Preview and Game Thread: Texas Tech vs. Utah

Date: Thursday, November 19th
Time: 6:00 pm
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (1-0, 0-0)
Bad Guys: Utah Utes (2-0, 0-0)
Location: Colieo Roberto Clemente | San Juan, Puerto Rico
TV/Stream: ESPN2
Radio/Stream: Broadcast Affiliates and TuneIn App

POINT GUARD Kennan Evans (6-3/180) 8.0 / 1.0*
SHOOTING GUARD Devaugntah Williams (6-4/205) 26.0 / 8.0
SMALL FORWARD Justin Gray (6-6/210) 12.0 / 3.0
POWER FORWARD Zach Smith (6-8/215) 6.0 / 4.0
CENTER Norense Odiase (6-9/260) 4.0 / 0.0
POINT GUARD Brandon Taylor (5-10/170) 5.0 / 3.5*
SHOOTING GUARD Isaiah Wright (6-2/180) 0.0 / 3.0*
SMALL FORWARD Jordan Loveridge (6-6/220) 22.5 / 4.0
POWER FORWARD Kyle Kuzma (6-9/221) 18.5 / 9.5
CENTER Jakob Poeltl (7-0/248) 20.5 / 11.5

* Assists.

1. Strong to Quite Strong Frontcourt. Funny how a couple of games can skew the averages, but it appears that Utah has a bit of size in regards to how their team is built, starting a true seven-footer at the center who appears to be a legitimate big-man and the #9 player projected to go in the 2016 NBA Draft. Poeltl is generally around the bucket and that’s where he stays for the most part in terms of how he scores. Kuzma didn’t average a ton of points last year, but he was a true freshman. It appears he may have improved quite a bit.

2. The Numbers. KenPom has Utah as the #22 team in the nation, a ridiculously effective offensive team, 18th in the nation in adjusted offense and 37th in adjusted defense. It helps quite a bit when you have a team with that size. It’s a very large frontcourt and I’d guess they’re going to get a ton of looks around the basket. Texas Tech, having played just one game, sits 114th in adjusted offense and 91st in adjusted defense. The more I think about the High Point game, the more I think that this really was a game that didn’t play to Texas Tech’s strength all that much, which I think are their inside players and it was really a guard-oriented game.

3. Odiase and Manderson Are About to Get a Workout. This may be one of the better frontcourts that Texas Tech will face all year, at least with the size that’s on hand. Manderson and Odiase will need to stay out of foul trouble for pretty much the entire game. Both Manderson and Odiase really didn’t see much time in the first game because High Point played a small lineup.

4. Versatile Loveridge. Loveeridge is maybe the next best player on the team, but since he’s not 7-0, he doesn’t get the high draft treatment, but Loveridge is a really versatile small forward, who has been very efficient scorer and is Utah’s best shooter from deep. Loveridge scored 21 points on just 9 shots against San Diego State.

5. Maybe A Depth Advantage. Utah really only played 6 players against San Diego State, coming off the bench was Brekkott Chapman. Everyone else logged big minutes and they played on Monday, the 16th, then probably flew straight to Puerto Rico on the 17th, and have to play on the 19th. I don’t know that Utah will be gassed, but that’s a lot going on. Maybe Texas Tech’s best strength is what appears to be the overall depth of the team. I’ll be interested to see if Texas Tech can use their second five, which I think Smith really likes, and run a bit with Utah.

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