The Danger Zone

Following the Red Raiders first true blowout loss of the season, Joe Yeager shows how the squad is entering dangerous waters.

The Danger Zone: Now is the time when a young team like the Texas Tech Red Raiders is in danger of going under. It is one thing to lose games. It is another to get blown out at home. It is one thing to scrap, claw and stay within striking distance for 40 minutes. It is another to simply not be competitive. Kansas demolished Tech in Lubbock and the Red Raiders didn't show a pulse for the final 30 minutes of the game.

 

Tech's season could now be poised on a knife's edge. If the players lose all confidence, lose their fighting spirit and become apathetic, these sorts of blowouts will be common the rest of the way.

 

The Red Raiders desperately need to play well in their next outing against Texas A&M. Another blowout could signal that this team is phoning it in because they've lost interest in the season. Fortunately, Billy Clyde Gillispie doesn't seem like the sort of coach who will let that happen. But we shall certainly see.

 

Waste of a Crowd: Attendance for the game was a modest 7,500 people, but what the crowd lacked in size it made up for in intensity. At least early on.

 

Some Tech students have begun trickling back into the Hub City—and the USA—and they made a difference last night. Had the Red Raiders been able to keep this game close down the stretch, the crowd just might have boosted them to an upset win.

 

Tech fans really want to be excited about basketball. All they need is a chance.

 

Disintegration: Rarely does one see a Big 12 offense taken apart as effectively as Kansas did Tech's. Despite jumping out to an early 8-2 lead, the signs were there that the Red Raiders wouldn't score much. Tech was simply getting nothing from its offensive sets. Outside of Javarez Bean taking it to the rack and a garbage basket here and there, the Red Raiders had nothing on the offensive end. The Jayhawks defense was very tough indeed.

 

Tolbert's Development: Possibly the most important key to preventing recurrences of the Kansas collapse is Jordan Tolbert diversifying his game. As expected, the talented freshman's offensive production has plummeted in Big 12 play. And the reason for this is that, good as he is, Tolbert is not good enough to routinely defeat veteran Big 12 post players on the inside, particularly when he faces a double team. These guys are too big, strong, talented and well coached.

 

For Tolbert to progress, he's got to become a factor in other ways. He must be able to face the basket and drive from 10 feet out. He must develop a credible 15-foot jump shot. And he must hammer the offensive glass and get putbacks. Camping out around the tin just isn't going to get it done anymore. And without Tolbert scoring, this group of Red Raiders is a bunch of dead ducks.

 

Crockett's Team: It may sound crazy considering Jaye Crockett shot two of 12 against the Jayhawks, but he is on the verge of taking over the Red Raiders. Crockett is not always efficient, but he is becoming very aggressive on the offensive end, is a solid rebounder, and most important, is a mature presence on a basically immature team.

 

The shots didn't fall against Kansas, but they will fall in the future, and when they do, Crockett is capable of averaging 14 points a game and becoming Tech's undisputed leader. If this happens, hopefully he will take Tolbert under his wing because the freshman needs some mentorship at this point in his career.


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