Expert Analysis: Guards vs. Zombie Tech

"Roscoemaynard" offers up his comments on the exemplary play by the Stanford guards vs Texas Tech on Sunday night. Take a quick read into his thoughts on the Cardinal's outstanding game, along with the major struggles Texas Tech had at Maples Pavilion. Also, see a couple of notes on Stanford's upcoming games vs. Hartford, Arizona State, and Arizona.

Were those Red Raiders Sunday night in Maples Pavilion or zombies? And I am not talking about the elderly fans that sit behind press row. I am talking about the team that Texas Tech slogged out there last night. I don't really know how the whole zombie thing works because I don't play video games or watch b-movies (anymore), but if the Red Raiders weren't zombies last night and they were just "acting," then after our Texas Tech execution, look for zombies at the next Red Raider game. Rarely has an execution been so beautiful to watch.

I'll let someone else talk about how comprehensively we executed Texas Tech. I'll try to keep it to how comprehensively our guards executed the Red Raider guards. First up, turnovers. Our starting guards had TWO turnovers and nine assists, while Voskuil and Roberson combined for ten assists and only seven turnovers. In fairness, Voskuil's poor play wasn't in the turnover department, it was Roberson who brought the seven desserts to the party. Mitch Johnson soundly outplayed Roberson in every way. Mitch's team had leadership, focus, and relentless effort and Roberson's team were zombies. Mitch's defense was solid against a point guard with real penetration ability. What I particularly liked was Mitch's focus on forcing Roberson, a smallish guard, to his left where he was far less effective both finishing and passing. Many of Roberson's frequent turnovers were when he was going left, getting hung out to dry, and chucking cans to Landry, Mitch, and Lawrence. Mitch also made numerous great open court decisions pushing the ball off the dribble and through long upcourt feeds. Now, guys were wide open up the court because of the zombie thing, but I thought Mitch's comfort level with our new up-tempo program was clearly in evidence. The dimes were dropping.

As well as Mitch played in his 24 minutes, Anthony Goods was better. Only 6-14 from the floor for 21 points, Anthony locked down on Voskuil (a great shooter) on defense, and then turned around and obliterated Voskuil on the offensive end. Anthony, as Coach Dawkins stated on the post-game show with Dave and John, understands how to get "his" in a more comprehensive manner than just jacking j's. He attacked Voskuil's body off the dribble because he realized Voskuil simply couldn't move his feet well enough. Anthony put their best shooter in early foul trouble by generating contact off the dribble and forcing Tech to bring in less effective shooters and players. Anthony just imposed his will at the two guard spot, and then went and sat down and watched his backups do the same.

How do you know that your team is locked in? When the bench comes in and the blow out gets a lot worse fast. The "Lock-and-Load" dentist came in and played great, and then, like a good senior back up guard, yielded the floor to the freshmen that needed the minutes. And Jarrett Mann and Jeremy Green proceeded to go 6-12, get 14 points, ten rebounds, hit some threes and badly outplay their opponents. Mann showed more of what was already evident: his nose for the ball, by getting three offensive rebounds and sticking a couple of them back in the hole. Mann covers a lot of ground tracking down the ball. More importantly, Green and Mann both set the bench tone by playing great defense. Green could have easily had 15 points, but missed a couple of shots in the paint that we are already used to seeing him make. Da'Veed Dildy also played great minutes and got on the glass for three rebounds in six minutes. He seems more comfortable in his role and the game seems to be slowing down for him just as it is for Mann. This game showed us all that our bench can come in and lock down defensively in the backcourt, which is how blow outs turn into executions.

Finally, defensively Tech couldn't even get off three-pointers, which makes them hard to make. They only took eleven, made two. If I am Pat Knight, I have more questions than answers right now, but one of those questions is how did we lose by 200 and only take eleven threes. Yeesh! We get a lot credit for that. Great perimeter defense, led by Goods, but every guard locked up last night.

We can't overlook Hartford, but this team seems mentally focused. They look ready for conference play…really ready for conference play. And I think all of us are looking forward to conference play, wondering what we have when the stuff and things hit the fan. Well, James Harden is a pretty good fan. I am also curious to see how our opponents react to a team that appears to have grown so dramatically this pre-season and is capable of executing a solid major conference ball club in Maples.

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