I’ve delayed long enough, no matter how painful it is… let’s take a look at how our hoops team did in key statistical categories and rankings compared to the nation and our Big 12 counterparts.
Points per game – 60.9, #317 in nation, #10 in Big 12
We had trouble putting the ball in the hoop, that is a given. The way that Tubby Smith runs this offense is trying to swing the ball around the arc and get an open look or cut into the lane. The problem was that a lot of times our guards would get caught just passing the ball back a forth without a whole lot of motion from their teammates. It was hard to watch the offense sputter and stall when the shot clock started to run low on ticks. Hopefully next season things run a little more crisp on offense and we can avoid the desperation shots that have a very low percentage of getting in the basket.
Field goal percentage – 40.5%, #300 in nation, #10 in Big 12
This poor field goal percentage is in part due to the fact stated above. If we want to improve our FG%, then we need to find a way to feed our big men down low in the post. Norense Odiase and Isaiah Manderson both shot over 50% from the field, half the shots they throw up near the rim go in the bucket for a reason. Let’s find a way to get them the rock more often this upcoming season!
Three-pointer percentage – 32.2%, #263 in nation, #9 in Big 12
When our guards were dared to shoot the three it usually didn’t work to our advantage. That’s when opponents backed off and clogged the inside up and we started playing ring around the rosie with the ball. Devaugntah Williams and Toddrick Gotcher were the best Red Raider outside shooters on the court while in games, but they were still fairly inconsistent. Our squad is in desperate need of a legit three-point threat this next season, someone that can receive significant minutes on the floor in games.
Free throw percentage – 64.2%, #330 in nation, #9 in Big 12
This is unacceptable. There is no way to get better expect with more and more practice. The players that struggled last season from the charity stripe need to take it upon themselves on their own time outside of organized practices to work on their free throw shooting.
Steals per game – 5.8, #216 in nation, #9 in Big 12
Quick hands and quick feet on defense will help poke the ball out from an opponent. Williams, Gotcher, and Keenan Evans will be our top returning players with the most steals from last season. The thought could be that with a more experienced group of guards next season they might be able to anticipate more passes, or pick a few more pockets.
Assists per game – 11.1, #279 in nation, #10 in Big 12
This could go back to the low ppg theory, if we aren’t getting a whole lot of shots to fall… how can we get a lot of assists? This offense should thrive off assists, and until we run it more efficiently our apg will stay low. To get better, it all starts with having a savvy point guard. Keenan Evans has a chance to be that guy.
Turnovers per game – 13.8, #292 worst in nation, Most TOPG in Big 12
With such a young squad the inexperience of playing D-1 basketball showed. There were many moments in the games that the ball would be thrown away for no apparent reason. The maturity and chemistry among the players has been steadily growing, and it will just take time until the guys cut out the silly mistakes. The last four games of the season they averaged a much improved 11.75 TOPG.
Assist to turnover ratio – 0.8, #299 in nation, #10 in Big 12
So, mathematically you already know with our team averaging more turnovers than assists we are going to have a low AST. We need our guys to work this out, and get better. To grasp the importance of this stat let me give you a fact… every team in the Final Four this year ranked at least 16th or better in the nation in this statistic.
Rebounds per game – 33.5, #213 in nation, #8 in Big 12
Getting feet set and blocking out is how to get a majority of the rebounds. Establishing your position is important, but being a jumping jack is also important. Norense Odiase and Zach Smith hit the boards hard and almost averaged 5 rpg apiece, the rest of the squad needs to get on their level. The guys need to get some muscle on them this offseason and practice boxing out for position under the rim. Winning the battle of the boards is a big part of winning the game.
Blocks per game – 4.1, #87 in nation, #6 in Big 12
Let’s end this on a positive note, one bright stat that stands out for our team is the blocks per game average. Zach Smith helped this category out tremendously setting a new Texas Tech freshman record for blocks in a season. His 1.45 bpg was good enough to land him at the #5 spot for best blocker in the entire Big 12. We need him to dominate again next season, and if so keep on pace to be one of the best blockers in Red Raiders history. Rejecting a shot on the basket is a great deterrent to keep the other guys from challenging you at the rim, they will think twice about coming inside if their easy layup is swatted back in their face. Wreck ’em Tech!