The past couple weeks have been bumpy for Texas Tech basketball. The 3 game losing skid was broken by a narrow home victory over Arkansas followed up by a knockout punch to TCU. We then had our tails kicked by Kansas on the road, and come back to Lubbock to absolutely demolish WVU. During this time we have seen our rankings in the polls and advanced stats fall. We are still considered a top 20 team in the nation, yet we are on the edge of finishing these last 8 games in the regular season to show how we are going to be seeded in the Big 12 tourney and NCAA tournament. It is important to finish strong and stay up in the rankings.
Big 12 play is a grind; and every team in this conference is a challenge. Our identity is on the defensive end of the court as we all know that we are the #1 squad in the country on the defensive efficiency ratings. And, we all also know that our offensive struggles can be the biggest factor that hinders our ability to win all of our games on the schedule. That’s why I wanted to look at our “Big Three” (Mooney, Moretti, and Culver) in the backcourt and check-out how they were doing from downtown during conference play –
22-49 (44.9%) from downtown is damn nice, as Moro has made a three pointer in every Big 12 game. He is in the top 5 three-point avg for the conference, and has a hot hand from the outside. I did not think I would be saying this at the beginning of the season, but our most consistent deep threat on the squad is Moro by a long shot. Moro has really broken out of his shell in his sophomore campaign, and we are seeing his confidence grow with each swish from beyond the arc.
7-30 (23.3%) in Big 12 games is extremely underwhelming from the expectations I had coming into conference play with Mooney. At South Dakota he would shoot the three-pointers in bulk during games. And, while I understand Chris Beard plays a much more disciplined motion offense with much less of a green-light from the outside… in around 35 games last season at SD, Mooney made a three point bucket in every game but 2 match-ups. So far in the Big 12, if you take out the exceptional performance against UT where he went 3-3 from downtown… he has only made 5 shots beyond the arc in 9 other conference games. I love what Mooney does everywhere else on the court; but if we want to get back up on top of the league he needs to get hot at the end of the season.
4-36 (11.1%) in his 10 conference games from beyond the arc… I won’t harp on how bad this is. Culver does so much for this team, and is NBA material. Yet, if we want to have a chance to go far in the Big 12 or NCAA tournament, our star player needs to be more of a threat from behind the three-point line. Culver has never been a great long-range sharpshooter, and has worked on his shot a lot to improve it. Though his slump from the outside, Culver has defenders zoning in on his ability to drive or get to the basket by allowing him room around the perimeter. Start making some treys and the sky is the limit for him.
Conclusion: Overall, Moro is having a hell of a Big 12 season from downtown… yet, Mooney and Culver are struggling to find their outside shot. I am pointing this out, because I think if Mooney & Culver both get hot from the three-point line come tourney time (or before the season ends) you will see a Red Raiders squad that can compete with any team in the country and have a considerable chance of winning each and every game. Let’s finish strong and light it up from the outside to finish out Big 12 play. Wreck ’em Tech!!!