LEAVE YOUR TRIFECTA PICKS IN COMMENTS.
Consider it fortuitous scheduling. Before next week's killer combo of @Texas-Kansas, Mizzou gets a recovery game at home against the conference's worst team. They are really, really young and, for now at least, really, really bad.
Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-12)
|Pace (No. of Possessions)
|Points Per Minute
|Points Per Possession (PPP)
|Points Per Shot (PPS)
|True Shooting %||54.5%
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
|Expected Off. Rebounds/Gm||11.1
I have no idea if Billy Clyde Gillispie will succeed to any degree in Lubbock, but I do know that a) no coach in the country would be able to make much of his current squad, which is made up mostly of true freshmen and Pat Knight leftovers, and b) he can still coach a pretty good defense. Despite a lack of individual talent, they play decent team defense, especially in the halfcourt. Like OSU, they force reasonably poor shots and rebound pretty well. They don't force any turnovers, and they foul like crazy, but they still rank close to the Top 150 on the defensive side of the ball, as you'll see below. That isn't great, but compared to the offense, it's something around which Gillispie can build.
The offense, meanwhile, is truly awful. Freshman Jordan Tolbert is a genuinely solid talent, but he has almost no offensive talent surrounding him. Tech is undersized and inexperienced, and their second-best player (a freshman, like Tolbert) has missed most of the last two months to injury.
Ken Pomeroy Stats
|Tech Offense vs MU Defense Ranks
|TT Offense||MU Defense||Advantage|
|Off. Reb. %||312
|MU Offense vs Tech Defense Ranks
|MU Offense||TT Defense||Advantage|
|Off. Reb. %||122
Where the Red Raiders are weakest
Take your pick. They rank 338th (out of 345) in Off. Turnover%, which, to say the least, could be an issue at Missouri; they also rank 323rd in Off. Steal%, meaning that a high portion of their turnovers are of the "ball stays in play" variety. It is quite possible that Tech's halfcourt defense won't matter, as Mizzou could be running up and down in transition all afternoon.
Of course, it doesn't stop there. The Red Raiders don't hit the offensive glass very hard (or very well), and they are one of the least experienced teams in the country (325th). They really don't shoot the ball that poorly (175th in 2PT%, 100th in 3PT%), but a ton of possessions come and go without a shot, and if they miss, they probably aren't getting the rebound.
Oh yeah, and they don't really force turnovers either. They are aggressive, and they foul a ton (330th in Def. FTA/FGA), but with very little payoff (290th in Def. Steal%, 250th in Def. TO%). Gillispie is clearly attempting to institute a physical style of play, but he just doesn't have the pieces right now.
Where they are best
They play pretty good perimeter defense. They rank 66th in Def. 3PT% and a respectable 123rd in Def. 2PT%. They resemble Oklahoma State to an extent -- solid FG% defense, lots of youth and an annoying, tiny little point guard who shoots pretty well (5-foot-9 Luke Adams) -- but a) their defense isn't quite as good, b) none of their freshmen were very highly touted, and c) Adams doesn't play nearly as much, or as well, as Keiton Page.
They also rank in the Top 100 in Bench Minutes, though I'm not sure that's a good thing -- the bench has logged a ton of minutes because Gillispie hasn't been able to figure out a good starting five; of the 12 players who have played for Tech this season, 10 have started at least once.
Tech's Season to Date
- Wins Vs. Top 200 (Team Rank is from KenPom.com)
No. 179 North Texas, 69-64
No. 2 Kansas, 46-81
No. 9 Baylor, 60-73
No. 16 Kansas State, 47-69
No. 45 Iowa State, 52-76
at No. 61 Oral Roberts, 56-72
at No. 84 Oklahoma, 55-64
at No. 99 Oklahoma State, 59-67
at No. 123 Texas A&M, 54-67
vs. No. 159 Indiana State, 49-60
vs. No. 164 DePaul, 70-76
at No. 190 TCU, 69-75
vs. No. 203 Wake Forest, 61-70
The less said about this, the better. Tech has played seven games versus Top 100 teams. Average score: Opponent 72, Tech 54. Strangely enough, they have fared better on the road, but I doubt that matters tomorrow.
Tech Player Stats
|Jordan Tolbert (6'7, 210, Fr.)
||23.9 MPG, 12.8 PPG (57% 2PT, 71% FT), 6.4 RPG, 2.6 TOPG, 3.4 PFPG
Ty Nurse (6'1, 180, Jr.)
||29.3 MPG, 8.2 PPG (44% 2PT, 37% 3PT, 92% FT), 1.9 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.4 TOPG
Jaye Crockett (6'7, 200, So.)
||21.9 MPG, 7.4 PPG (46% 2PT, 33% 3PT, 70% FT), 5.1 RPG, 2.1 TOPG
|Javarez Willis (5'11, 171, So.)
||30.1 MPG, 8.5 PPG (46% 2PT, 32% 3PT, 87% FT), 2.4 RPG, 1.9 APG, 2.3 TOPG
Clark Lammert (6'8, 185, Fr.)
||10.1 MPG, 4.6 PPG (67% 2PT, 33% 3PT, 87% FT), 1.6 RPG
|Robert Lewandoski (6'10, 256, Sr.)
||26.1 MPG, 7.2 PPG (48% 2PT, 85% FT), 4.1 RPG, 1.4 APG, 2.6 TOPG, 3.6 PFPG
|Luke Adams (5'9, 150, Fr.)
||10.6 MPG, 3.5 PPG (44% 3PT, 75% FT), 1.0 APG, 1.1 TOPG
Jaron Nash (6'8, 180, So.)
||9.9 MPG, 3.6 PPG (56% 2PT, 28% FT), 1.6 RPG
Terran Petteway (6'6, 185, Fr.)
||13.3 MPG, 4.2 PPG (41% 2PT, 35% 3PT, 55% FT), 2.2 RPG, 1.5 TOPG
DeShon Minnis (6'3, 185, Fr.)
||16.7 MPG, 3.1 PPG (37% 2PT, 60% FT), 2.6 RPG, 1.6 APG, 2.2 TOPG
Kevin Wagner (5'8, 145, Fr.)
||12.9 MPG, 2.5 PPG (23% 2PT, 63% 3PT, 1.3 APG
|Toddrick Gotcher (6'3, 190, Fr.)
||29.9 MPG, 7.3 PPG (47% 2PT, 55% 3PT, 72% FT), 3.9 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.4 TOPG
* 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%: Tolbert 29%, Nash 24%, Petteway 24%, Crockett 22%
- Highest Floor%: Lammert 47%, Tolbert 41%, Nurse 38%, Crockett 36%
- Highest %Pass: Wagner 63%, Minnis 58%, Adams 57%, Nurse 50%
- Highest %Shoot: Nash 48%, Tolbert 46%, Lammert 39%, Crockett 35%
- Highest %Fouled: Lammert 35%, Nash 33%, Tolbert 23%, Crockett 15%
- Highest %T/O: Tolbert 15%, Lewandoski 14%, Minnis 14%, Nash 13%
- I listed Gotcher above, but he has missed most of two months with an ankle injury. I couldn't find anything that said he was definitely out for tomorrow's game, but I assume he is. It's a shame, however, as he was proving to be an interesting freshman.
- Tolbert is a Laurence Bowers-sized big who plays close to the rim. He is pesky on the glass -- he has pulled in 28 percent of Tech's offensive rebounds by himself. He gets to the line a ton, as well. Put 15 pounds on him in the offseason, and you've got yourself quite a player. (Of course, people could have said the same thing about Bowers, and he's done just fine at 210 or so.)
- The main problem for Tolbert: he fouls. A lot. It is difficult to average over three fouls per game, just because you will occasionally go through a game with zero or one. Tolbert averages 3.4, Robert Lewandoski 3.6. That's a problem, seeing as how they are the only two Tech players over 200 pounds.
- One of many problems for this offense: it doesn't really have a point guard. Ty Nurse and Javarez Willis will handle the ball most of the time, but neither averages even two assists per game, and they combine to average more turnovers per game than assists.
Keys to the Game
- Show Up. I hate saying that about a conference foe because it's a little mean, but ... this just isn't a very good team. Missouri has an opportunity to release some frustration from their trip to Stillwater, and they better take advantage of it. Tech offers some solid perimeter defense, but Mizzou should be attempting to run, run, run. Show up, play with intensity, win going away.
- From Way Downtown. Tech doesn't shoot many 3-pointers, which is a shame against Missouri, as most opponents have tended to make their 3's lately. If someone like Nurse or Adams gets hot from long range, Tech could hang around. But really, this will be an opportunity for Missouri to remember what putting the clamps down is like. It's been a while.
- Pound It Inside. As mentioned above, Tech has two big men, and both are incredibly foul-prone. Hammer it inside to Ratliffe early, and crash the offensive glass, and see if you can't get them both out of the game. Tolbert is by far their best player, and if he's sitting on the bench, Tech has almost no chance of pulling the upset.
Ken Pomeroy's projections say Mizzou 87, Tech 58, and that is quite feasible. We've seen how leads get inflated pretty quickly at Mizzou Arena. If Tech can stay out of foul trouble and play good defense, I could see this being more like a 15-18 point game, but instead I'll align with KenPom on this one.