Garbage In/Garbage Out: They say you get out of life what you put into it. Well, the Red Raiders, despite their myriad flaws and weaknesses, still expend tremendous effort on defense and consequently, get pretty good results on that end of the court.
One cannot say the same, however, about Tech's offense. And it's not simply a lack of talent. The reality is that the Red Raiders do not play as hard on offense as they do on defense.
To defeat the sort of smothering man-to-man defense Kansas State deploys, a team must run its sets with ferocity. The cuts must be sharp and purposeful, the picks rugged and well timed, and it all must be done at warp speed.
For whatever reason the Red Raiders run their sets with laxity rather than ferocity. Do they expend so much energy on defense that they have nothing left for the other end of the court? I don't know, but I do know that the effort is dramatically unequal. And so are the results
Promise at the Point? Kevin Wagner connected on only five of 16 shots and committed more turnovers than he dished assists, but still may have shown more promise than any other point guard candidate this season. And what Wagner brought in the loss to Kansas State was sheer quickness.
Although the freshman from Lubbock Estacado missed too many easy shots and turned the ball over too much, the fact is that the Wildcats could not keep him out of the paint. Wagner penetrated at will into the heart of the defense, and no other Tech guard has done that this season. Not DeShon Minnis. Not Javarez Willis. Not Ty Nurse. And not Luke Adams.
Wagner is obviously still raw, and his judgment must improve, but the makings of a good point guard are there. I think he earned another start against Missouri this weekend.
Lamo Intro: Billy Gillispie has many more important things to worry about than the music and highlight show that introduce his starters at home games, but they suck nonetheless.
Now I'm not down with the latest tunes, but I do know good—and appropriate music—when I hear it, and whatever Tech is using right now simply does not qualify. It's tuneless, noisy, staccato garbage that does nothing whatsoever to inspire and excite. The current highlight reel isn't much better.
Now the highlights Tech used for the non-conference games were much better, and failing the creation of an entirely new program, should replace the current heap of slag. And for next season, might I suggest the "chase scene" music from The Midnight Express by Giorgio Moroder?
Microwave Bean: Javarez Willis has been more or less a fixture in Billy Gillispie's starting lineup. I don't believe he belongs there. Willis is simply too turnover-prone and his shot too streaky. But streaky shooters can be very valuable coming off the bench.
The more geriatric among us will recall one Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson, a stellar sixth man for the Detroit Pistons in the 1980s. Johnson was not a great all-around player, but when he was on his game, was an unstoppable marksman off the bench.
Now Willis is obviously no Vinnie Johnson, but he could be similarly effective in a similar role.