A Diagnostic Tool: One
game against the likes of Arizona is worth more than playing the entire SWAC.
Yes, Arizona trounced the Red Raiders, as expected. And no, you wouldn’t want
to subject your team to repeated beatings in the non-conference when you must
turn around and play a full Big 12 slate, But several
games against elite competition tell you what’s wrong with your basketball
team. And you can’t fix problems if you don’t know they exist. Grambling
doesn’t expose problems; Arizona does. Chris Walker and his staff now have
useful information with which to work. I would expect to see some adjustments
for the next game against Northern Kentucky.
Primary Adjustment: When
the Red Raiders made their nice little run in the second half to trim Arizona’s
23-point lead to 15, they did so primarily with a lineup of Dejan
Kravic, Jaye Crockett, Daylen Robinson, Jamal Williams and Toddrick
Gotcher. I would like to see this group start against
Northern Kentucky, and I would like to see Chris Walker give it a chance to
Frankly, I am not a fan of Walker’s perpetual substitution rota. There is no way for players, let alone groups of
players, to find a rhythm when every dead ball produces a new lineup. These
young Red Raiders need to learn to play together and it’s hard to do when
they’re not allowed to play together.
Zone Out: Tech
didn’t play much zone against ‘Zona; they question is
why did they play any. The Wildcats were bombing Tech from three-point range
and killing the Red Raiders on the offensive glass. It, therefore, makes little
sense to go into a defense the dares the opposition to shoot from outside and
makes it difficult to rebound. Heck, at one point six-footer Daylen Robinson was playing on the back line of the zone.
Predictably, he surrendered an offensive rebound and was forced to commit a
Guard Report: Guards
are supposed to be Tech’s team strength, but they had a rough night against
Arizona. There was just too much penetration without purpose. All too often Josh Gray, Daylen Robinson and Trency
Jackson got into the paint but then couldn’t figure out what to do with the
rock. Turnovers were the result. And assists were rare.
Tech will not win too many games with their guards playing
one-on-one schoolyard ball. Jackson was particularly guilty of this. I love his
effort on defense, but he must learn to play within himself on the offensive
Steals the Key: We’re
only five games into the season, and it is obvious that defense catalyzes
Tech’s offense. More specificly, when the Red Raiders
are getting steals, they’re scoring points. When the steals don’t come, points
are hard to come by. Tech got it’s second half run
going by creating turnovers and pilfering the rock a few times. Thing is, the
Red Raiders got only seven steals against the Wildcats. Josh Gray got that many
all by himself against Jackson State.
You Can’t Do That…Is
the dumbest bit of heckling I’ve ever heard. A guy commits a foul and a few
bozos in the crowd bawl out “You can’t do that!” Ooooooh,
that really cuts ‘em to the quick. I don’t see how a
guy could even remain on the court after suffering such humiliation.