Basketball

Preview and Game Thread: TCU vs. Texas Tech

Your Red Raiders are at home for the final time of the 2018 season.

Game Info

Date: Saturday, March 3rd
Time: 3:00 pm
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (22-8, 10-7)
Bad Guys: TCU Horned Frogs (21-9, 9-8)
Location: United Supermarkets Arena | Lubbock, Texas
TV/Stream: ESPN2
Radio/Stream: 97.3 FM/104.3 FM/950 AM

Lineups

TEXAS TECH
THE STARTERS Pts / Reb
POINT GUARD Keenan Evans (6-3/190) 17.2 / 3.3*
SHOOTING GUARD Niem Stevenson (6-6/205) 7.3 / 3.0
SMALL FORWARD Justin Gray (6-6/210) 5.1 / 3.3
POWER FORWARD Zach Smith (6-8/220) 6.2 / 3.9
CENTER Tommy Hamilton IV (6-11/250) 5.8 / 3.3
THE BENCH Pts / Reb
SIXTH MAN: A Jarrett Culver (6-5/190) 11.7 / 4.5
SIXTH MAN: B Zhaire Smith (6-5/195) 11.4 / 4.7
SEVENTH MAN Brandone Francis (6-5/205) 5.6 / 2.1
EIGHTH MAN Davide Moretti (6-3/165) 3.5 / 1.3*
NINTH MAN Norense Odiase (6-9/245) 4.3 / 5.0
TENTH MAN Josh Webster (6-4/175) 0.3 / 0.7*
ELEVENTH MAN Malik Ondigo (6-10/210) 1.2 / 0.8
TCU
THE STARTERS Pts / Reb
POINT GUARD Alex Robinson (6-1/175) 9.5 / 6.0*
SHOOTING GUARD Desmond Bane (6-5/215) 12.8 / 4.1
SMALL FORWARD Kenrich Williams (6-7/210) 13.0 / 9.3
POWER FORWARD Kouat Noi (6-7/210) 10.6 / 4.1
CENTER Vladimir Brodziansky (6-1/230) 15.1 / 4.9
THE BENCH Pts / Reb
SIXTH MAN Shawn Olden (6-3/180) 2.3 / 0.8
SEVENTH MAN JD Miller (6-8/235) 8.3 / 4.0
EIGHTH MAN Ahmed Hamdy-Mohamed (6-9/235) 6.1 / 3.0

* Assists.

Starting 5

1. KenPom. KenPom has TCU as the 22nd best team in the nation, 7th in AdjO and 113th in AdjD. Texas Tech is hanging on to being a top ten team, 10th overall, 50th in AdjO and 3rd in AdjO.

2. Stats. Via RealGM, the Horned Frogs are a much better shooting team, shooting eFG% of 58% compared to 53% for Texas Tech. Both teams grab offensive boards at about the same rate, 33% for Texas Tech vs. 34% for TCU. Texas Tech gets to the line at a higher rate, 28% for Texas Tech and 24% for TCU, while both teams turn the ball over at about the same rate, 16% for Texas Tech compared to 15% for TCU. Quite simply, the biggest distinction between these two teams is that TCU shoots the ball much better, but Texas Tech is a signifcantly better defensive team.

3. Scouting. TCU has won 4 in a row and the key for TCU at the end of the year has been that they’ve played 3 of those 4 at home, beating Oklahoma State, Baylor and Kansas State all at home, while getting a nice win against Iowa State in Ames.

This really doesn’t need to be about TCU though. It’s senior day and this team is nowhere close to being the team that it is without the five seniors, who have all contributed big-time to making this program a big-time program. And make no mistake, this is a big-time program. It’s not a blue blood yet, but teams do not like having to play Texas Tech and it hasn’t been that way in a long time. I’ve got all five seniors starting tonight, but I don’t know if they actually all will play. I’m hopeful that this is your starting five to start the game and I’m hoping that with 0:30 remaining, that these guys will all get pulled and the crowd can give them all a standing ovation.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t specifically call out Keenan, Zach and Justin, who from all accounts have been fantastic representatives of the program and been fantastic players on the court. Four years ago they bought into Texas Tech and they had no reason to do so because quite frankly, four years ago, Texas Tech was floundering and coming off of the Billy Gillispie era. But these guys believed and I cannot thank them enough for bringing respectability and passion to Texas Tech basketball. They stuck with it and they saw it through the end. That’s incredibly commendable and a credit to them. And really, I want to give a special thanks to Evans, who has been the driver of this ship for three years, a guy who has transformed himself into a player of the year candidate and I never would have thought that was possible four years ago.

I tip my hat to you five and thank you.

4. Reading Material.

  • A-J Media’s Carlos Silva, Jr.– Smith’s road to recovery one story of special, five-player Texas Tech senior class:

    “I was told that there was a chance that I wouldn’t be able come back,” said Smith, whose Tech squad comes into the contest 22-8 overall and 10-7 in Big 12 play. “But, I was pretty confident with the training staff that we have that there was a good chance that I would come back. I’m appreciative of all the work that they’ve put me through.”

    Much of the work included sitting in the training room, while undergoing various treatments administered by head athletic trainer Chris Williams. After that, Smith would find time to keep in basketball shape by working with head strength and conditioning coach John Reilly and his staff.

    “I was still able to maintain body workouts and stuff like that. A lot of rehab on my foot,” Smith said of what he did to return to the hardwood. “Just doing my best to get back out there on the court.”

  • FSWT’s Stefan Stevenson – Horrific night changed Alex Robinson and helped lead him back to TCU:

    The tragedy sent Robinson into a tailspin. He was clinically depressed and confused. He felt he should have done more to help save his friends even though there was nothing he could have done. He needed a change of scenery and he needed to be closer to his family and friends in Fort Worth.

    “He couldn’t do it down there. He couldn’t heal himself,” said Darla Robinson, Alex’s mother who played basketball at TCU in the early 1980s. “He needed to come home to heal. Everybody heals in different ways. It took me a while to get it.”

5. Official Site. The official site with the official preview discusses the crowd and the increased attendance:

“We are so appreciative of our crowds, and our increase in attendance this year,” Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard. “The biggest group of people that have made the biggest impact is our student body. On a personal note, I hope that everyone can come out Saturday and enjoy hopefully another good Big 12 game. We’re playing a great opponent. TCU has won their last four games. Then just to pay respect to these five seniors. They’ve done a lot for the program. I think the story is still unwritten, we’ll see what happens here in March. I know for Zach and the other guys, it’s their last home game, so we just invite everybody to come out and be a part of it.”

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