Texas Tech Hoops – Defense, Defense, Defense

First off, I would like to take a moment and let everyone reading this know that it is my 7th season to be writing about Texas Tech basketball. This is my first EVER post to be writing about a Top 25 ranked Red Raiders’ team. Since I started writing for Seth back in the Double-T Nation days; I have changed jobs three times, purchased my first home, and started a family. Maddie is now walking and talking, and turns two in January. Last time Texas Tech basketball was ranked I was fresh out of college, working in Kansas without a care in the world. A lot has changed in a very good way since my time as a “blogger” began, and I am DAMN glad that the Red Raiders are finally back in the MBB national polls!!!

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Chris Beard has spiced up this defense, and created a swarming group of players on the ball when our opponents are trying to play offense. Feet are constantly moving, arms and hands are continuously flying around, and fresh bodies are repeatedly rotating in and out from off the bench. It is both exciting and delightful to watch as we crash every board, and challenge every pass/catch/shot that goes up. With the intensity that our defense brings to every match, it makes sense why we have so much depth on the roster. Also, it is understood why guys like Odiase and Hamilton had to shed some pounds and get into more athletic shape.

After the first game of the season, I sort of really soaked up what Chris Beard had to say:

“With our turnovers, that’s by design. We want to play pressure defense. We put some different presses out
there tonight to kind of speed up the game” … “I felt like we need to be aggressive and try to change to tempo of the game”

That is exactly what the Red Raiders are doing. They are not letting the opponents get off the easy look. It has been especially noticeable at the three-point line on defense. If you watch the weak-side D, if there is a skip pass or an open guy down in the corner the ball is immediately challenged. Constant shifting by our players have caused the other teams to put up contested shots. We get in their face and rush them into passing or shooting. That leads to more missed shots, more turnovers, and less points on the scoreboard against us.

Our defensive pressure and energy is becoming our identity on the court. We will see what happens against Seton Hall in Madison Square Garden, and also Nevada in the coming games. Along, what will happen when Big 12 conference play opens up with Baylor and Kansas right off the bat. Hopefully we keep it up. The stats on D right now are amazing, but we are only 6 games into the season.

As of today, we are the best team in the country at #1 out of 351 in our opponent shooting percentage. The teams we played have only shot 33.5% from the field. That is outstanding! Also, we get out to the three ball and hold our opponents to only making 23.6%. That is good enough for the #5 slot in the nation right now.

Effective field goal percentage in college basketball is a metric that weighs the 3-point shot more heavily than a regular field goal. This is used to show a more accurate picture of how a team is shooting the ball. Here is how the equation is worked:

Fairly simple in that it gives 50% more value to a downtown make than a regular 2 point bucket. With this more precise equation of a teams shooting success, it can tell you the whole story. Our Red Raiders are holding the other guys to shooting an eFG% of 38.9%, which puts us at #2 in the nation on our defense shooting percentage. Fantastic!!!

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There is still a lot of basketball to go, and this season is still at the early stages of development. We need to keep it up, and keep this defense going strong all season long to see how our eFG% will look come March. Yet, that is no reason to hold off on being stoked about our team being ranked #22 in both college basketball polls and gaining some national exposure. We have all waited a very long time for this to happen. Let’s keep moving up that ladder in the polls and not look back. Earn it with a win tomorrow against Seton Hall.

Keep that defensive intensity up Red Raiders, because it is a magnificent thing to watch. Wreck ’em Tech!!!


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