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 gel.
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 foul.
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 end.
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.