This was not an ideal week in Red Raider land. After having a second consecutive week ranked at 8, Tech was hoping to build off the ranking by notching two road victories against unranked opponents, however the exact opposite happened. Two bad losses to two bottom half teams in the conference is not what Coach Beard and fans envisioned this week, and the team’s performance was mediocre at best.
When it came time to think about who truly deserved to be the player of the week, I came to a pause. Both Zhaire Smith and Jarrett Culver played decent this week, but also contributed to two very disappointing losses. Maybe no one deserves the award this week. We did something similar to that during football season so maybe we should do that again, considering the play of the team. After these thoughts, I decided who better to decide than the Red Raider fans themselves and after some back and forth, it makes perfect sense as to who truly was the player of the week, or at the very least, the most valuable player.
We are having some trouble with our #PlayerOfTheWeek article this week, so I think it’s best we let our readers decide. Who deserves to get Player of the week this past week for their performance?— Viva the Contendors (@vivathematadors) January 22, 2018
After combining FB & Twitter votes we have a tie and this is ‘Merica we don’t do no stinking ties! Let’s go to sudden death 30 minute Twitter only overtime!— Viva the Contendors (@vivathematadors) January 22, 2018
Whoa whoa whoa wait a minute. Zach Smith didn’t even play, how could he possibly be player of the week?
Well Zach Smith might not have played but his impact was definitely felt. Tech’s interior was ate up for 80 full minutes this past week. Odiase tried the best he could but being the only big man on the court most of the time was a daunting task defensively. Texas big men scored a combined 27 points and 17 rebounds, while leading scorer Kerwin Roach found glory in the paint on numerous occasions.
Against Iowa State, there seemed to be more of the same thing even with Malik Ondigo playing big minutes. This time Tech big men were outscored 31-10 and out-rebounded 23-11. This difference is huge and why Zach Smith, who may not be having the best offensive season, was always the defensive leader for the team and a complete mismatch overall.
Coach Beard is going to have to find a way to supplement this as it seems as though Zach Smith’s career at Texas Tech might be over. So far, the combination of Zhaire Smith, Jarrett Culver, and Malik Ondigo has not been enough to counter the loss of Smith, but someone is going to have to step up for this team if they want this magical season to continue the way it should.
What did you think? Did the polls get it right? Who did you vote for? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.