Basketball

Texas Tech Hoops – 8 Man Rotation

Guns way up Red Raiders, we are undefeated in Big 12 play through our early first 3 games! Watching the games against WVU, KSU, and OU we are starting to figure out the strategy that Coach Beard and staff will execute throughout conference play. From the zone switch to man-to-man on defense, to the adjusted motion offense. It is all coming together beautifully. If you enjoy the game of college basketball, and respect a grind it out defensive slug fest than you are going to love the rest of this Big 12 season.

There is no hiding that Texas Tech struggles on the offense end of the court for long stretches during the games. Also, it is obvious that our superb defense is the backbone of this successful squad. We can go into numbers and stats on the offensive and defensive side of the floor as we dive deeper into the season. Right now, I want us to focus on the personnel and minutes that Coach Beard is putting out on the court.

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Last season we started out Big 12 play with 3 straight wins using 11 different players in the rotation during those games. The same results to start our conference 3 game winning streak this season, and yet we have only used 8 players on the roster in the rotation. Let’s break it down –

  • WVU – 4 guys in foul trouble. Eventually Owens, Odiase and Edwards were sent to the bench by fouling out. Culver miraculously survived carrying 4 fouls. We observed a team laden with foul trouble, and only 8 guys saw minutes in this contest. Beard stuck to his guns and kept his 8 man rotation intact.
  • KSU – Same 8 man rotation with Culver, Moretti, Mooney, Owens, Odiase, Francis, Edwards and Corprew. Noted that Odiase only had 5 minutes in 1st half, 4 minutes in 2nd half. Moretti fouled out late in the game.
  • OU – No foul trouble all game. Same 8 man rotation, with every player having a lot of minutes on the floor.

A key factor with all these conference games is that they have been extremely tight contests that have come down to the final minute of play to decide the outcome. We have not allowed an opportunity to clear the bench and get some other guys looks while we had a cushy lead. Then again, I looked at the second Big 12 game of the season last year when we played KU and beat them in Lawrence. Coach Beard played 10 guys on the roster that game. This is where I really zoned in on our 8 man rotation so far this season.

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With the 8 man rotation that Chris Beard is putting on the court for our Red Raiders, only Odiase and Owens are true forwards. Corprew is listed as a forward while all the rest of the players getting minutes are listed as guards. The strategy of small ball is in full effect as a huge part of our program this season. Owens and Odiase get minutes together on the court though there are many stretches that both of our bigs are not out there together. I’m cool with that, because of the way we grind on defense. Coach Beard and staff know what they are doing, and it is working.

I am a little surprised that Ondigo has not broken into the rotation to give us some length on the floor when needed. He is still raw, but when Odiase and Owens get into foul trouble I was thinking he would see some minutes. That has not been the case. A heads-up to remember that Odiase is not playing at full health. Here is what we found out from Don before Big 12 play began –

If Odiase is sidelined by his injury at some point during this season, who is the next man up? Do we push Corprew into the starting lineup at the 4 and shove Owens to the 5? Are we going to insert a new face into the current rotation? These are some things to watch as we start being fatigued later in the year. You hope that everyone can stay healthy. The Big 12 road will not be an easy path, yet we are off to a great start. There will come a time that we will need one of our fellas that is not in the current 8 man rotation. I’m confident that Coach Beard and staff are encouraging the players that are riding the bench right now the same thing. To always be ready.

I told the STP staff last night that we had not beat UT in Austin since I was playing PG in 8th grade for my middle school team. I’m now 36 years old… let that sink in for a moment. Yeah, we need to get the monkey off our backs and get a victory down there in Austin. Cannot wait for the game against the Longhorns and to kick some ass. I’m gonna be ready to celebrate a very very long-awaited win. Wreck ’em Tech!!!

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