Tech was without Magnum Rolle in their last two games. The Bulldogs lost both of those games and two of the biggest factors were being on the road and being without Rolle. Rolle is 6'11" and has very long arms. His athleticism allows him to change the game by blocking shots, rebounding, cleaning up around the basket, and disrupting passing lanes.
Rolle's presence also creates space for 6'10" Kenny Cooper to work inside. Cooper has the ability to overpower opponents down low and he seems to play better when his running mate is in the game.
Gibson continues to play like he did last year. He had one of his shoulders bandaged up, probably from having to carry his team for a year and a half. Jamel Guyton and David Jackson both hit big shots and have been key players on the team from day one.
Coach Rupp seems to be settling in to a rotation. Olu Ashaolu is starting to get comfortable on the court again. Ashaolu is very strong and can really do damage in the lane. He should really break out as we get into WAC play.
Point guard play was a big question mark going into the season. With Jamel White leaving the team, Coach Rupp was left with walkon James Loe as his only option. Yonas Berhe joined the team after the fall quarter. Berhe has started to really play well. He has good quickness and he can get in the lane easily. Berhe is able to finish at the basket, but he is better at getting the ball to his teammates when they are in position to score.
Loe has also played well recently. He only has three turnovers in his last two games. Loe seems to be in better control. Against TCU, He didn't force many bad shots or bad passes. If he can continue to play smart basketball, Loe will hold off Berhe for that starting point guard spot. Either way, Tech is much better off at the point guard spot than at the start of the season.
Preseason expectations had Tech looking at 20 or more wins before the loss of White and fellow guard J.C. Clark. Even after their departure, Tech fans were thinking of a winning season and postseason play. Those goals are still in reach, but the wins will be harder to come by in the WAC.
Point guard play, Ashaolu's development, and of course health will all factor in to the Bulldogs making a run in conference play. Tech has all the components of a good team, but they need Gibson, Rolle, and Guyton to stay on the court. The bench isn't quite deep enough to overcome the loss of a key player for very long.