Where: Lubbock, Texas, United Supermarkets Arena
When: Wednesday, 8 p.m. (CT)
TV: FSSW Plus/FCS Central
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network
Notable: To date, Texas Tech has the fourth youngest starting lineup in D1 college basketball.
Quotable: “I think what Devaugntah [Williams] brings to our program is a level of maturity. He is an accurate shooter that knows he can make it when the game is on the line."—Tubby Smith
The Fresno State Bulldogs, picked to finish seventh in the Mountain West by sportswriters who cover the conference, have gotten off to a rough start but are showing halting signs of improvement. The Bulldogs began their season with a 15-point loss at Pepperdine, and later endured a five-game skid that included a 21-point loss at Northern Arizona and a six-point defeat to the Evansville Aces. However, their last three games show a respectable seven-point loss to California, and back-to-back wins over UC-Irvine (home of the late two-time All American, Kevin Magee) and CSU-Bakersfield.
Both the Bulldog roster and its coaching staff have strong Texas ties. Head coach Rodney Terry is a native of Angleton and was a long-time assistant for Rick Barnes at the University of Texas. Assistant coach Kenton Paulino played for the Longhorns and contributed to several of the best squads in school history, including the 2003 Final Four team led by T.J. Ford.
Second leading FS scorer Julien Lewis is a transfer from UT who played his high school ball in Galveston, while starting forward Karachi Edo was a teammate of current Red Raider Keenan Evans at Richardson Berkner.
Fresno State’s leading scorer and rebounder is guard Marvelle Harris who scores 16 and pulls down six per contest. He also leads the club in assists with almost 3.5 per game. Harris rarely leaves the floor, averaging over 36 minutes per outing.
The aforementioned Lewis averages 13 points and four rebounds per contest, but also has more than twice as many turnovers as assists. Forward Karachi leads the Bulldogs in blocked shots with 14, shoots 61 percent form the floor, and averages 11 points and four boards per night.
Fresno State shoots poorly from beyond the arc (28 percent), and has a bad assist to turnover ratio (78/108), but actually outrebounds their opponents by one carom per contest. The Bulldogs are a slow-starting team, getting outscored 33 to 28 in opening stanzas, but are much stronger in the second half, winning those sessions 36 to 33.
Devaugntah Williams, Robert Turner and Norense Odiase are Tech’s double-digit scorers, all averaging in the 11-12 points-per-game neighborhood. Freshman forward Zach Smith leads the Red Raiders in rebounding at seven per contest, and in shots blocked, with two swats per game.
Tech plays very good defense, but is allowing opponents to hit 36 percent of their 3-point attempts. The Red Raiders also shoot a pedestrian 65 percent from the charity stripe.
Tech, however, is a force on the glass, averaging six more rebounds per game than their opponents. The Red Raiders also average over six blocked shots per outing, which is 16th best in the nation.