tech player to compare him to, although I am sure there is one that I am not thinking of. I hope he puts on 20 pounds of muscle in the offseason. I think Evans is going to develop into a nice PG. He hit some outside shots and was fearless driving into the lane. If Williams can shoot like that on a regular basis and Odiase can start to develop a post game, we could climb out of the Big 12 cellar next season. I would like to think we could climb into the #6 or #7 spot, but let’s take baby steps.
2) Defensive Rotations: We get lost on defense way too much for my liking. Specifically we have a tough time in the transition game and pick and rolls. The lapses in transition defense are more understandable. They have a free flow to them that doesn’t allow for practicing every possible fast break scenario. It isn’t acceptable, just more understandable. The pick and roll defense really bothered me. It was frustrating to see us hedge the pick and roll only to watch our defenders get mixed up leaving the roller wide open. That happened more times then I care to remember. It was like reliving a nightmare every time down the court.
3) Scorers: So that is what a team looks like a scorer on your team? Williams couldn’t miss. He single handedly forced Baylor out of their zone defense. When he went out of the game, they went back to their zone. Pretty simple to see what a scorer can do for the entire offense. We still looked stagnant at times offensively, but there were more bright spots than usual tonight.
4) Leadership: I hope Gotcher can be the senior leader of this team next season. I don’t feel like we had a senior leader this season and a game like tonight needed a senior leader to help close it out. Turner was supposed to be that guy, but he just wasn’t very good this season. I was surprised to see him in at the end of the game tonight.
5) The Big 12 tourney: If the Red Raiders play like they have the past 2 games, there's a chance they could pull the upset in the first round of the tournament. I don't think there is any way they get past the second round. I predict the Jayhawks to win the whole thing.