Poor Offensive Numbers Tell Somber Story

A look at Tech's offensive woes on the hardwood this season, preview of the matchup against Kansas, Big 12 power rankings and more.

That Texas Tech has problems on offense is patently obvious. For most of the season—certainly since the 46-44 win over Auburn—it has been clear that the Red Raiders struggle to find scoring. But if we take a closer look at some of Tech’s offensive statistics, the nature of the problem becomes clearer.

Flaw number one is shooting by the guards. Devaugntah Williams, Robert Turner, Toddrick Gotcher, Keenan Evans and Randy Onwuasor get the lion’s share of minutes among the gaurds. And not one of them shoots 40 percent or better from the field. Indeed, on average, they shoot 37 percent. That won’t feed the bulldog.

Second is free throw shooting by Tech’s bigs, Norense Odiase and Isaiah Manderson. It is the nature of big men to draw fouls because they usually get the ball in position to score. Defenses that are desperate to prevent points, hack big men when they’re putting up shots. Unfortunately, fouling Tech’s big men is actually a good strategy for the simple reason that they combine to shoot 48 percent from the free throw line. With shooting percentages such as that, one could understand reluctance by guards to feed the post.

Nationally, the Red Raiders are No. 308—out of 345 teams—in assist/turnover ratio. This stat is a good index of an offense’s overall effectiveness because it comprehends shooting, passing, screening, overall execution and ball security. And when you’re No. 308, you are in deep trouble.

The Skinny on the Kansas Jayhawks: Unsurprisingly, Kansas is atop the Big 12 standings with an 8-2 conference record. If the Jayhawks finish in that position, it will be their 11th straight Big 12 title. The Red Raiders could put a huge dent in KU’s title hopes with a victory Tuesday night, but it sure won’t be easy.

Kansas pasted Tech by 32 in Lawrence earlier in the year and have gone 6-2 since. Among those two losses was a 67-62 setback at the hands of Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Saturday. The Jawhawks will be itching to get back in the win column, but the fact that they lost so recently could offer the Red Raiders some hope. KU is excellent, but is not invincible.

Kansas bests their opponents in virtually every category, with turnovers being a notable exception. The Jayhawks are actually -1.2 in turnover margin, and it would certainly help Tech’s cause to win this stat and win it big in the USA.

KU is an extremely balanced team, with three players scoring in double figures. Perry Ellis and Frank Mason III each average 13 points per game, while Wayne Selden, Jr. averages 10 per outing. Brannen Greene, who connects on 52 percent of his 3-point attempts, is Kansas’ premier outside threat. (He also shoots 88 percent form the charity stripe.) Ellis pulls down seven boards per contest to lead the Jayhawks in that category, while Mason leads the club in assists and steals.

Where Is He Now? It was Robert Lewandowski’s misfortune to play for some of the worst teams in Texas Tech history. But even bad teams have a couple of good players and Lewandowski, who graduated in 2012 was just such a player. Indeed, he was good enough to play basketball professionally, which he currently does for the Wikana Start S.A. Lublin team in the Polish league. (With a name like Lewandowski he should be right at home in Poland.) As of this writing, Lewandowski averages 18 minutes per game, scoring an average of six points and pulling down four boards per contest. Unfortunately, Wikana Start is 5-14 and in last place in the league.

Big 12 Power Rankings:
1. Kansas (19-4, 8-2)
2. Iowa State (17-5, 7-3)
3. Baylor (18-5, 6-4)
4. Oklahoma (16-7, 7-4)
5. West Virginia (18-5, 6-4)
6. Oklahoma State (16-7, 6-5)
7. Texas (15-8, 4-6)
8. Kansas State (12-12, 5-6)
9. TCU (14-9, 1-9)
10. Texas Tech (12-12, 2-9)

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