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Posts tagged with Texas Tech Basketball

Surging Red Raiders’ biggest challenge yet awaits them at KU

Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith directs his defense during the second half, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016 at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith directs his defense during the second half, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016 at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas. by Nick Krug

Undeniably, Tubby Smith’s Texas Tech team is on the rise. The Red Raiders have won five straight games, a stretch that includes their first two road victories of the season.

As March approaches, Tech is peaking at the right time, playing its way from afterthought to NCAA Tournament team in the past couple of weeks.

But the Red Raiders (18-9 overall, 8-7 Big 12) will have to put together some extraordinary game planning and execution to add another win to the run Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse (11 a.m. tip, ESPN).

The No. 2-ranked Jayhawks (24-4, 12-3), of course, are on as good a run as any team in the nation, with eight straight victories, and in need of one more to snag at least a share of the program’s 12th conference crown in a row.

Smith, now in his 3rd season with the Red Raiders, is 0-5 versus KU as Tech’s head coach. While this team obviously is his best yet in Lubbock, Texas, it also is 0-2 on the road and 0-1 on neutral floors against RPI top-25 teams this season.

Texas Tech (No. 38 in the nation according to KenPom.com) will need to stick to what it does best to win at the fieldhouse, where Kansas has rattled off 38 consecutive victories.

The Red Raiders average 15.4 points off turnovers a game compared to their opponents’ average of 12.2.

In their best victories of the season, they’ve won points off turnovers:

- 10-7 (Jan. 2 vs Texas)

- 11-8 (Feb. 10 vs. Iowa State)

- 24-15 (Feb. 13 at Baylor)

- 14-9 (Feb. 17 vs. Oklahoma)

The ability to turn foes’ mistakes into easy points hasn’t always traveled well with Tech in its various stops around the Big 12 (and one SEC road game) this winter:

- at ISU, lost 14-10

- at Kansas State, lost 18-16

- at TCU, lost 15-8

- at OU, lost 16-13

- at Arkansas, lost 15-8

- at Texas, won 16-7 — but lost game 69-59

- at BU, won 24-15

- at Oklahoma State, lost 9-2

Clearly the Red Raiders will need to find some comfort in Allen Fieldhouse, and this is one way to do it. If possible, they’ll need to turn KU over and go the other way for baskets that will give them a boost while turning down the volume of the home crowd.

Another strategy the Red Raiders will use is simply attacking KU’s defense and getting to the free-throw line. Six of the Red Raiders’ top players have attempted 44 or more free throws in Big 12 play. When Tech makes 20 or more free throws this season, it has resulted in a Red Raiders victory on 10 out of 11 occasions.

Texas Tech’s 76.2% free-throw accuracy in conference games leads the Big 12.

Defensively, Tech’s biggest strength is its shot-blocking ability. The Red Raiders are averaging 4.5 swats a game in league play, second only to OU’s 5.9. So finding ways to frustrate KU around the rim will also be critical in their upset bid.

With those things in mind, here are the Red Raiders the Jayhawks have to worry about as they go after yet another Big 12 title.

TEXAS TECH STARTERS

No. 20 — G Toddrick Gotcher | 6-4, 205, sr.

Texas Tech's Toddrick Gotcher runs toward fans to celebrate after an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech won 65-63. (AP Photo/Brad Tollefson)

Texas Tech's Toddrick Gotcher runs toward fans to celebrate after an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech won 65-63. (AP Photo/Brad Tollefson)

  • — Jan. 9 vs. KU: 13 points, 5/12 FGs, 2/7 3s, 1/2 FTs, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal in 32 minutes*

  • More likely than any other Red Raider to pull up from 3-point range, senior Toddrick Gotcher (10.9 points) has made a team-best 51 3-pointers on 129 attempts (39.5%).

  • In his last 6 games, Gotcher has knocked down 18 from downtown on 31 tries (58%).

  • A week ago, Gotcher scored a career-high 24 points at Oklahoma state, behind 4 second-half 3-pointers.

  • An 85% free-throw shooter in Big 12 games.

No. 11 — F Zach Smith | 6-8, 215, soph.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III tries to cut between Texas Tech forward Zach Smith (11) and guard Keenan Evans (12) for an attempted steal during the second half, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016 at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III tries to cut between Texas Tech forward Zach Smith (11) and guard Keenan Evans (12) for an attempted steal during the second half, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016 at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas. by Nick Krug

  • — Jan. 9 vs. KU: 5 points, 2/7 FGs, 0/3 3s, 1/4 FTs, 6 rebounds (2 offensive), 1 block, 2 steals in 31 minutes*

  • Texas Tech’s best shot-blocker (1.6) and rebounder (7.5), sophomore Zach Smith chips in 10.3 points a game.

  • Had a rough outing at OSU last week, but bounced back by scoring a career-high 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting against TCU.

  • Playing well offensively in 4 of his last 5 games, Smith has averaged 13.2 points and shot 55% from the floor in Tech’s last 5 games.

  • Looking at the past 10 Tech games, Smith has blocked 23 shots.

  • Tech’s worst free-throw shooter among its core players, Smith is shooting 67.7% in Big 12 action.

No. 5 — F Justin Gray | 6-6, 210, soph.

None by TexasTech Basketball

  • — Jan. 9 vs. KU: 10 points, 4/7 FGs, 2/3 FTs, 3 rebounds (2 offensive), 1 turnover, 1 block, 2 steals in 23 minutes off the bench*

  • A second-year guard who became a starter late in the season, Justin Gray (8.7 points) leads Tech in 3-point accuracy: 17-for-40, 42.5%.

  • Only a starter for the past 7 games, Gray has produced double-digit points in 9 of the past 15 games.

  • However, Gray has been in an offensive slump the past 3 games: 5.3 ppg in 29.0 minutes/game.

  • In Big 12 contests, Gray averages 10.1 points on 52.5% shooting (best on the team) and is Tech’s second-best rebounder (4.6).

  • Hitting 73.8% of his free throws in conference.

No. 12 — G Keenan Evans | 6-3, 180, soph.

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  • — Jan. 9 vs. KU: 1 point, 0/3 FGs, 1/3 FTs, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 steal in 23 minutes*

  • Lead guard Keenan Evans (8.6 points) has only dished 2.8 assists a game this season — best on the team — but has become a little more active distributing the rock of late, with 3.3 apg in his past 6.

  • Had one of the best games of his career at Baylor, with career-high 21 points, to go with 5 assists and 4 steals.

  • An occasional 3-point shooter, Evans has hit 15 of 43 this season (34.9%). But he did connect on a big 3 to help beat Iowa State, giving TT the lead in overtime.

  • Leads Tech with 18 steals in Big 12 games.

  • Making 77.4% of his free throws in conference play.

No. 34 — F Matthew Temple | 6-10, 235, jr.

None by TexasTech Basketball

  • — Jan. 9 vs. KU: 3 points, 1/2 FGs, 1/1 3s, 2 rebounds in 9 minutes off the bench*

  • Not originally in Tech’s starting lineup, junior Matthew Temple (4.0 points in 12.0 minutes this season) still doesn’t spend much time on the court as one of the first 5.

  • One of the Red Raiders trying to fill the void left by center Norense Odiase, who broke a foot and could miss the remainder of the season, Temple joined the program as a walk-on before the season began.

  • Produced career-highs with 11 points an 4 rebounds in a blowout loss at OU last month.

  • He matched those 11 points last week while shooting 5-for-7 at OSU.

  • 3-for-4 from downtown in Big 12 games and 11-for-20 at the free-throw line (55%).

TEXAS TECH BENCH

No. 15 — F Aaron Ross | 6-8, 225, jr.

None by Campus Insiders

  • — Jan. 9 vs. KU: 7 points, 2/3 FGs, 1/2 3s, 2/2 FTs, 1 assist, 1 block, 4 fouls in 12 minutes*

  • In Big 12 play, junior sub Aaron Ross actually leads Tech in scoring. His 13.1 ppg average against conference opponents tops Gotcher’s 10.8 mark, despite Ross playing almost 5 fewer minutes per game.

  • Ross often sparks Tech, and he’ll need to do that at KU for his team to have a shot. He only played 12 minutes in the first matchup because, in part, he committed 4 fouls. Ross was the only Red Raider with a positive +/- vs. KU: +5.

  • When Ross comes off the bench, he produces by getting to the free-throw line (team-best 90.8% and 65 attempts in Big 12 play) and hitting from 3-point range (24 of 56, 42.9% in conference).

  • Coming off a career-high 25 points vs. TCU, when he went 12-for-12 at the free-throw line.

  • Has scored 10-plus points in 8 straight games, a career best. Ross’ last two single-digit outings? At Oklahoma (4 points) and vs. Kansas (7 points).

No. 0 — G Devaugntah Williams | 6-4, 205, sr.

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  • — Jan. 9 vs. KU: 4 points, 1/8 FGs, 0/3 3s, 2/4 FTs, 1 assist, 1 turnover in 25 minutes as a starter*

  • A former starter, senior Devaugntah Williams (10.8 points) has seen his team take off as he moved to the bench. Tech is 6-1 since Tubby Smith changed up his role.

  • Williams scored the game-winning layup with less than a second remaining to beat OSU in his first game as a backup.

  • Produced 19 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in Tech’s overtime upset of Iowa State.

  • A 37.9% 3-point shooter on the year, Williams’ accuracy has fallen off vs. league competition: 12 of 45, 26.7%.

  • In his past 4 games, Williams has only scored 4.3 points on 28.5% shooting, while making 2 of 6 from 3-point range.

  • Has shot 72.7% at the free-throw stripe against league foes.

Reply 1 comment from Maxhawk The_muser

Getting to know Texas Tech before KU’s first Big 12 road game

First-year Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith pleads with a game official during the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

First-year Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith pleads with a game official during the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas. by Nick Krug

Texas Tech hasn’t qualified for the NCAA Tournament since 2007, but now in his third season with the Red Raiders, coach Tubby Smith hopes this will be the year the program breaks through.

Off to an 11-2 start (1-1 in Big 12) that features an 82-74 home win over Texas, Tech is ranked 39th in the nation by kenpom.com, with the No. 22 adjusted defensive efficiency in the country.

Considering the only team Kansas has played on the road this season — San Diego State — is ranked 82nd by kenpom.com, with the 12th-ranked adjusted defensive efficiency, one could reasonably assume Saturday night’s game at United Supermarkets Arena (8 p.m. tip, ESPNU) will be a challenge for the No. 1 Jayhawks (13-1, 2-0).

Texas Tech is averaging just 12.0 turnovers a game, scoring 76.2 points and shooting 46.1% from the floor — 52.3% on 2-pointers, 30.7% from downtown.

Defensively, the Red Raiders limit opponents to 38.9% shooting (33rd in the nation) — 44.7% on 2-pointers, 30.6% on 3-pointers (43rd).

Smith’s team has done a nice job so far of keeping opponents out of the paint — per hoop-math.com, only 30.2% of shots taken by Tech’s foes have come at the rim, and most have settled for 3-pointers (41.3% of their opponents’ attempts have come form out there).

As KU tries to pick up its first Big 12 road win, here are the Red Raiders the Jayhawks will have to keep in check.

TEXAS TECH STARTERS

No. 0 — G Devaugntah Williams | 6-4, 205, sr.

Utah forward Jakob Poeltl, right, and teammate Brandon Taylor, center, pressures Texas Tech guard Devaugntah Williams during the Puerto Rico Tip-Off college basketball tournament in San Juan, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

Utah forward Jakob Poeltl, right, and teammate Brandon Taylor, center, pressures Texas Tech guard Devaugntah Williams during the Puerto Rico Tip-Off college basketball tournament in San Juan, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

  • Texas Tech’s leading scorer, senior guard Devaugntah Williams averages 14.8 points per game, often getting easy points at the free-throw line, where he attempts 4.1 a game and shoots 88.7%.

  • Williams routinely has the ball in his hands but so far this season hasn’t made many bad decisions. According to sports-reference.com’s college hoops site, Williams only turns the ball over 9.8 times per 100 possessions. Compare that to the turnover percentages of Frank Mason III (11.5) and Devonté Graham (8.7) and you get an idea of how well Tech’s leading scorer is doing protecting the ball.

  • Williams has scored in double figures in 11 of 13 games this season.

  • Scored 23 points and went 13-for-13 at the line to help the Red Raiders defeat Texas.

  • Struggled to score at Iowa State, shooting 3-for-15 overall and 1-for-5 from 3-point range.

  • Although 38.4% of Williams’ shots come from 3-point range, he’s not an outstanding shooter: 19 of 61, 31.1%.

  • Williams’ 16 steals lead Tech, and he averages 4.1 rebounds a game.

No. 20 — G Toddrick Gotcher | 6-4, 205, sr.

Texas Tech guard Toddrick Gotcher explodes after a three by the Red Raiders during the second half on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

Texas Tech guard Toddrick Gotcher explodes after a three by the Red Raiders during the second half on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas. by Nick Krug

  • The Red Raiders’ best 3-point shooter, senior guard Toddrick Gotcher has made 27 of 64 (42.2%) from long range this season.

  • Averaging 11.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists on the season, Gotcher makes 2.1 3-pointers per game.

  • Tied his personal Big 12 career high by scoring 18 points in Tech’s victory over the Longhorns.

  • Gotcher set a new career high with 8 assists at Iowa State, in a 76-69 road loss, earlier this week, but went 0-for-4 from 3-point range.

No. 11 — F Zach Smith | 6-8, 215, soph.

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  • Tech’s most consistent interior scorer, sophomore Zach Smith leads rotation players with a field-goal percentage of 58.1%, and averages 10.2 points with a team-leading 6.5 rebounds.

  • More than any other Red Raider, Smith operates inside, taking 53.5% of his shots at the rim, where he converts 73.9% of those looks.

  • Does a decent job of getting to the foul line, but shooting just 61.7% (29 of 47).

  • With 19 blocked shots, Smith leads the team. Swatted 3 shots in Tech’s win over UT.

  • Scored in double figures in 5 straight games before scoring 8 at Iowa State this week.

No. 32 — C Norense Odiase | 6-9, 260, soph.

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  • The best offensive rebounder for Texas Tech, sophomore center Norense Odiase leads the team with 24 offensive boards (1.8 a game), and 8 put-backs.

  • The big man has made 28 of his 38 shots at the rim this season (73.7%), but only makes 37.1% of his 2-point shot attempts away from the rim.

  • Averaging 9.9 points a game on 50.5% shooting, but, like Smith, not great at the foul line: 25 of 38, 64.1%.

  • Odiase has scored 10 or more points in 7 of his last 9 games, including an 11-point effort at Iowa State.

No. 12 — G Keenan Evans | 6-3, 180, soph.

Kansas guard Devonte Graham, left, gets a shot blocked by Texas Tech guard Keenan Evans (12) during the Jayhawks 73-51 win Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 at United Supermarkets Arena.

Kansas guard Devonte Graham, left, gets a shot blocked by Texas Tech guard Keenan Evans (12) during the Jayhawks 73-51 win Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 at United Supermarkets Arena.

  • To give you an idea of how ineffective Tech has been with 3-point shooting, sophomore guard Keenan Evans’ 7 makes (on 21 tries) ranks 3rd on the team.

  • Evans averages 8.5 points — on 41.3% shooting — and a team-best 2.9 assists per game.

  • Has had trouble finishing inside, where he is 15 of 28 on shots at the rim (53.6%).

  • Scored 15 or more points in 3 Big 12 games last year, but has scored 8 combined points vs. UT and at ISU this season.

TEXAS TECH BENCH

No. 5 — F Justin Gray | 6-6, 210, soph.

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  • The leading scorer off Tech’s bench, sophomore Justin Gray averages 7.3 points and really has a knack for drawing contact and getting to the free-throw line (42 of 50, 84%).

  • Has yet to prove he can be a 3-point threat this season, with just 2 makes on 10 attempts.

  • In just 17.3 minutes, is just as effective on the offensive glass as Odiase. Both have an offensive rebound percentage of 10.5%. Almost half of Gray’s boards (19 out of 40 total) have come on offense.

  • Gray was one of the biggest reasons Tech gave ISU a fight this week. He scored 14 points and grabbed a career-best 9 rebounds at Ames, Iowa.

No. 15 — F Aaron Ross | 6-8, 225, jr.

  • Junior Aaron Ross is the best rebounder off Tech’s bench (4.5 a game) and chips in 6.9 points.

  • Better off inside than outside, Ross is 5 of 20 from 3-point range but shoots 65.8% inside the arc…

  • … That’s because Ross converts on 75% of his shots at the rim and shoots a team-best 59.1% on 2-point jumpers.

  • Ross has 13 offensive rebounds this season and turned 7 of them into put-back baskets.

  • Had 10 points and 5 rebounds against one of the better front lines he’s faced this season: Utah. The Utes won, 73-63.

Reply 2 comments from Zabudda The_muser

Big 12 notebook: Niang’s role won’t change under new ISU coach

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Kansas City, Missouri — When new Iowa State coach Steve Prohm arrived in Ames, Iowa, he inherited a top-10 quality roster with loads of potential.

In order to maximize the Cyclones’ success in 2015-16, Prohm knew he’d have to completely understand how best to utilize multi-talented senior forward Georges Niang. So the former Murray State coach watched a lot of video from the past few seasons, and figured he might as well call up a Niang expert: his ISU predecessor, Fred Hoiberg.

Given Niang’s success under Hoiberg — 15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 40-percent three-point shooting last season — Prohm said Tuesday at Big 12 Basketball Media Day, at Sprint Center, he doesn’t want to wreck a good thing.

“He knows how important he is to this team,” Prohm said of Niang. “I do want to challenge him on the defensive end to become a better rebounder, to rebound out of his area and do some things defensively that we need. But offensively, I don't see it changing at all. I just hope he can even excel it even more.”

Learning the league

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First-year Texas basketball coach Shaka Smart hasn’t spent too much time considering detailed game plans for the rest of the Big 12. Smart said with the non-conference schedule getting things started, he has focused more on that and establishing a new culture in the first couple weeks of practice.

The former VCU coach admitted, though, there will me an adjustment period for him once league play begins.

“Obviously, the stakes are higher, the crowds are more loud, they're more into the game,” Smart said of road venues he said of conference venues he’ll visit for the first time in 2016. “And certainly, as a new coach in the Big 12, I'm going to have to get to know what this league's all about, particularly on the road.”

Sooners matching experience with youth

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Lon Kruger enters this season with the luxury of returning some of the most talented senior guards in the Big 12 — preseason player of the year Buddy Hield and running mate Isaiah Cousins. But the OU coach won’t hesitate to rely on some freshmen in spots, too.

On the wing, Kruger likes promising, versatile rookies Rashard Odomes (6-foot-6) and Christian James (6-4).

“They're very aggressive, physical on the boards,” the OU coach said of the duo. “They rebound the ball well from the wing. They can score. For incoming freshmen, they've been well-coached. They have a good feel for the game, great enthusiasm for working every day, and the real benefit, too, from having Buddy and Isaiah, from a work ethic standpoint, in the gym all the time. And those guys come in and see what they do and fall in line and they'll benefit from that a great deal, too.”

Don’t poke the Bear

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As if Baylor forward Rico Gathers wasn’t already enough of an imposing presence on the court, Bears head coach Scott Drew said the 6-foot-8, 275-pound senior has refined his offensive skill set since last season.

Gathers averaged 9.6 points and 10.6 rebounds as a junior, but only made 42.7 percent of his field goals and 57.8 percent of his free throws. As a result, Drew said the big man spent a lot of the offseason in the gymnasium.

“So first and foremost, if he can become a 75-, 80-percent free-throw shooter, his production is going to go way up,” Baylor’s coach said.

“Second thing,” Drew added, “because we have a lot of length in practice, him finishing over length every day is something that will help. His jump shot has improved. It's a lot softer, a lot better rotation.”

Who are these Wildcats?

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With eight players gone form last season’s roster and seniors Justin Edwards and Stephen Hurt, along with junior Wesley Iwundu, the only readily recognizable players left, Kansas State coach Bruce Weber hasn’t lost all hope.

In fact, Weber, whose Wildcats finished 15-17 a year ago, is having fun coaching the mostly overhauled Wildcats.

“They haven't been perfect by any means, but I'd say nine out of the first ten days we just coached them,” Weber said. “We didn't have to beg them to go hard or get after them to go hard, so that makes it a lot easier.

“Now you can worry about the stuff you're supposed to worry about, you know, setting up the angle on the screen, the defense, getting in the right position or how you're going to guard something and you're not wasting as much time.”

No defensive adjustments necessary at WVU

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College basketball rules changes dominated much of the discussion at media day, and Bob Huggins — whose West Virginia teams have become known for their assertive defense and pressure — isn’t quite sure yet what to make of the removal of the five-second closely guarded rule.

“I’d like to sit here and give you a very intelligent answer, but obviously I can't. So I don't know,” the WVU said, with a wry grin.

Huggins, whose pants decorated with WVU logos were a hit, said he’ll still ask his guards to defend on the ball with pressure, like always.

“Everybody's going to run a quick-hitter into a ball screen anyways, and that's what everybody did against us for the last 30 years, because we tried to not let people run offense,” Huggins said. “So we ended up guarding ball screens or sprints, and that's what's going to happen. I don't think that changes much.”

Forte can’t do everything

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There is no question which Cowboy’s name will appear on the proverbial marquee every time Oklahoma State plays this season. However, OSU coach Travis Ford said senior guard Phil Forte III, admittedly a “leading man,” can’t be expected to do it all.

“I think last year we relied way too much on just (LeBryan) Nash and Forte, and that was my fault,” Ford said.

Ultimately, the lack of balance made the Cowboys a less effective team.

“We had a lot of big wins and probably overachieved in a lot of areas,” the OSU coach added of the 18-14 season, “but it caught up to us at the end of the year. It caught up to us.”

Shooters and scorers?

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Often sarcastic in entertaining dealings with the media, TCU coach Trent Johnson didn’t disappoint Tuesday morning at Sprint Center.

When a reporter began a question by referencing Johnson’s team full of shooters and scorers, the coach had to stop him right there.

“My team’s full of good shooters and good scorers this year? I don’t know about that,” Johnson said, straight-faced. “Depends on what practice you’re watching.”

Eventually, the coach admitted the Horned Frogs have some experience — juniors Karviar Shepherd and Chris Washburn enter their third year of contributing — and some nights “the ball goes in.”

He said TCU’s ability to get back on defense and limit opponents’ good scorers and shooters would probably determine how successful a season 2015-16 turns out to be.

Rebuilding Red Raiders

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Texas Tech hasn’t finished a season with a winning record since 2009-10. So third-year coach Tubby Smith realizes rebuilding the program won’t be easy in the Big 12.

Smith said the Red Raiders’ annual struggles mean they have to change the culture.

“Although we have great fans and great student support on our campus, and in Lubbock in general, there are a lot of great fans, we still have to continue to grow the program when it comes to recruiting to keep improving,” Smith said, “whether it's facilities or other areas. We know that the competition is stiff no matter where in trying to influence or persuade down the middle to attend the university.”

Reply 3 comments from Zabudda Table_rock_jayhawk Koolkeithfreeze

These guys again: Texas Tech

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) celebrates a dunk by Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) as he casts a glare at at Texas Tech player during the first half on Saturday, Jan.10, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. At left is KU guard Brannen Greene.

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) celebrates a dunk by Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) as he casts a glare at at Texas Tech player during the first half on Saturday, Jan.10, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. At left is KU guard Brannen Greene. by Nick Krug

Little — if anything — went right for Texas Tech the last time it faced Kansas.

The Red Raiders lost by 32 points in their Jan. 10 trip to Allen Fieldhouse, and they struggled to hit shots from anywhere:

  • 18 for 55 from the floor (32.7%)

  • 5 for 17 from 3-point distance (29.4%)

  • 13 for 25 at the free-throw line (52.0%)

And those types of nights have kept the Red Raiders (12-12 overall, 2-9 Big 12) from finding much success in conference play. Texas Tech ranks:

  • Last in scoring, 53.8 points

  • 9th in free-throw shooting, 63.7%

  • Last in field-goal percentage, 34.9%

  • 9th in field-goal percentage defense, 46.2%

  • 7th in 3-point shooting, 31.6%

  • Last in assists, 9.2 per game

  • 9th in steals, 4.9 a game

What Texas Tech has done, however, is win it last two home games, most recently against Kansas State, and Jan. 24 against Iowa State.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1mX0tRqFXI

Now, the Red Raiders are coming off a 75-38 spanking at the hands of the very same (and vengeful) Cyclones this past weekend.

But No. 8 Kansas (19-4, 8-2) also enters the rematch off a loss, at Oklahoma State, and need look no further than the ISU loss at Lubbock, Texas, as reason to show up at United Supermarkets Arena ready to compete.

As a refresher, here are the Red Raiders the Jayhawks will have to worry about as they look to get back in the win column.

RED RAIDERS STARTERS

No. 0 — Devaugntah Williams, 6-4, junior G

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) gets to the bucket past Texas Tech forward Justin Jamison (4) and guard Devaughntah Williams during the second half on Saturday, Jan.10, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. Also pictured is Kansas forward Hunter Mickelson.

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) gets to the bucket past Texas Tech forward Justin Jamison (4) and guard Devaughntah Williams during the second half on Saturday, Jan.10, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. Also pictured is Kansas forward Hunter Mickelson. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 10 at KU: 3 pointa, 1/6 FGs, 1/14 3s, 0/0 FTs, 2 rebounds, 1 assist in 24 minutes

Williams is the only Red Raider averaging double-digit points on the season (10.5 points) and the Jayhawks completely shut him down in Lawrence.

He’s shooting 36% from the field and 32.6% from 3-point range in Big 12 games, and tied with Robert Turner for the team’s leading scorer honors at 9.1 points per game.

He punished both ISU and K-State in home wins, scoring a career-high 22 points against each of them.

hoop-math.com update: On 32 of his 36 made 3-pointers, Williams’ teammates have set him up with an assist. But he can get to the rim on his own, with 42 field goals there (only 12 assisted on).

No. 14 — Robert Turner, 6-3, senior G

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) looks to put a lob pass over Texas Tech guard Robert Turner (14) to teammate Cliff Alexander during the first half on Saturday, Jan.10, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) looks to put a lob pass over Texas Tech guard Robert Turner (14) to teammate Cliff Alexander during the first half on Saturday, Jan.10, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 10 at KU: 6 points, 3/8 FGs, 4 rebounds, 1 TO in 22 minutes

Like Williams, his shooting numbers in conference games aren’t great: 35.2% from the floor, 37.2% on 3-pointers.

Still, by hitting 16 of 43 3-pointers in Big 12 action, he has been Tech’s best long-range shooter.

Turner hit three 3-pointers in both of Tech’s Big 12 wins, against the Cyclones and Wildcats.

— hoop-math.com update: Turner has only made 8 of his 44 2-point jump shots (18.2%), and hasn’t hit one since the last time Tech played KU.

No. 11 — Zach Smith, 6-8, freshman F

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) gets a hand on a shot by Texas Tech forward Zach Smith (11) during the first half on Saturday, Jan.10, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. Also pictured are Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) and Texas Tech center Isaiah Manderson.

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) gets a hand on a shot by Texas Tech forward Zach Smith (11) during the first half on Saturday, Jan.10, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. Also pictured are Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) and Texas Tech center Isaiah Manderson. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 10 at KU: 8 points, 1/5 FGs, 1/2 3s, 5/8 FTs, 3 rebounds, 1 assists, 3 TOs, 1 block, 1 steal in 28 minutes

He’s actually the only Red Raider who has started all 11 Big 12 games, and accordingly leads Tech with 30.3 minutes a game in the conference. His 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in league games lead the team, and he scores 5.4 points on 35.7% shooting.

On the season, he makes 47.4% of his shots in Tech wins and 40.4% in losses.

— hoop-math.com update: 51 of his 90 2-point attempts have come at the rim, where Smith has converted 60.8% of his point-blank looks.

No. 32 — Norense Odiase, 6-9, freshman F

Kansas guard Brannen Greene (14) puts up a three over Texas Tech forward Norense Odiase (32) during the second half on Saturday, Jan.10, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. At left is Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2)

Kansas guard Brannen Greene (14) puts up a three over Texas Tech forward Norense Odiase (32) during the second half on Saturday, Jan.10, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. At left is Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) by Nick Krug

— Jan. 10 at KU: 4 points, 2/3 FGs, 0/2 FTs, 1 rebound, 3 TOs in 14 minutes

The guy is massive, but his minutes have been limited in Big 12 play (16.4 a game) in part because of his struggles offensively. Odiase is only hitting 34.3% of his shot attempts and 28% of his free throws in the league, while averaging 3.1 points and 3.5 rebounds.

Since the Tech loss at KU, he has made just 6 field goals on 22 attempts (27.2%) in seven appearances.

Odiase’s 52 offensive rebounds lead the team, and he averages 2.3 a game on the offensive glass.

— hoop-math.com update: As you might expect from a guy his size, Odiase leads Texas Tech with 20 put-backs on the offensive glass. That’s how 29.1% of his shots at the rim are generated — a percentage that has increased since the first meeting with KU.

No. 3 — Randy Onwuasor, 6-3, sophomore G

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) pulls the ball away from Texas Tech guard Randy Onwuasor (3) during the second half on Saturday, Jan.10, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) pulls the ball away from Texas Tech guard Randy Onwuasor (3) during the second half on Saturday, Jan.10, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 10 at KU: 3 points, 1/6 FGs, 0/2 3s, 1/2 FTs, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks in 19 minutes

Another Red Raider who really is struggling in Big 12 play, he has only made 25% of his shots overall and 23.1% of his 3-pointers, while scoring 3.0 points.

Onwuasor scored 10 points in a loss to TCU, when he made 2 of 5 3-point tries. But since then, he has totaled 14 points on 4 for 20 shooting in six games.

— hoop-math.com update: Onwuasor isn’t helping his shooting percentage with his shot selection. He has made just 6 of 34 2-point jumpers (17.6%) this season.

RED RAIDERS BENCH

No. 20 — Toddrick Gotcher, 6-4, junior G

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) turns for a shot against Texas Tech guard Toddrick Gotcher (20) during the first half on Saturday, Jan.10, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) turns for a shot against Texas Tech guard Toddrick Gotcher (20) during the first half on Saturday, Jan.10, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 10 at KU: 0 points, 0/5 FGs, 0/3 3s, 0/0 FTs, 5 rebounds, 1 assists, 1 TO in 14 minutes

Already lacking depth entering Big 12 play, the Red Raiders have even less fire power now that freshman Justin Gray is expected to miss the rest of the season due to knee issues. He was averaging 6.7 points on the season.

To make matters worse, coach Tubby Smith dismissed junior forward Justin Jamison from the team last week for violating team rules. And he was the only player on the roster who scored in double figures at Kansas, in January: 12 points, 4/7 FGs.

That leaves Gotcher, sometimes a starter, as the best option — by far — off the Red Raiders’ bench.

Averaging 7.1 points in Big 12 action, KU rendered him a non-factor offensively in the first meeting.

Gotcher caught fire in Tech’s home win over ISU, hitting 5 of 9 3-pointers on the way to 17 points.

Against K-State, in the Red Raiders’ other Big 12 win, he made 2 of 4 from deep and scored 15 points.

Tech needs him hitting to have a chance.

— hoop-math.com nugget: Most of his shot attempts (58.9%) come from long range and teammates have set Gotcher up for 25 of his 27 made 3-pointers.

No. 12 — Keenan Evans, 6-3, freshman G

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) hustles for a loose ball after knocking it away from Texas Tech guard Keenan Evans (12) during the first half on Saturday, Jan.10, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) hustles for a loose ball after knocking it away from Texas Tech guard Keenan Evans (12) during the first half on Saturday, Jan.10, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 10 at KU: 2 points, 0/4 FGs, 0/1 3s, 2/4 FTs, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 steal, 2 TOs in 16 minutes

His minutes have increased as the season progresses, and in Big 12 games he’s averaging 5.3 points and 2.7 rebounds, while shooting 29.6% from the floor and 30% from 3-point range.

Evans had a breakout game at Oklahoma State, scoring 18 points, powered by 3-for-4 shooting from 3-point range.

He has only made 3 of 13 3-pointers (23%) in five games since, though.

— hoop-math.com nugget: 35.5% of his shots come at the rim, but Evans has only converted 17 of his 36 tries (47.2%).

Reply 5 comments from Greg Lux Erich Hartmann Titus Canby Skinnykansasdude Texashawk10_2

Getting to know the Red Raiders

First-year Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith pleads with a game official during the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

First-year Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith pleads with a game official during the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas. by Nick Krug

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, as any coach in the Big 12 would, says there are no automatic wins in this very deep and talented league.

Even if that is the case, Saturday should be about as automatic as it gets for the No. 12 Jayhawks (12-2 overall, 1-0 Big 12), who welcome Texas Tech to Allen Fieldhouse for a 2 p.m. game on ESPNU.

The Red Raiders are one of two Big 12 teams not ranked in the top 55 by KenPom.com. Texas Tech (10-5, 0-2) is nearly 100 spots behind, at 151. The only other conference team lagging is Kansas State (8-7), at No. 104.

Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith is a highly respected coach with 535 career victories. In his 24 years as a head coach, he has won .682 of his games. However, three of his five starters are freshmen and the Red Raiders have the sixth-youngest starting lineup in the nation.

Texas Tech ranks last in the Big 12 with 4.87 3-pointers made per game and is ninth in scoring (68.3 points). The Red Raiders at least hold opponents to 38.5% shooting — better than KU’s 41.4% — and average 7.27 steals (fourth in the Big 12).

Here are the Red Raiders KU has to worry about as it seeks a 2-0 start in conference play.

RED RAIDERS STARTERS

No. 0 — Devaugntah Williams, 6-4, junior G

Tech’s leading scorer (11.7 points) has, by far, the most 3-pointers on the team, as well. Williams is shooting 39.7% from long range, with 25 makes on 63 tries.

A junior-college transfer, he worked his way into Smith’s starting lineup.

Williams struggled in his Big 12 debut, making just 1 of 4 shots and scoring 3 against Texas. However, he followed that up with a 21-point showing and 3-for-4 shooting from downtown against West Virginia.

— hoop-math.com nugget: On 22 of his 25 3-pointers, Williams’ teammates have set him up with an assist. But he can get to the rim on his own, with 32 field goals there (only 10 assisted on).

No. 14 — Robert Turner, 6-3, senior G

Kansas guard Conner Frankamp blocks a shot from Texas Tech guard Robert Turner during the first half on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Conner Frankamp blocks a shot from Texas Tech guard Robert Turner during the first half on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The only senior in Tech’s top seven, he was named to the Las Vegas Classic All-Tournament team, earlier this season.

But his shooting has failed him often.

Turner scored a season-high 19 points against Air Force when he routinely visited the free-throw line and went 8-for-9 — a rarity for the 63.4% free-throw shooter.

What’s more, he has only made 5 of 14 field goals in two Big 12 games.

On the season, Turner has hoisted 50 3-pointers and made just 12.

— hoop-math.com nugget: Turner has only made 8 of his 29 2-point jump shots (27.6%).

No. 32 — Norense Odiase, 6-9, freshman F

The 270-pound big man gives Texas Tech some legit size in the paint.

Odiase’s 5.1 rebounds a game lead the team and he has exactly as many boards on defense as on offense this season: 38 on each end of the floor.

Offensively, the young big has been held to single-digit points in seven straight games. But he did put up 9 and pass out 3 assists against West Virginia.

He gets to the charity stripe more often than any of his teammates — 63 attempts — but shoots just 57.1% at the foul line.

— hoop-math.com nugget: As you might expect, Odiase leads Texas Tech with 14 put-backs on the offensive glass. That’s how 26.2% of his shots at the rim are generated.

No. 5 — Justin Gray, 6-6, freshman G/F

Part of the freshman invasion project at Texas Tech, the long guard has struggled of late:

  • scoreless against Houston

  • 2 points vs. North Texas

  • 4 points vs. Texas

  • 2 points vs. West Virginia

His minutes also have dropped significantly in this slump, after he scored 17 points in 35 minutes against Loyola Chicago.

Gray averages 7.1 points a game and shoots 50.1% from the floor.

— hoop-math.com nugget: When Gray gets to the rim, he is at his best, making 23 of 30 (76.7%).

No. 11 — Zach Smith, 6-8, freshman F

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQbDF_R5znk

Yet another fresh face, the athletic big man doesn’t score much (eighth on Texas Tech, with 5.2 points a game), but he has blocked 23 shots (1.6 a game) and is on pace to set a program record for freshmen in that category.

Coming off a 3-point/3-rebound game against West Virginia, in 36 minutes, Smith has scored in double figures just once this season (13, at LSU).

At least he hits his free throws: 31 of 44 (70.5 percent).

— hoop-math.com nugget: 28 of his 47 2-point attempts have come at the rim, where Smith has converted 64.3% of his point-blank looks.

RED RAIDERS BENCH

No. 20 — Toddrick Gotcher, 6-4, junior G

None by Daily Toreador Photo

Hey, a returning player.

Capable of playing PG, SG or SF off the bench for Texas Tech, he is a valuable player.

Gotcher is averaging 6.9 points and has made 16 3-pointers (second on Texas Tech) in 43 attempts (35.7%).

Against West Virginia, the junior played 34 minutes — essentially replacing Gray — and scored 14 points by getting to the foul line (8-for-10) on a night he shot 2-for-7 from the floor.

— hoop-math.com nugget: Most of his shot attempts (56.6%) come from long range and teammates have set Gotcher up for all 16 of his 3-pointers.

No. 3 — Randy Onwuasor, 6-3, sophomore G

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe and Texas Tech guard Randy Onwuasor chase a loose ball during the first half on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe and Texas Tech guard Randy Onwuasor chase a loose ball during the first half on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

On the season, gives Tech nearly as much offense as Gotcher by scoring 6.4 points.

Onwuasor was one of Smith’s first recruits and played in all 32 games as a freshman.

His minutes have nearly doubled this season to 21.0 a game, but he played just 13 minutes vs. West Virginia and scored 3 points to go with 4 rebounds.

He’s only shooting 36.7% from the floor this season, though he is third on the team in attempts (79).

— hoop-math.com nugget: Onwuasor isn’t helping his shooting percentage with his shot selection. He has made just 5 of 22 2-point jumpers.

Reply 3 comments from Jonathan Briles Rodney Crain