Know Your Guns Up! Rival: Texas Tech

LEAVE YOUR TRIFECTA PICKS IN COMMENTS.

Mizzou is in the middle of what is their most winnable three-game stretch on the conference schedule.  The brutal early stretch has given way to the Oklahoma-Tech-@ISU corridor, and a good game from the Tigers will take them above .500 and put them squarely in the thick of the race for the 3-seed in the conference tournament.  Take care of business, and it's on to Ames at 20-6.

Texas Tech (11-14)


Tech
Opp.
Pace (No. of Possessions)
69.5
Points Per Minute
1.80 1.88
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.05 1.09
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.26 1.29
2-PT FG% 47.7% 48.9%
3-PT FG% 35.8% 36.7%
FT% 71.8% 70.5%
True Shooting % 53.9% 54.9%




Tech Opp.
Assists/Gm 13.3 11.9
Steals/Gm 5.8 6.8
Turnovers/Gm 13.6 14.1
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.40 1.33




Tech Opp.
Expected Off. Reb./Gm 12.5 12.6
Offensive Reb./Gm
11.2 12.8
Difference -1.3 +0.2

A Team of Tweeners

Mike Singletary is a small forward with a power forward's physique.  John Roberson is a shooting guard in a point guard's body.  Brad Reese is basically a lanky shooting guard.  D'walyn Roberts is a skinny shot blocker.  For better or worse, this is not your standard PG-SG-SF-PF-C team ... and while uniqueness is good in some ways, too much uniqueness probably isn't.  Identities get blurred on this team, and the lack of roles and leadership have cost them dearly.

Atrocious D

Tech gets by on offense.  They're not the most dynamic offensive team in the conference by all means, but as you see above, they shoot reasonably well and their ball control is solid.  Their rebounding ... well, it could be worse, anyway.  But their defense is bad.  Really, really bad.  Whatever gains they make shooting the ball, they give away with open shots on the other end.  And their ball control is not good enough to make up for both the shooting and the rebounding.  The Red Raiders just haven't figured things out defensively, and as we'll see below, they have some bad losses to show for it.

Ken Pomeroy Stats

Tech Offense vs MU Defense Ranks

TT Offense MU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 96 43 MU
Effective FG% 164 125 MU
Turnover % 103 15 MU
Off. Reb. % 209 278 Tech
FTA/FGA 178 229 Tech
MU Offense vs Tech Defense Ranks

MU Offense TT Defense Advantage
Efficiency 18 211 MU Big
Effective FG% 44 229 MU Big
Turnover % 9 192 MU Big
Off. Reb. % 154 294 MU Big
FTA/FGA 280 199 Tech

Where the Red Raiders are weakest:

Did I mention they were a terrible defensive team?  In none of the Four Factors categories above do they rank higher than 192nd.  They allow buckets of offensive rebounds, which possibly isn't that big a deal, since they allow a ton of open shots too, and there aren't many offensive rebounds to grab.  They don't force turnovers, they foul quite a bit, they foul the wrong people (247th in Def. FT%), they allow open 3-pointers (274th in Def. 3PT%), they allow open 2-pointers (212th in Def. 2PT%), they don't force turnovers, really don't register any steals (269th in Def. Steal%) ... really, I can only find one marginal positive on defense: they block a decent number of shots.  But apparently they're all going for blocked shots at all times; that's the only explanation for how five Big 12-caliber athletes can share the court and avoid doing anything good whatsoever on half the court.

Comparatively speaking, their offense has things figured out, but they do struggle inside the 3-point line (185th in Off. 2PT%), which isn't good considering they don't grab offensive rebounds with much regularity.

Oh yeah, and they are thin.  They rank 220th in Pomeroy's Bench Minutes measure.  And they're playing against Missouri.  At Mizzou Arena.  So there's that.

Where they are strongest:

Again, comparatively speaking, they've got a solid offense.  They don't turn the ball over to a high degree, they don't get shots blocked (32nd in Off. Block%), they shoot 3's reasonably well (95th in Off. 3PT%) ... they're not bad.  They're still one of the worst offenses in the Big 12, but they're not bad.

Also: they rank 20th in the country in Experience.  Which makes their complete and utter lack of defensive discipline all the more frustrating.

Results

  • Wins (Team Rank is from KenPom.com)
    No. 47 Nebraska, 72-71
    at No. 77 Iowa State, 83-92
    No. 82 Oklahoma State, 75-74 (OT)
    No. 141 Stephen F. Austin, 70-58
    No. 144 Oral Roberts, 86-82
    No. 194 Liberty, 79-71
    No. 215 UT-Arlington, 73-56
    No. 284 Delaware State, 79-60
    No. 318 Texas A&M-CC, 70-55
    No. 325 Georgia Southern, 103-79
  • Losses
    No. 2 Kansas, 66-88
    No. 4 Texas, 52-83
    at No. 4 Texas, 60-76
    at No. 12 Washington, 79-108
    vs No. 32 St. Mary's, 68-88
    No. 42 Texas A&M, 67-70
    No. 43 New Mexico, 60-61
    at No. 45 Kansas State, 60-94
    No. 50 Baylor, 59-71
    at No. 61 UTEP, 71-82
    vs No. 128 South Florida, 61-64
    at No. 129 Oklahoma, 74-83
    No. 169 TCU, 77-81
    at No. 183 North Texas, 83-92 (OT)

Like Oklahoma, Tech has shown signs of life at home.  (Not "beat Texas or Kansas" life, but life.)  Also like Oklahoma, they won at Hilton Coliseum, giving them one more road win than Missouri has so far.  But also like Oklahoma, they're playing at Mizzou Arena, so to whatever degree that Missouri has road troubles, it won't be a factor tonight.

Tech does appear to have improved recently.  They were rather egregiously bad in non-conference play, and they lost four in a row in the Big 12, but they did win three in a row a couple of weeks ago -- Nebraska, @Iowa State, Oklahoma State -- and they did hang tough recently against both Texas (in Austin) and Texas A&M.  They still aren't a great team, but they've at least improved to "They'll beat you if you don't play well" territory.  So, uh, play well, Mizzou.

Player Stats

Player AdjGS*/Gm GmSc/Min Line
Mike Singletary (6'6, 235, Sr.) 12.6 0.41 30.8 MPG, 13.2 PPG (49.1% 2PT, 12.1% 3PT, 72.4% FT), 5.9 RPG, 2.6 APG, 2.9 TOPG
John Roberson (5'11, 168, Sr.) 11.9 0.34 34.6 MPG, 13.4 PPG (33.6% 2PT, 41.1% 3PT, 81.6% FT), 4.1 APG, 1.9 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 2.8 TOPG
Brad Reese (6'6, 195, Sr.) 11.3 0.40 28.5 MPG, 11.7 PPG (41.1% 2PT, 44.1% 3PT, 75.0% FT), 4.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 2.1 TOPG
Robert Lewandoski (6'10, 256, Jr.) 10.0 0.41 24.5 MPG, 9.1 PPG (58.0% 2PT, 73.2% FT), 5.0 RPG, 1.2 TOPG
David Tairu (6'3, 177, Sr.) 8.5 0.35 24.4 MPG, 9.1 PPG (45.8% 2PT, 35.9% 3PT, 76.6% FT), 2.7 RPG
D'walyn Roberts (6'7, 200, Sr.) 7.9 0.33 23.7 MPG, 5.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 1.1 TOPG
Jaye Crockett (6'7, 200, RSFr.) 5.5 0.42 13.2 MPG, 5.0 PPG (51.1% 2PT, 33.3% 3PT, 65.7% FT), 3.0 RPG
Mike Davis (6'2, 200, So.) 3.8 0.32 12.1 MPG, 3.2 PPG (44.7% 2PT, 20.0% 3PT, 60.7% FT), 2.0 RPG, 1.2 APG
Javarez Willis (5'11, 171, Fr.) 2.8 0.19 14.3 MPG, 3.8 PPG (50.0% 2PT, 30.2% 3PT, 55.6% FT), 1.5 APG, 1.1 TOPG
Paul Cooper (6'8, 235, Jr.) 1.4 0.12 10.9 MPG, 2.4 PPG, 1.6 RPG

* AdjGS = a take-off of the Game Score metric (definition here) accepted by a lot of basketball stat nerds.  It redistributes a team's points based not only on points scored, but also by giving credit for assists, rebounds (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls.  It is a stat intended to determine who had the biggest overall impact on the game itself, instead of just how many balls a player put through a basket.

  • Highest Usage%: Singletary (25%), Reese (23%), Roberson (22%).
  • Highest Floor%: Lewandoski (47%), Roberts (43%), Crockett (42%).
  • Highest %Pass: Willis (63%), Davis (60%), Roberson (59%).
  • Highest %Shoot: Tairu (46%), Lewandoski (45%), Crockett (41%), Reese (41%), Roberts (41%).
  • Highest %Fouled: Singletary (16%), Tairu (14%), Crockett (13%).
  • Highest %TO: Roberts (10%), Reese (9%), Singletary (9%).
  • Mike Singletary is a senior now, and I still haven't figured him out.  He really does have a power forward skill set in a small forward body.  He plays on the perimeter a lot and is an amazing 4-for-33 from 3-point range this year ... but he keeps floating on the perimeter and negating the damage his wide body could do on the offensive glass.  To me, that screams "bad coaching," but I'm not a Texas Tech fan -- I'll let them make that call.  When he remembers his strengths, he can still be dangerous; he does, after all, still average 13 points and six rebounds per game.  It's just ... when he's on, you see potential much better than 13 & 6.
  • Stop John Roberson, stop Texas Tech.  Roberson and an out-of-nowhere Brad Reese combined for 45 points on 15-for-31 shooting in last year's overtime game in Lubbock, and I swear about 41 of those points came in the last two minutes of regulation.  Both players make over 40% of their 3-pointers, and both can shoot you out of the gym if you let them.  I actually like the thought of Mike Dixon and Phil Pressey going against a player their own size for once, but Roberson is quite dangerous and should not be underestimated.  (He's also capable of shooting 2-for-13, but ... that doesn't mean he's not dangerous.)
  • D'walyn Roberts would be a helluva player if he had about 25 more pounds on him.  As it is, he's a skinner Laurence Bowers (without the same party-starting abilities, of course) -- a solid offensive rebounder and decent shooter who just doesn't quite have the strength necessary to bang with Big 2 bigs.

Keys to the Game

  1. Roberson Versus Pressey/Dixon.  If Mike Singletary is Tech's leading scorer tonight, I'm confident in guessing Mizzou won the game.  He did average 24 PPG during Tech's three-game conference win streak earlier, but he does not have the quick-strike ability of Roberson.  When hot, Roberson is terrifying.  In the seven games before their weekend game against A&M (in which he went 2-for-8), he shot 28-for-52 from long range.  Tech's defense gave most of that away, of course (they went 3-4 in that stretch), but without him, they'd have gone 2-5 at best.  He has not been as consistent as we might have expected in his senior year, but I think this statement still applies: if Roberson doesn't go off, Tech doesn't win.  And if he does go off, then Mike Dixon and/or Phil Pressey need to match him.

  2. Hit the Glass.  Tech is not a good rebounding team, but Mizzou has lost focus against lesser rebounders from time to time.  If Tech beats Missouri on the glass, they will give themselves a chance.  Nothing slows down Mizzou's tempo more than one-and-done's, and nothing quiets down the Mizzou Arena crowd more than putbacks by the opponent.  Even if Tech is shooting pretty well, if they're not rebounding their misses, and if Mizzou is grabbing some second-chance points of their own, then Roberson or Singletary (or both) will have to score about 35 points to make up the difference.

  3. Show Up.  Missouri is, to put it bluntly, a better team than Texas Tech.  They shoot better, they defend better, they rebound better, they're much deeper, and they're in their home gym.  If Mizzou shows up ready to play and doesn't fall into a lapse like Texas did against Tech, they will win.  But as I said above, Tech is improving.  They are capable of knocking you off if you take them lightly.  Bring your A-game to the Arena tonight, and you'll be 6-5 in conference tomorrow morning.

Prediction

I think this one follows the same script as the recent Oklahoma and Colorado home games.  It's close for 8-10 minutes, but Mizzou's bench softens Tech up in the middle of the first half, then the starters go on a run late.  Mizzou's margin of victory depends on how much focus they maintain in the second half.  Tech is a fast-paced team, so expect a lot of possessions ... and a 91-68 Mizzou win.

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