Tortilla Tossin’ Player of the Game
We’ll go with Kevin McCullar, the only player to shoot above 50% (5 of 6) and finished with 12 points, 2 boards and 0 turnovers.
- These post-game thoughts are less about the game and more of something that I’ve been thinking about the last couple of weeks. Generally speaking, Texas made their shots (52%) and Texas Tech did not (39%). That is incredibly simplistic and this was a game that Texas Tech really needed. There was the thought that with a win, Texas Tech essentially punches their ticket to the NCAA Tournament, but that didn’t happen.
- Consider how confident you are at tying your shoes. One eye open? Child’s play. Eyes closed? No problem. Well, I’m pretty much all but certain that Beard is as confident in building a roster and a team as to you tying your own shoes. He is supremely confident in what he does and he has no reason to dissuade him from being that confident. I also think that Beard’s ability to be prepared for one game is Beard’s other special talent and it’s the reason why I think he’s one of the best in the nation at turning things around after one game and being ready for the next.
- I wonder if this team is going to make him re-think how aggressive he is with roster management. I’ve thought that maybe one of the biggest flaws with this team is the fact that he was too aggressive in player acquisition. The thing that I think about is how much better this year’s team would be with certain players that left. And sometimes players leave because of playing time or because they want to seek a different or better path. That’s totally understandable.
- It has seemed that this team lacked a rebounding presence. I don’t know if Josh Ntwambe would have provided that ability to be a post-player, but maybe Beard was counting on his 6’8″ frame to give this team another big man. Josh Mballa was a sparingly used forward last year and give last year’s team with Owens and Ondigo, there wasn’t a ton of room otherwise. Mballa transferred to Buffalo where he is essentially averaging a triple-double, 10.6 points per game and 9.4 rebounds per game.
- Of course we can say that hindsight is 20/20. It’s easy for me to think that having another post-player on the roster would have solved this team’s problems.
- Beard thought that he would have Deshawn Corprew, Josh Ntambwe, and Tyreek Smith all available as post-players who could have contributed. The Corprew situation was not Beard’s fault. Ntambwe was ruled ineligible, and Smith didn’t get healthy until maybe a month or so ago and it’s more beneficial to Smith to redshirt so he doesn’t burn a year of eligibility for such a short period of time.
- Maybe the other aspect of this is that last year, the team was generally settled and Beard really only added 2 new players to a rotation that had already seen significant time. This year, Beard added Holyfield, Clarke, Ramsey, Shannon, McCullar, and others. The only regular rotation players returning from last year were Moretti and Edwards. Maybe he key here is that roster turnover can be good, but maybe there’s a limit to roster turnover and player acquisition, too much can be detrimental to building that team success.
- I also want to mention that I think this team also misses guys who are leaders, Brandone Francis and Norense Odiase were the two unquestioned leaders last year, Odiase was probably less vocal (but believe he had no problems expressing his opinion) and led by example, while Francis was that fiery sideline presence who had no issues being that guy that instigates, gets in guys’ faces an wills a team to win. I don’t know who that player is this year and I don’t think there’s a player on the roster that does that. Being that type of player is as much about experience as it is taking on that role voluntarily.
- As of right now, the majority of the roster returns with only 3 players being added (Chidbuzo Agbo, Jr. (6-7/215), Micah Peavy (6-7/172), and Nimari Burnett (6-3/185) and to think that next year’s team will be absolutely stacked, especially with some of the players returning, would be an understatement. I tend to think that the experience aspect of roster management was maybe undervalued this year. Consider the 2018 class when Edwards, Corprew, Moore, and Mballa were the signees. There were a ton of returning players that gave you that experience, plus the addition of some new players was significant (not all of whom were freshmen). If players return and give this team the on-court experience to add to the incoming freshmen, then that will probably make for a pretty good team.
- And I’ve always thought that roster construction is incredibly difficult, it’s what makes Tim Tadlock and Chris Beard so good at their job so this isn’t a criticism, but if I had to guess, I’d think that if Beard knew that he’d be without Corprew, Ntambwe, and Smith, that he’d take Mballa back in a New York minute.
- Up next: Baylor in Waco tomorrow night, yes, it’s time for Big Monday.