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No. 24 Red Raiders face faltering Kennesaw State in a post-finals tune-up game

After a week off, the Red Raiders are back in action against a interesting Kennesaw State team

NCAA Basketball: Nevada at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

After a week off, the No. 24 Texas Tech Red Raiders face the Kennesaw State Fighting Owls on Wednesday night in Lubbock. The Owls (rated 310th on Kenpom.com), are 1-7 with their lone win against Division III Piedmont. The 7-1 Red Raiders last played last Tuesday in an overtime win over Nevada by a score of 82-76. It has been over a week since the Red Raiders have played a game and that is why I think that Coach Beard and the athletic department put this game on the schedule.

Hailing from the Atlantic Sun conference, the Owls will put a 9 man rotation on the floor. The Owls have been trying different lineups throughout the season as there are only 3 players that have started all 8 of their games. Their two best players both play the guard position. Sophomore guard James Scott is the Owls’ leading scorer averaging 16 points per game this season. He is the definition of a volume shooter as he is only shooting 37% from the field and has shot 132 shots through 8 games. For reference, Keenan Evans has 14 more points on the season than James Scott but has shot 37 fewer shots through the same amount of games.

Next is the feature point guard, Nick Masterson. Masterson leads the team with 35 minutes per game. He also is averaging points while also dishing out 3 assists per game. He and Tyler Hooker, who averages 10 points and 3 assists per game, will take the majority of the reps at point guard. Masterson is massive with a 6-6 frame helps him get to the basket. He also shoots 56% from three-point land and is the best shooter on the team. Jordan Jones leads the Owls in rebounds with 45 on the season. At 6-8, Jones will give the Red Raiders a challenge inside.

Offensively, look for the Owls to run a 3 out 2 in system with a lot of high low with Jones up top and 6-7 junior forward Kosta Jankovic running the low post and short corner. In this offense, The main guards (Masterson, Scott, and Hooker) pass the ball around the perimeter looking for screens and open lanes. While this is going to the high and low post move with the ball to look for shots. This offense works great against zone offenses by more people on one side. Against a man offense, Kennesaw State runs a motion offense similar to Tech. Masterson runs the point and as their most experienced guard, the entire offense runs through him. Jordan Jones is a very good at crashing the offensive glass from the high post. Below is a good sample of how the motion offense works.

The Red Raiders have an opportunity to get a tune-up win against a team that Texas Tech should win easily. Look for stars like Big 12 Player of the Week Keenan Evans and Zach Smith to get fewer minutes than usual and look for Chris Beard to use these last couple of non-conference games to try different lineups and use guys that normally don’t play together to see how chemistry is on the floor. I see Norense Odiase and Tommy Hamilton IV getting some time together as Coach Beard may try to use bigger line-ups to counter some of the front courts that the Red Raiders might face in Big 12 play. This should be an easy win for the Red Raiders Wednesday night in Lubbock. Prediction: Red Raiders 85 Owls 50.