Tortilla Tossin’ Player of the Game
Not very difficult for me, Davide Moretti broke out of his shooting slumb and was the only player that was relatively close to shooting above 50% with more than 2 shots. Moretti made 6 of 13, including 4 of 9 from the three-point line, 3 assists, 3 turnovers, and 2 steals. I can tell you that I very much appreciate Beard trusting his players and as he always says, these guys have done the work. They’re supposed to shoot and without Moretti shooting, Texas Tech is 2 of 19 from the three-point line. If there’s one player on the roster that I want shooting no matter what, it’s Moretti, because he’s shown that he can hit them more times than not.
- This game played out, unfortunately, a lot like I thought it would play out. West Virginia dominated the boards, 46-33, and dominated the free throw line, 23 of 35 for West Virginia, and 6 of 7 for Texas Tech, and the two players I was most concerned about, Culver and Tshiebwe, sort of dominated the paint, 7 boards for Culver and 17 boards for Tshiebwe.
- Texas Tech was pitiful from the floor, making just 28% from inside the arc and 21% from the three-point line, there just wasn’t many good shots available and it also didn’t help that so many players just didn’t shoot well at all. Let’s go through them.
- Kyler Edwards was 3 of 12 from the field including 0-5 from the three-point line.
- Jahmi’us Ramsey was 3 of 14 from the field including 1 of 4 from the three-point line.
- T.J. Holyfield was 0 for 3 from the field including 0-1 from the three-point line.
- Chris Clarke was 2 of 10 from the field.
- Kevin McCullar was 3 of 11 from the field including 0-4 from the three-point line.
- And to add to all of this, Terrence Shannon was out with a back issue, so there’s an athletic forward that can’t go because he’s injured and now Texas Tech has an even shorter bench because Beard is just hesitant to play minutes to players he doesn’t fully trust just yet. It’s part of his process and part of the overall process.
- I think the score would have been much closer, but WVU received a surprise shooting effort from Miles McBride who made 8 of 11, and he had normally made 40% of his shots, so that was a complete surprise for me. Just wasn’t expected. Take out McBride’s shot-making and West Virginia is making 32% of their shots.
- The free throw disparity was warranted and I mentioned before the game this was going to be an issue, just stopping the free throw brigade. Culver was terrible from the line, 3 of 10, so it could have been worse, and he was by far the worst shooter for WVU.
- Head coach Chris Beard:
“One of many parts of West Virginia’s identity is their size,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “They’re kind of a unique team. They’re a team you don’t see much in college basketball anymore with their two bigs. We had some game plan stuff we wanted to get to, but game plans kind of go out the door when you can’t score. You find yourself in this game, and I thought we played decent defense tonight at times, but we were just really bad on the offensive end. On a night where we couldn’t hit any shots, we also could not get to the free throw line, and then (we had) way too many turnovers.”
- Beard on why Texas Tech couldn’t make a shot, which I agree with, West Virginia is a very good defensive team, the best defensive team in the nation, so for Texas Tech to shoot 28% is not completely out of the realm of what was going to be expected. That doesn’t excuse not making shots because that’s sort of the deal here. This team has to start making some shots.
“I hate the coach that gets up here and talks about how we couldn’t make a shot,” Beard said. “The reason we couldn’t make a shot was the other team was well-coached, has good players, was dialed in and played great defense. There certainly were possessions where we couldn’t get into our offense, no doubt about it, but I think it is safe to say we had good looks that we have to knock down.”
- Before the game, I had a conversation with my brother-in-law and mentioned to him that it is painfully clear now that Chris Beard always intended that Joel Ntambwe was supposed to be part of this team and that Ntambwe’s 12 points and 5 rebounds that he averaged at UNLV and the idea that he’s a shot-maker and a guy that can create off the dribble and rebound and a guy with size. The roster as currently constructed is incomplete, but add in Ntambwe and this is a different team that’s much more difficult to defend.
- The schedule turns to Kansas State on Tuesday night in Manhattan against Kansas State. And this is one of those games that will be on ESPN+, so if you need to subscribe through Hulu or some other method, this is probably the time to do it.