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Texas Tech’s defense isn’t a secret

Why are opponents constantly caught off guard by Tech’s defense?

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

I am sure we all remember how confident Buffalo was before playing us, or how much the media discounted our chances to stop Gonzaga’s offense. In both cases, the facts demonstrated Texas Tech has the best defense in the nation, yet both times teams felt like they could easily exploit it.

Buffalo came in averaging 80 points a game, and had the 10th fastest tempo in the country. Their transition game was supposed to be too much for Tech to handle.

Gonzaga was the number one adjusted offense (88.8 Points per game!), and had two high NBA draft picks running the show. The sheer fire power was supposed to overwhelm Texas Tech.

In both games our opponents and the media believed there was some weakness no one else had found, some combination of speed and talent that was sure to break down the vaunted defense of Texas Tech. We all now know about the hurt Tech put on Buffalo, and the turnover-palooza against Gonzaga. How does everyone keep getting caught off guard?

The answer is that Texas Tech is so good defensively, it is quite literally unfathomable. Statistically, Texas Tech is the best defense of the KenPom era. Number one in defensive efficiency, and holding opponents to under .85 points per possession. But more than just stats, college basketball has never seen a defense so ferocious. Once the opening bell sounds, opponents learn real fast the difference between film and reality.

This is a defense that contests every shots; even shots they intentionally let you take to protect the middle. That’s why despite giving up an extremely high number of threes, opponents can never seem to find their stroke. It isn’t luck, Texas Tech gets in a shooters head and makes him press.

Tech doesn’t rebound the ball well? Well Tariq Owens can still block your shot in the paint, or the sheer swarm of defenders prevent you from scoring no matter how many extra possessions you win.

Oh you like the match-up a switch on a screen gives you? Drive into the paint, Chris Beard dares you. Not even Press Virginia at the height of its powers harassed opposing teams this much.

A result of this disconnect between what people see and what they can believe or accept is why Tech can’t seem to buy any media respect. Story after story praises Chris Beard and Tech, but only as a feel good story.

Every defense has a weakness, but Texas Tech’s defense adjusts so well to multiple offensive schemes they seem impervious. The way to beat this defense is simple, make incredibly high difficulty shots. Easy enough, right? Hot hands win basketball games.

Once again we all have to read about another balanced offensive attack that can break through the Iron Curtain. I think we all know how how that story will end.