Red Raiders' ready to face the Big Twelve's best

The Texas Tech Red Raiders entered the season with numerous question marks, mostly due to the sheer number of new players on the team. The only real known entity on the team was he offensive ability of Andre Emmett, who hasn't disappointed this season. How did the Red Raiders turn that mix of uncertainty into one of the hottest teams in the Big Twelve?

The Red Raiders' early success was tied to its defense. Texas Tech started the season playing solid defense, something that has only improved throughout the season. The key to their defense has been the way they play as a unit. Often teams will have one or two great defensive players that hey try to use to mask deficiencies on the defensive end, but Texas Tech features a team that is full of competent defenders. While these players don't routinely make spectacular defensive plays, they do play smart defense. It's unusual for the Red Raiders o not have a player in whatever passing lane an opponent decides to use. The other key is the pressure on the ball. Opposing guards are forced o make passes with players in their face. This has a couple of benefits. It forces mistakes, and it creates a faster tempo, something that has provided benefits for the athletic Red Raiders. Most of all it's been about effort. The Red raiders play aggressive defense for forty minutes. This sustained intensity will help Texas Tech steal a few victories in conference eplay.

Defense is nothing new for Texas Tech. It's something they've excelled at since Bob Knight's first game. The biggest problem this team faced was finding an offensive identity. Last season the story was that Andre Emmett would score a bunch of points, but other teams would limit the rest of the team. It looked like this season might be the same story, but things have changed. Stronger play in the post has forced teams to draw their defenses in a bit. Players like Robert Tomaszek have been key on the offensive end. The flashes he showed last season are becoming much more consistent during this campaign. This in turn allowed the perimeter players to get better looks. Ronald Ross is one of the players that has benefited from the improved post play. Ross has scored in double digits in the last three games, and looks like he could become a player who compliments Andre Emmett on the offensive end.

The Red Raiders will face their biggest challenge yet when they host Oklahoma this coming Monday. The 11th ranked Sooners will play some of the best defense Texas Tech will face this season. The victory over Oklahoma State showed that Texas Tech has he offensive weapons to dominate teams, but will the Red Raiders have the same success against Oklahoma? Texas Tech can win the game, but the key will be consistent production from someone not named Andre Emmett. It is probably safe to assume that Emmett will get his points, but someone like Ross needs to force the Oklahoma defense to change their game plan. While the offense tries to find a mix that works, the defense will have to keep the game close. This defense is capable of shutting down he Oklahoma offense, which has shown signs of weakness recently.


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