by Joe Yeager for 24/7 Sports
- Slow starts are killing this Texas Tech team. It seems that every time the Red Raiders play an NCAA tournament-caliber team, they fall behind by a substantial margin early and rarely are able to fight their way all the way back and seal the deal. In Tech’s last game, an 11-point loss to West Virginia, the Red Raiders fell behind 13-5 three-and-a-half minutes into the game. Today, in a 67-61 loss to Kansas, Tech found themselves down 10-2 five minutes into the game. In the loss to the Mountaineers, the defense began the game a step slow. Against the Jayhawks, the offense was asleep at the switch. But no matter how you slice it, the Red Raiders had better hit the court running in their next two games against Oklahoma State and Texas or they will enter the makeup portion of their schedule on a four-game skid.
- I do not believe this Texas Tech team is a lock to make the NCAA tournament. Their resume does still look strong despite the loss to Kansas, but the Red Raiders will be the underdog at Oklahoma State and possibly against Texas, too. If they lose those two games, which is entirely possible if not probable, they will have been swept by West Virginia, Kansas and Oklahoma State, and will have lost their only game against Baylor. Tech’s curriculum vita will stand largely on the sweep of Oklahoma, the win over Texas, and the win over LSU. The Abilene Christian win certainly won’t hurt either.
But the Red Raiders will go into the makeup games with real pressure to win. And that portion of the schedule is almost a complete unknown. Will Tech make up two games or three? Who will the opponents be? The Red Raiders will beat Iowa State if that is one of the makeup games. They will lose to Baylor if the Bears are on the slate. As for TCU, and the two possible games against the Frogs, who knows? Tech might have an advantage, but only a slight one.
The bottom line is this: the Red Raiders are neither great nor very good, but merely good. And every year good teams wind up in the NIT. Texas Tech, believe it or not, still has work to do, and it will be hard labor.
- I would estimate that Kansas won 75 to 80 percent of 50/50 balls in this game. The Jayhawks were either the quicker team, the more alert team, or they wanted the win more than Tech did. Regardless, you’re going to have a hard time beating good teams when you lose that statistic as decisively as did the Red Raiders.
- From the beginning of this game to the end, the Jayhawks crashed the offensive glass very hard and it paid off to the tune of 11 offensive rebounds. KU cashed those in for a fairly modest 13 second chance points, but you also have to factor in the surplus energy the Red Raiders expended defending those extra possessions. Even more important, despite the fact that Kansas sent multiple guys to the boards on just about every missed shot, Texas Tech recorded only two fast break points. The Red Raiders did not make the Jayhawks pay for their commitment to the offensive glass.
- I don’t believe Chris Beard can afford to play Tyreek Smith and Micah Peavy simultaneously very much at all. On the offensive end, both of those guys like to hang out on the perimeter, yet defenders totally disregard them as perimeter threats, which allows them to clog the paint and help out on Tech’s three other players. Together, they constitute too much of an offensive liability.
- Jamarius Burton committed two careless turnovers consecutively in the first half, one of which undoubtedly cost the Red Raiders two points. In my opinion, Clarence Nadolny is the better option right now. He occasionally commits a turnover, too, but at least he brings quickness, energy and effort to the court. Burton is more skilled, but it doesn’t really show in the form of productivity.
- Kyler Edwards gave Texas Tech two points and two rebounds in 31 minutes of action. I think that speaks for itself.
- Kansas killed the Red Raiders on back-cuts, especially in the second half. The Jayhawks were hardly great offensively, but, in general, they executed better against Tech’s defense than the Red Raiders did against KU’s defense.
- Kevin McCullar didn’t play a great game, but he played smart and hard. I also liked Peavy’s game, and Marcus Santos-Silva did some good things as well. But you’ve got to have more people than that step up if you’re going to be competitive in the Big 12.
- This team looked extremely unhappy at the conclusion of the game. More than usual after a loss. In a way that’s good. You don’t want players who aren’t bothered by losses. But my basketball radar tells me something else—what, I cannot say—may be going on here. Perhaps it’s time for one of those “players-only” team meetings.