-After all the excitement entering the season, the Texas Tech Men’s Basketball team seems to be at a crossroads early on in the season.
Following two tough games against Nicholls State and Eastern Washington, the Red Raider faithful are wondering if this team can gel together in time for the conference slate.
Pop Isaacs was a star in both games, combining for 39 points and seeming to have unlimited range on that three-ball. He also totaled just three turnovers, so it’s good to see him starting to be more comfortable with the ball in his hands. Kevin Obanor also stepped up in both games as well, dominating from inside as well as at the free throw line. His aggressiveness in the paint has been huge for this team when they needed it most, and he will likely be the go-to guy when we need a bucket throughout the year.
Free throws were the key issue against Nicholls, with the team going a combined 29-46 for a miserable 63%. They hit the ones that they needed to down the stretch, but good teams make their opponents pay from the stripe. Against Eastern Washington, the Red Raiders improved by going 19-22 and 86.4%.
Turnovers were the other issue against Nicholls as we lost that battle 18-14, something that has been harped on since the season began. It was a collective effort, but D’Maurian Williams lead the way with 4 followed by Isaacs and De’Vion Harmon with 3.
That was another issue addressed in the following game against EWU, with Tech only committing 9 and forcing 21. Harmon was amazing in that department, forcing 6 himself and absolutely terrorizing the ball handlers.
There are two ways to look at these two recent performances. There could be plenty of concern with this team not being able to blow out or handle two far inferior opponents, or we can look at the landscape of college basketball and realize that a lot of the top teams in the nation are losing games like early in the season.
The amount of ranked teams being upset this early on is crazy to see. Gonzaga, who has finished with 5 or less losses every year since 16-17, already has three this season and don’t seem to be that dominant force like they usually are. The top of the college basketball rankings don’t look anything like they did to start, so coming away with wins regardless of who they’re against is huge for this team.
What could be cause for concern is Fardaws Aimaq entering the transfer portal today. After being sidelined with injury before the season began, he just recently was able to take off the hard cast. An important note: Texas Tech gives monetary awards out for athletes that have good grades, and reports are that they are only awarded that money if they remain at Tech the entire semester. Yesterday was the deadline as it was the end of the semester, so that could be the reason why we’re seeing this happen with quite a few athletes from the football team as well as Aimaq.
Regardless, it’s strange that he never played a game and still isn’t healthy but is deciding to transfer. I hope he finds success, but this is a fishy situation that seems as if he took advantage of the team that he himself chose to come to. Hopefully, there will be some light shed on this situation by reliable sources that can give our fanbase some answers.
Until that happens, we have to get behind the players that are still here 100% as conference play starts at the end of the month.