Game Preview and Open Thread: TCU vs. Texas Tech

Date: Wednesday, January 18th
Time: 6:30 pm
Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (13-4, 2-3)
Bad Guys: TCU Horned Frogs (14-3, 3-2)
Location: United Supermarkets Arena | Lubbock, Texas
TV/Stream: FOX Sports SW (FOX Sports Go)
Radio/Stream: 97.3 FM/104.3 FM/950 AM

POINT GUARD Devon Thomas (6-0/170) 5.4 / 3.9*
SHOOTING GUARD Kennan Evans (6-3/180) 14.0 / 3.2*
SMALL FORWARD Justin Gray (6-6/210) 8.5 / 5.3
POWER FORWARD Zach Smith (6-8/220) 12.9 / 7.8
CENTER Anthony Livingston (6-9/260) 12.1 / 4.3
SIXTH MAN Aaron Ross (6-8/225) 11.0 / 3.0
SEVENTH MAN Niem Stevenson (6-6/205) 6.7 / 2.7
EIGHTH MAN Shadell Millinghaus (6-2/195) 6.1 / 2.6
NINTH MAN Matthew Temple (6-10/240) 2.9 / 1.7
POINT GUARD Alex Robinson (6-1/180) 10.8 / 5.4*
SHOOTING GUARD Jaylen Fisher (6-2/195) 9.9 / 4.7
SMALL FORWARD Kenrich Williams (6-7/210) 9.5 / 10.0
POWER FORWARD JD Miller (6-8/235) 6.6 / 3.3
CENTER Vladamir Brodziansky (6-11/220) 12.6 / 5.8
SIXTH MAN Brandon Parrish (6-6/210) 7.1 / 3.4
SEVENTH MAN Desmond Baine (6-5/215) 8.7 / 3.1
EIGHTH MAN Karviar Shepherd (6-11/230) 5.9 / 3.0

* Assists.

1. KenPom has TCU as the better team, ranking 32nd overall, 50th in AdjO and 27th in AdjD, while Texas Tech is 35th overall, 33rd in AdjO and 62nd in AdjD. The problem for Texas Tech is that the defensive ranking keeps dropping, bit by bit, as the Big 12 season rolls on. Texas Tech is going to have to clamp down defensively if they want to keep winning games in the Big 12.

2. This is one of those games where Texas Tech must win at home. Yes, must-win games really are elimination games and this isn’t an elimination game, but Texas Tech needs all the wins they can get in the Big 12 and facing a similar team in TCU is one of those games that they need to notch in the win column.

3. TCU is essentially Texas Tech from last year. A very good defensive team and an offensive team that’s not great, but good enough to win games. Brodziansky is terrific, he was a gem found by the former coach, Trent Johnson, and when I first saw him last year, I left impressed. I think Williams sat out all last year with a knee injury and 10 boards from your small forward is terrific, although I could see Smith and Williams matching up nicely, but 235 is a lot of weight for Gray to take. Texas Tech will have to keep TCU off the offensive boards and this might be a team similar to Oklahoma, which is more athletic than Texas Tech and better defensively.

4. Texas Tech is going to have to shake their offensive inconsistency and that starts by getting to the line more than they do. Beard was talked about getting to the line more and I think this solves a lot of the problems, especially on the road. Texas Tech has a two-game homestand against teams that Texas Tech really needs to get two wins, TCU and Oklahoma State. That record looks a lot better if this team can get two wins tonight and on Saturday.

5. Head coach Chris Beared talked about the importance of focusing on defense:

“The balance between fundamentals,” Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard said. “Getting back to rebounding, guarding the ball one-on-one, post defense – all the things that a good defensive team focuses on but also preparing for the next opponent. As coaches, we wish we had four or five hours every day to practice, but we just don’t have that because of NCAA rules and players bodies. We have guys on this team that are a little bit older and that are playing major minutes so we are probably practicing less minutes than I’m really accustomed to. It’s finding a balance between working on your team and preparing for the next opponent.”

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