This week let’s pick one of my least favorite categories to discuss from the stats table below, TURNOVERS. But, let’s try to negotiate which is more important… turnovers or baskets?
For the past few seasons turnovers have be a thorn in the side of the Red Raiders. It is not something that can get better without practice or in-game experience, but before the Oklahoma game last Saturday Tech was starting to cut down on their sloppy gameplay. After the butt whipping at ISU early in February Texas Tech went on to play Kansas, Texas, and Baylor. For that 3 game stretch the Red Raiders did not have over 10 turnovers in any contest. Even though all the results were losses on the scoreboard, it was a positive stat going into the Oklahoma game. The team that ranked last in the Big 12 and near the bottom nationally in turnovers per game was all of a sudden playing quintessential basketball on the offensive possession side of things. The only problem was the ball wasn’t getting in the basket. So, I traveled out to Lubbock before we took on the Sooners with one of my objectives being to watch the offense in regards to ball-handling and passing. I told myself I didn’t care about the final outcome of the game (we all remember what happened last time we played OU).
During the game I couldn’t have been more disappointed in what I witnessed on the floor in terms of turnovers, but I also couldn’t have been more pleased with how we were getting the ball in the bucket. In the game we started 4 freshman (Manderson, Odiase, Smith, and Evans) with the experienced basketball veteran Gotcher. I should have expected the silly mistakes on offense that happened throughout the match, it was aggravating to see 22 turnovers in the game. Nevertheless, it was still one of the best performances shot-wise I had experienced all season while watching Tech play. When Gotcher made the 3-pointer off the kick-out on his missed free throw to tie the game I went insane and pushed MikeTTU with celebratory joy about 5 feet back in our row. Though only a few people showed up for the early morning game a huge roar erupted from the small group of loyal fans in the USA as we all went wild. It brought back strong memories of the better years in Red Raiders basketball.
Turner only had a handful of minutes in play because it is rumored that he was tardy to something that Tubby Smith had scheduled that week of the OU game. Luke Adams also got a handful of minutes, and Evans received the lion’s share of time running at point guard. Evans had 6 turnovers and 17 points with 4 assists. Manderson had 4 turnovers and 13 points with 8 rebounds. Gotcher had 3 turnovers and 18 points with 4 downtown buckets. I had a great time watching the team shoot 59% from the field and taking a nationally ranked top 25 team into overtime. Even with the sheepheaded mistakes and 22 turnovers on offense the team I watched put 75 points on the scoreboard against the Sooners looked far better then the team that had only 9 turnovers with only 41 points against the Longhorns.
I think the majority of Tech fans would want to as Seth would say “rip the band-aid off” and start all 4 healthy freshman for the rest of the year. If Justin Gray was healthy there could possibly be a debate about starting all 5 freshman on the roster. Also, I have thought from the beginning of the season that Gotcher should not be a glorified 6th man coming off the bench with his experience and skills. Keep him in the starting lineup for now. I’d like to know what others think… and I hope we have the same starting lineup in today versus TCU as we did against OU. If so, I think the Red Raiders have a nice fighting chance for a victory… Wreck ’em Tech!