Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tide Tackles Texas Tech 66-62

A win is a win, and the three game losing streak is now a thing of the past.  I watched this game on my blurry laptop screen, so take my analysis for what it's worth, which is even less than usual, if that's possible.

  Coming into this game, we were notorious for slow starts.  Tech zoned us early and Lacey made them pay by knocking down some early 3's.  We jumped out to an 8-0 lead and was able to cruise through most of the first half.  The starting lineup was Releford, Lacey, Randolph, Cooper, and Pollard.  It's a small lineup, but if you believe in putting your best 5 players on the floor regardless of size or position, this is probably the way to go.  We had great ball movement in the first half that led to a lot of open shots.  For those who complain "we do nothing but stand around the perimeter and pass the ball around against the zone," this is exactly what we are trying to accomplish.  It worked tonight for 2 reasons:  1) We executed much better.  We had good spacing and did not hold the ball for too long at a time.  The idea is to stretch the zone, and anticipate the next pass as you are receiving the current one.  The defense will have to rotate to the side of the ball, when you reverse it to the weak side, you should be able to get an open shot.  2) Tech was not very active in their zone.  They were slow to rotate and slow to close out on our shooters.

Defensively, we started out in a zone as well to compensate for our lack of size inside.  Texas tech cooperated by trying to get into a 3 point shooting contest with us.  As I mentioned above, Lacey was making his shots, Tech didn't have anybody who could shoot.  We cruised to a 43-27 halftime lead that we would stretch to 20 early in the second half.

I don't know if the team thought the game was over, if Coach Grant thought the game was over, or what happened, but we absolutely sucked the last 14 minutes or so of that game.  Texas Tech deserves some credit for making the necessary adjustments to get back into the game.  They switched to a man to man defense, playing our guards close and soft on everybody else.  We responded by taking the air out of the ball.  We may as well have been running the 4 corners the last 12 minutes of the game.  Every possession we ran the shot clock down to 5 or less, at times passing on decent shots.  Maybe Coach Grant felt that with the big lead and a limited roster it was best to limit possessions, but the forced shots as the shot clock expires, the shot clock violations, the turnovers, 5 and 10 second calls, are getting tiresome.  It was an 8 minute scoring drought that is becoming all too common these days.

At the other end, Tech finally stopped jacking up 3's and took advantage of our weakness in the post by attacking the basket.  Gueye did get some rebounds, but he also picked up a ton of fouls and is frankly, a huge liability at this point.  Nick Jacobs had a better game overall, but he doesn't play defense and one rebound out of a power forward in 21 minutes of playing time is not going to cut it.  Devonta Pollard had a very good game and seems to be progressing nicely.  It's not really fair to him, but we are going to need him to play more inside, even though he doesn't really have the necessary bulk, he can get some rebounds for us with his height and athleticism.

Rodney Cooper struggled and played most of the night in foul trouble.  Dakota Slaughter came in off the bench in the first half to relieve him, and did a decent job of at least giving us some minutes.  Releford did a nice job down the stretch of getting to the line and knocking down some free throws,  but his assist to turnover ratio is not what I would hope for.  The whole team turned the ball over too much on the dribble drive in the second half.

On the bright side, we were able to withstand the run with the momentum against us to hold on for the win.  Levi had a huge shot to put us back up by 2 scores in the final minute.  We made the plays when we had to and hopefully this will give the team some confidence.

Up next, the Mercer Bears come to Coleman Coliseum for a 1pm tipoff Saturday.  It seems like we play them almost every year, and they are usually one of the better teams in their conference.  They are 6-6 with a win on the road over Florida State, but also with some embarrassing blowout losses to Illinois-Chicago and Denver.  The game will be televised on CSS if you can't make it to Tuscaloosa.


crimsontider said...

Why can't we ever play a complete game? don't understand that. Hey DJC, do you have any idea what the heck is going on with Nick Jacobs? Thanks as always

MSmilie said...

No idea why Bama decided to take the air out of the ball with 12 minutes to go. Fortunately, it didn't cost them. If Tech comes back and wins that game, wow, the season may have been effectively over. Not sure how the team would have come back from that.

But they didn't lose. And the first half shows that when this team is focused on both ends, it's a pretty good team. They just have to play 40 minutes, and for Steve McQueen's sake, stop turning the damn ball over. 20 turnovers last night. 20 turnovers from a team that usually has two point guards (Lacey and Releford) on the floor.

I expected Tech to kill Bama on the offensive glass, and they did in the second half. Not sure that's something that can be fixed at this point. We'll just have to hope for the best in the rebounding department.

With that said, Pollard is rebounding the ball well despite his thin frame. He's progressing nicely. Moussa was a foul machine last night, but he did grab 7 boards and I think he had a blocked shot. Nick Jacobs had arguably his best game of the season from a scoring standpoint, but he only grabbed one rebound. I think Nick's struggles have a lot to do with being soft . I think that opinion is reflected in his defensive performance and his rebounding numbers as they suggest a kid who shies away from contact. At 6-8, 265 lbs, if he ever gets after it, he has a chance to be a great post player.

Does anyone know if the team got out of Lubbock last night? There was some discussion on the radio broadcast about whether they would be able to with the dust storm.

Hopefully they did get home sooner rather than later because they have an early game on Saturday against a Mercer team that could be a pain in the neck.

DJC said...

Word is that Nick Jacobs has been playing with a hurt ankle. He dropped about 15 lbs in the off season, and I was hoping that would help with his jumping ability, but so far that has not been the case. He simply can't get off the floor. Hopefully it's just the ankle bothering him and it will get better as the year goes on. He seems to be having a bit of a sophomore slump.

bobbyjack said...

I saw Mercer last month vs New Mexico at the Pit. They gave NM all they could handle for 30 minutes before faltering at the end.

LickCreek said...

Was glad to see that starting line up on the floor last night. I hate it for Pollard that he has to be put in that position but he I thought he played well last night and looks to be improving. Our big guys are just too much of a liability at this point. Jacobs looked a little better at times, but he has probably been the biggest disappointment this year so far. If he is still having ankle problems then he needs to sit the bench and get better before SEC play starts. 2nd half was very frustrating, but at least they held on. It would have been a disaster if they would have lost. They should take care of business at home the next 3 games. If they can do that they will be 10-3 going into SEC play. Thats only about one win shy of were i thought they would be at that point.