The #6 ranked Longhorns (14-2, 2-0) take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders (10-7, 2-1) in Austin tonight at 8 PM CST. Texas is riding a solid six game winning streak and is undefeated in Big 12 play. Texas Tech has won two straight and four of their last five but have already dropped a Big 12 game at Texas A&M to open conference play. They also have some very bad out of conference losses (San Francisco and Louisiana Tech) that will make it difficult for the Red Raiders to make it back to the NCAAs.
This is Bobby Knight's fifth year in Lubbock. Tech has won 20 or more games in each of his first four seasons. But this year's squad is simply not as good as his recent teams. There is no Andre Emmett or Ronald Ross to carry the team. Tech is led by junior guard Jarrius Jackson (19 ppg, 4 rpg, 3 apg) and sophomore guard Martin Zeno (16.6 ppg and 5.4 rpg). Unfortunately for the Red Raiders, there is no third scorer. Either Jackson or Zeno has been the high scorer in every game but one this season. No other player averages in double figures. Unlike the Horns, Texas Tech is deep though. Nine players average more than ten minutes a game.
The Red Raiders are averaging 72.2 points per game and holding their opponents to 66.7 points per game. Tech is shooting an impressive 39% from behind the three point arc but they are only hitting about four threes per game. They are also only outrebounding their opponents by one board per game. Texas should once again control the boards on both ends against Tech.
Texas should have no trouble with the Red Raiders. They don't have the inside presence to stop Lamarcus Aldridge or PJ Tucker on the low blocks or the quickness to control Daniel Gibson, Kenton Paulino and AJ Abrams on the perimeter. Texas has been playing much better defense during this six game winning streak and there is nothing to indicate this will stop. Brad Buckman is listed as probable for the game after suffering another injury to his left ankle against Villanova. Look for Mike Williams to play more minutes as he attempts to return to the rotation from his own injury. Also, look for all three guards (Gibson, Paulino, and Abrams) to play together. The offense flows better with these three, Aldridge, and Tucker playing together. AJ plays the point which frees up Gibson and Paulino to attack from the wings or hit from beyond the arc and allows Tucker and Aldridge to control the paint.
Texas rolls again, 75-62.
Side Note: I love Bobby Knight. He is a brilliant basketball coach who demands excellence from everyone around him including from his players. His motion offense is a joy to watch. We all know about his tirades before, during, and after the games. We all know he was fired from Indiana because of his behavior. We all know about all the other unfortunate incidents. However, the man is an outstanding basketball coach. I measure the success of a coach on his ability to get everything possible out of a player. For the last 38 years, Coach Knight has been a pure basketball genius. From Bloomington to Lubbock, he has gotten more out of his players than any other coach in my opinion. He doesn't always have the top talent but is always able to compete. Coach Knight has over 800 wins and three national championships. His record speaks for itself. Head the Erwin Center tonight to catch a great game and a glimpse of a legend.