After a bruising game in Baylor which lead to who knows how many heart attacks, we look to take it easy with a home matchup against what is expected to be one of the bottom two teams in the league. To get a sneak peek at what we can expect to see from the visiting squad, I reached out to Seth C over at Viva The Matadors, the SBNation site for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.
RCT: What did you think of Tubby Smith in his first year? The team finished 9th in the Big 12, but they did get a huge upset win over a ranked Baylor team. Is the fan base expecting a quick turnaround?
VTM: For those of us that are starved for competence, it was glorious. Like something we haven't seen in decade. I know that seems like a really minor deal to most, but for those of us that have stuck through the Pat Knight and Billy Gillispie fiascos, was great. And yes, the fan base realizes that a quick fix isn't going to happen overnight. As you all know, most folks that comment on blogs are very quick to cut any coach too much slack, but even though most of us know that this was going to be a rough year, they all seem to be enjoying the ride.
RCT: This is an incredibly young team. Which freshman has been the most impressive so far this year? The most disappointing?
VTM: The best has been Zach Smith, a slender power foward that plays the high post in Smith's offense and can guard most big forwards because of his long arms and jumping ability. And to try to figure out the most disappointing, well, they've all been really solid except for Justin Gray, but he's been battling tendinitis. And when he's healthy, he is very much a difference maker. The biggest surprise has been Norense Odiase, who I wasn't expecting very much at all, has started every game alongside Zach Smith and he really has a concept as to how to score around the rim.
RCT: This team has been more successful in the nonconference than was expected coming into the year. Who has been the key to the success they've had so far? Who needs to improve for the team to be successful moving into conference play?
VTM: The key has been the emergence of JUCO transfer Devaugntah Williams, who has added a real outside threat to the team. The guy that needs to improve significantly is Robert Turner, the senior point guard who has struggled offensively and seems to just lack direction, which is generally not good for a point guard.
RCT: Moving to the game at hand, which matchup scares you the most? Where do you think Texas Tech might have advantage (however slight) that they might be able to press to stay competitive in the game?
VTM: The small forward spot. Gray is really the team's only small forward, so if Gray can't go on Saturday, and there is a good chance that he cannot, then Texas Tech will have to start guard in Toddrick Gotcher or a power forward type like Aaron Ross or Alex Foster.
RCT: I think it's safe to say that the result of the game is pretty much a solid Kansas win. So in terms of a prediction, which media timeout do you think will be the last one that Tech holds the lead to double digits? Or do they make this a tight game throughout and drive Kansas fans absolutely insane?
VTM: With Texas Tech playing so many freshmen, I'm just not sure what to think and what to expect. This is really all brand new for us and with this being the biggest test thus far and it being Allen Fieldhouse, I just don't have a clue. Tubby Smith has them playing really tough defense so it could be close simply as a result of Texas Tech playing each offensive possession very close. Of course I expect Kansas to play terrific defense as well. If history is any indication, I don't expect this to be close on the road, but stranger things have happened.
RCT: BONUS - Sonic the Hedgehog or Link from The Legend of Zelda? Explain using any criteria you want.
VTM: You have totally chosen the wrong person to answer this question. My parents never let me have a video game console growing up. Not even an Atari. My parents gave me books. Lots of books. I know of both games but have played neither. I realize that this makes me incredibly lame.
And if I had to choose one, I guess I'll choose Link because I think there was a character named Link in the movie Encino Man and I have seen that.
So it looks like Link takes an early 2-0 lead. I'm sure this is no surprise to the rest of you, since you all said I was crazy for even comparing the two.
A special thanks to Seth for stopping by. Make sure to check out the questions that I answered for him as well.