Monday, January 09, 2006

What I Learned - Texas Tech (1)

Here is what I learned on Saturday against Tech.

(Brandon, Dustin, Bryan - If you learned something different please add or revise).

(If you guys that were able to watch on TV learned something else, please chime in.)

First things first - BG is a master at half-time adjustments/motivation.

This was truly a game of contrasting halves.

Tech could not miss in the first half (14-23) and A&M could not make (10-32). Many of A&M's buckets were point blank or wide-open jumpers, they just simply weren't falling. Quite a bit of Tech's early success was on Acie Law - he came out with his head so far up his rump, he couldn't guard anyone. He was getting killed on both ends of the floor. Jackson and Zeno were running circles around him and knocking down wide open, uncontested shots.

After trailing 18-4 at one point, Old Army was lucky to be down 9 at the half.

The second half was a different story as Law lead an amazing comeback that featured a 15-2 run out of the locker room to turn a 9 point deficit into a 4 point lead. A&M went 14-24 from the field in the second half while holding Tech to only 4 field goals over the final 20 minuets on 4 of 16 shooting.

Their suffocating defense was off the charts and it looks as if that may be the staple of this team's success. It ain't pretty, but man is it effective.

The biggest question mark on this team is clearly "Who else besides Law and Jones is going to score the basketball?".

In my opinion it is going to have to come from Kirk and/or Carter.

Josh Carter does nothing but impress me with his silky-smooth shot as a true freshman. Not only did he hit a crucial 3 right before the half that really turned the tide of this game, he goes on to shoot 5 of 10 for 13 points all the while committing zero turnovers and playing great defense.

Kirk was 0-5 before hitting three huge 3's, all in the second half, two of which were key in the middle of the big 15-2 run.

Through the first 11 games this year, Josh Carter was averaging just under 6 shots a game. This was amazing to me as he is your 3rd or 4th best scoring option and in my opinion needs to be getting 8 to 10+ shots up a game.

If he and Dominique Kirk combined are getting up 13+ shots a game and combining to average 20+ points a game, they are going to win a few more games in conference play than you may think.

The biggest problem is that there are still so many times down the floor where they don't ever look to shoot, it's very bizarre. My guess is that it must just be what specific plays or options they have called on the offensive end of the floor. Some of Kirk and Carter's success in the 2nd half was generated from Acie going to the lane and kicking it out.

Martellus? anyone, anyone? He didn't touch the floor in the 2nd half.

I was also none to pleased to see Chris Walker get the start. My regular starters would be Pompey and Jones inside with Law, Krik and Carter on the perimeter. Off the bench would be Kavaliauskas, Bennett, Smith, White, & Walker (as needed, in that order). Bennett may be in the starting lineup for Pompey by year's end depending on how many more minutes he can get.

I understand starting Walker against Tech because of Tech's size, but "Crazy Arms" Carter can effectively guard guys much bigger than his 6'5" frame.

The other crazy thing about Saturday was that Big Jo was basically a non-factor the entire game due to foul trouble (some calls were warranted, some not).

The bottom line is that this was a HUGE win with your best player on the bench nearly the whole game.

We'll find out more on Wednesday (7:00 ESPN2) when they head to Stillwater to take on the young, but athletic Cowboys. This may be one they can steal that I have had chalked up as an automatic "L" from the beginning. It all depends on what OSU team shows up to play (Wins over Tennessee, UNLV & Pepperdine or Losses to NW State, UAB and Missouri). They are also the same team that lost to Gonzaga on the road by an Adam Morrison 3 at the buzzer.

After Wednesday they are home for Oklahoma on Saturday (1:00 on ESPN2 again). I also had OU down as a "L" also, but they just lost to Nebraska in Lincoln and appear to be WAY overrated from their pre-season #6 rating.

If you can somehow find a way to go 2-1 out of those first 3 games, you will be sitting pretty before heading out on the road to K-Sate and Iowa State in back-to-back games.

That is all for now.

Carry on.



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