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Kicking the Tires: Texas Tech

After a bout with some sort of sickness yesterday, I'm feeling better and am finally getting back on track with my game previews.  For a good preview of both teams, and one that will contain a lot of the same information as this one only in prettier format, check out Double T Nation.

Opponent: Texas Tech Red Raiders
Record: 12-10 (3-5 Big 12 conference)
RPI (Pomeroy): 63
Offensive Efficiency: 105.3 (115th)
Defensive Efficiency: 91.1 (37th)

Leading Players

Martin Zeno: 16.0 ppg, 47.1 fg%
Alan Voskuil: 12.1 ppg, 49.1 fg%, 52.4 three-pt%

A few things about Tech.  First of all, they use a very long rotation, with 10 players averaging more than 12 minutes per game.  They also have 11 different players who have started a game this year.  So they won't be afraid to run a lot of players at us, which may be a concern given the injuries (Dominique Sutton), suspensions (Andre Gilbert) and family issues (Clent Stewart) that have depleted our depth.  Of course, we don't know at this point about those three guys above.  They may all play tonight, or none of them may play tonight.

One area where we really need to assert our advantage is on the boards.  Tech does not have a single player who averages more than five rebounds per game.  That's right, nobody grabs more than five boards per game for them.  Contrast that with K-State, which has one player (Michael Beasley) who averages double-figures rebounds per game, and another (Bill Walker) who averages nearly seven boards per.  K-State as a team averages 43 rebounds per game, to Tech's 30.  If we can limit Tech to one shot per possession and attack the offensive glass, we will have a huge advantage.

Tech will no doubt try to get Zeno and Voskuil free on the offensive end using its motion offense.  One piece of good news for the Cats: Zeno is not a good three-point shooter.  He averages only 15 percent on the year (3-for-19).  Whoever gets the assignment to defend him needs to back off a little and take away the drive.  We need to do exactly the opposite on Voskuil, who is a gunner from range and is almost as likely to take a three-pointer as a two-pointer.  Given that Tech really has no inside post presence, we can and should assign somebody (Blake Young, perhaps) to shadow Voskuil every step of the way.

On offense, the coaches and players have probably spent a good portion of the preparation time getting ready for a zone, as Pat Knight has shown some 3-2 looks in his first two games.  Let's hope we are more successful against these looks than we were in the second half at Missouri.

Along with the previously linked article, there's a lot of chatter about how some of K-State's players are relieved/disappointed they won't be facing The General tonight.  Let's hope they don't think it's going to be a cakewalk with Pat Knight at the helm, because Lubbock has not been a kind place to K-State.

I always try to throw in a humorous picture or YouTube at the end of these preview posts, but I can't really find a good Texas Tech basketball picture, so I'll go with the tried and true YouTube of Tech's football bellringer (ballringer?).  I always get a laugh out of this one.