Basketball

Texas Tech Hoops – Dissecting the Slow Starts

Like all of you that are cheering on our basketball team, I am taking a lot of pride in witnessing this team fight to remain undefeated while moving up the Top 25 polls. Most recently against Memphis, you always get the feeling that every time the Red Raiders fall behind in a match all you need to do is wait for us to spark some momentum and gain control of the game. It has happened every time we get into trouble or go cold on the offense end of the floor. Jarrett Culver has remained consistent in getting points, yet we have relied on scoring by committee as a group of different players on the roster have stepped up to help us in come from behind wins.

The reason you feel they way you do (IF you feel more relaxed than normal when we are losing) in the first half with our slow starts is because you are seeing a trend where Texas Tech turns on the afterburners in the second half and pulls away from the competition. We might not like the slow starts, but for purposes to make you feel better let’s look at some numbers…

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1st Half

  • Texas Tech is not very good in early scoring, in fact we are only ranked #163 at 34.3 ppg with our scoring in the 1st half
  • Texas Tech IS very good at early defending ranking #16 while only allowing 27.7 ppg by opponents in the 1st half
  • You might be worried about the low scoring (slow starts), it is not very comforting that we are only ranked #51 with an average margin of +6.6 points at the end of the 1st half

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2nd Half

  • The Red Raiders are sitting at #19 scoring 44.1 ppg in the 2nd half, which is very solid
  • Nobody does better than us, Texas Tech is ranked #1 in opponents scoring average against us in the 2nd half at 25.6 ppg
  • Here is the cherry on top, Texas Tech ranks #1 in outscoring our opponents by a whopping +18.6 points in the 2nd half

To help put that last stat in comparison to the best team in the country, Gonzaga ranks #2 in outscoring opponents in the 2nd half with +12.6 to our +18.6 points. Simply stated, we are by far the best 2nd half team in the NCAA. I did not dig up these stats to try and clam your worries about the slow starts, they can get highly irritating to me when I see us battling from behind until the last 10 minutes of the game. I mined the stats is to identify why we might be more acclimated to deal with the stress when trailing in games.

Seth brought up a good point in one of his post game write-ups. He asked how many games did Coach Beard have to rally the troops at halftime with another pep talk. I do think that Coach Beard is not pleased with the slow starts, just as you or I are not happy with watching our team trailing. We would like to see a consistent group go out and play a strong game out in front for the entire 40 minutes. Yet, remember that basketball is a game of momentum shifts and it is a nice feeling to know that Tech plays their best ball in the 2nd half.

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These stats will change as we play Duke, and other conference foes. We will have to adjust to stiffer competition, and not rely on the comeback to rally us to victory. The Red Raiders will not have the luxury to chip away if a team like Kansas gets out way in front. Surely this team will become more stable as the season goes on, but for now it is comforting to know we are the strongest and best 2nd half team in college basketball.

Let’s keep rising in the rankings and bringing home the victories. I’m liking this undefeated streak. Also, I’m crossing my fingers that we do not have any mental breakdowns in the next couple weeks. Now that we are getting up higher in the polls, I told you last week that we have a target on our back. It’s no time to have a letdown. Wreck ’em Tech!!!

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