Once again, myself and DanSwany discuss Texas Tech’s weekend in Tulsa, my trip to the city in Oklahoma, and a short first reaction preview to the Sweet Sixteen and what Tech needs to do this weekend to advance. Here we go:
Michael LaBarre: Wow! What a weekend that turned out to be. In an NCAA tournament full of blow outs, Texas Tech was on the right side of two of them. And even though you and Kyle Jacobson told me not to worry, for reason I still did. Either way, I’m happy to be moving on to our first consecutive Sweet Sixteen. You tell me, since you correctly predicted so much this year, can you read minds?
DanSwany: Ha, no I haven’t learned that trick yet. I have watched enough college basketball throughout the years to know how the tournament plays out. We lost key pieces to the roster after last season, but with Chris Beard you know he adds the right ones back in the correct places. Once you get comfortable making the Sweet 16, it gets easier every tourney trip. We played like a top 16 team all season, and we are one of the last 16 standing in March Madness. Tell us about your trip to Tulsa, how did that go?
LaBarre: The games were unbelievable. I was fortunate enough to sit close to the floor for both games since I only bought Texas Tech’s sessions. It was similar to the baseline seats you bought for the Round of 32 against Florida last year. Perhaps the games won’t be as memorable due to no jaw dropping plays and it didn’t come down to the wire, but it was fun cheering them on the whole time, basically knowing for the majority of both games that we were about to step on their necks. As far as other events go, it was alright, but Tulsa just isn’t quite for me. Had some good food though at the Dilly Diner, Elgin Park and a favorite of mine, Fox & Hound. What moments or players stuck out to you watching from home?
Swany: I’ve spent a lot of time in Tulsa. It’s better if you live there, it’s not really set up to be tourist friendly for a quick weekend trip. There are lots of good and bad from Tech basketball that I saw, let’s start with the good. Odiase is playing some of the best dang basketball of his career at Tech. He was a force and his inside presence in the paint helped us tremendously. The bad, that is Moretti not hitting any three pointers at all in the games played in Tulsa. It seems he is getting a lot of attention from opposing teams, and they are smothering him when he is on offense. Is this shooting slump going to follow him to California in the Sweet 16?
LaBarre: I sure hope not. Luckily, none of the games were close, but Moretti (along with Culver of course) have been our closers. Maybe teams have figured out a way to fluster him, but I hope he can knock down some key threes in Southern California. Tech will need them. Speaking of Odiase, I was so damn proud of him. I know I’ve been an advocate for him coming off the bench at times this year, but he played the best basketball he’s ever played. He was the most dominant player on the floor outside of the future lottery pick both games. And we’ll need him against Michigan and their athletic big men. They fight for rebounds and can explode to the basket, so we’ll need this Odiase to show up again. What early keys do you see to the Michigan games?
Swany: I’ve read up on Michigan and they supposedly have a tough time when they have turnover issues. This is perfect for us, because we thrive on our top ranked defensive unit to cause a boatload of turnovers. I’m going to have to study them more, and try to have a Q&A with one of the Wolverines basketball experts to gain more knowledge on them. Let’s hope Odi stays playing strong, and Moro finds his outside shot. You have any big plans for this upcoming game?
LaBarre: I’m probably going to get some Hub City Wings because dang Keith kept on talking about them and now I’m hooked on them. I’m going to watch it at a friends house and cheer hard for the Red Raiders. I originally had Tech losing in this round, but watching the tournament, Michigan doesn’t seem as good as I thought. Still a great team yes, but a saw a lot of ways we can exploit them. The key the whole weekend is Odiase matching up with all three team’s great big men, Moro hitting clutch shots, and, of course, Culver doing his best Kobe impression. What are your plans for the weekend?
Swany: Going to watch the game from my couch. I have Tulane classes starting at 8am on Friday morning, so nothing too exciting will be happening for me that night. Except if we win, I won’t sleep. This is the second consecutive Sweet 16 not just for Tech to make, but to have graduate school mess up my intentions of traveling to the games. This game will be an amazing matchup, and a lot of people think Tech has a real chance at making the Final Four. Including me! What do you think our chances are in getting out of California still alive?
LaBarre: I had Tech losing here in my bracket, but I’m feeling more and more confident. This is just a special group and I know they’ll be ready for whatever is thrown at them. We’ve got one of the best players in the nation and the best coach in the nation this year. I’m going to be incredibly nervous, but I’m ready! Are you pumped or what?
Swany: You know it, I can’t wait to cheer on our Red Raiders to another victory! I don’t want this college basketball season to ever stop. What the hell, let’s just go ahead and win the whole damn thing. Wreck ’em Tech!!!