I always hate going down to Lubbock. They rarely pull out big crowds, because that's just how they do it, but they always show up rarin' to go when Kansas waltzes in to town. Now, without Bobby Knight, and without even a halfway decent team, it won't be the same atmosphere. But if it gets close, and it gets late, there will surely be some noise. Not anything that we haven't dealt with, already, but noise is noise.
Plus, while the Red Raiders are lacking in the talent department, they do have some players. We'll get to them later (in 'The Players' section, naturally), but just know they have talent.
In all, this isn't a game I should be worried about. A game you should be worried about. It should be a W, and likely will. But, it isn't a gimme. Road games rarely are.
Win it, and we're your 2009 Big 12 Conference Champions. That is the biggest motivation of all. I want to win the Big 12 every single year, starting five years ago and lasting until, well, the end of college basketball. No, I'm not hyperbolizing.
So, let's just get it taken care of tonight. Then, set up Saturday afternoon as our chance to win the outright title, and to up our seeding.
Just win, baby.
Further previewing after the jump...
Texas Tech isn't that good this year. After a couple of years of mostly-goodness, with Bobby Knight at the helm, his son has yet to fare so well. They started out this season 5-0, and then only lost by 13 to Pittsburgh. But then, they lost to Lamar. They did beat Mississippi State and are hurting New Mexico's chances at getting into the NCAA Tournament by beating them, but they also lost to Stanford by 45 points. Yes, 45 points.
As long as we play halfway-OK, we shouldn't have too much trouble. They've played their last four home games pretty tough, including beating Baylor back on February 7th, so it shouldn't be a complete cakewalk. Basically, it should be like the Iowa State game, version 2.0.
Effective FG% (133rd) -- Pretty bad, but not absolutely terrible. I suppose. Just guard Voskuil and D'Walyn Roberts, and you should be fine. No one else on the team can really shoot, all that well.
- Turnover % (128th) -- Same as eFG%. They turn it over quite a bit, but they aren't freely offering the ball up, or anything. Everyone's prone to turn it over, although Voskuil does it the least.
- Offensive Rebounding % (303rd) -- This is somewhat surprising, as they do have some legitimate height on the team (namely 6'10" Robert Lewandowski). But, that height isn't developed enough or they aren't strong enough, or something, because they don't pick up any offensive boards. Just clean it up, and we shouldn't have too much trouble trying to take down their O.
- FTA/FGA (153rd) -- Ugh. Again, we've got a mostly-bad, but not-absolutely-terrible stat. They don't drive all that often, there isn't any Martin Zeno or anything, and like to take the three. Still, they have enough of a low-post presence (D'Walyn, particularly, along with Lewandowski) that they'll see some opportunities at the free throw line.
- The biggest key is their pace. They like playing fast, fast, fast, with their average of 72.7 possessions a game ranking 13th in the country. That number is inflated by their 120-possession game at the beginning of the year against East Central Oklahoma, but their average would still be quite high. I'm confident we can run with just about anyone, but we just can't get sped up and commit stupid mistakes. That could kill us.
Effective FG% (229th) -- Youch. Combining their poor D with our incredible shot-making abilities (and no, I'm not being sarcastic...all truth), we could shoot in the high 50's. They'll give us plenty of open shots (particularly open 3's; they rank 264th in the country in opposing 3-point FG%), so as long as we hit those, we win.
- Turnover % (307th) -- Good, a team that shouldn't torch us with the takeaways. We'll still turn it over, we'd turn it over against my little brother's 6th-grade team a couple of times, but it shouldn't be anything extravagant. Which is nice.
Offensive Rebounding % (180th) -- Compared to the rest of their defense, they are pretty solid at limiting second-chance points. We should still have plenty of opportunities, but picking up the defensive boards is clearly a point of emphasis (the only one?) on defense.
- FTA/FGA (271st) -- They aren't a good defensive team, so unsurprisingly, they foul a bunch. Nothing changed from our perspective, just hit your throws when given the opportunity.
- As I mentioned, they are particularly suceptible to giving up the three. Tyrel, Brady, Tyshawn: I'm looking at you three. You all hit your threes, no way we lose. If you are cold, they could make it interesting late.
Alan Voskuil (G) -- Their three-point specialist (44% on 178 attempts), he will almost assuredly be guarded by Brady. If he doesn't get going, their offense can't get going.
Mike Singletary (G) -- While Voskuil is the shooter, Singletary is the driver. Singletary doesn't have much of a shot at all, and just likes cutting into the lane. He's awesome at getting to the free throw line (he's a driver, remember) and is a pretty good defensive rebounder, too.
John Roberson (G) -- While Voskuil is the shooter, and Singletary is the driver, Roberson is mostly a mix of both. He prefers to hang out around the three-point arc, though, so keep an eye on him, too.
Nick Okorie (G) -- Okorie's clearlyt he worst of the bunch, as he can't really shoot the three (37%), and isn't as good of a driver as Singletary. Plus, he can't hit free throws all that consistently. Make him beat you, and you should be fine.
Robert Lewandowski (C) -- Really emerged near the beginning of conference play, Lewandowski (a Blue Valley product, IIRC) is simply a big body. He will likely be the guy assigned Cole Aldrich, so he'll have to stay out of foul trouble while dealing with a much more physical player on him. Doesn't have a whole hell lot of range.
D'Walyn Roberts (F) -- The real offensive presence on the inside for the Red Raiders. Morris twins, Mario, Quintrell, just don't let him blow up.
1) Make Wide-Open Shots -- They will give them to us, it's only up to us to knock them down. If that happens, consistently enough, we win. Guaranteed.
2) Don't let Voskuil Explode -- Brady will likely draw the assignment for much of the night, but when he's out Tyrel, or whoever, will have to step up. Dude has a quick trigger, and is scary accurate. But if he isn't shooting well, their offense really struggles.
That's all the keys, for now. Simple game, simple gameplan.
Just win, baby.