January 21, 2009

Signals from the hardwood

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Several opinions and themes can come away from any basketball game, some much more obvious and others. Obviously, there's a lot to be said after Texas Tech's eight-point victory over Colorado. RedRaiderSports.com's Joe Yeager breaks down the not-so-common themes from the win.

BABY STEPS: Beating possibly the worst team in the Big 12 by eight points in the
United Spirit Arena is hardly the sort of win that will make a program
overnight. But given the state of the Texas Tech basketball program any win is a
good win. and a conference win is extra sweet. After all, there are no gimmes
anymore. So call Tech's 63-55 win over Colorado a baby step. At this point head
coach Pat Knight will take all the baby steps he can get.

ROLE REASSIGNMENT: The most surprising development in the game was the crucial
role played by Rogdrick Craig and the comparatively minor role played by
Alan Voskuil. Who would have guessed that Voskuil, the team's go-to player, would
play only three more minutes than Craig, a seldom used reserve? Moreover, who
would have supposed that Craig would score just as many points as Voskuil? (Both
players tallied three points.) Now Craig was no powerhouse out there, but he
does provide some size and athleticism on the perimeter, and he really augments
Tech's man and zone defenses. The guess here is that Craig will continue to play
this role in the foreseeable future, and that a struggling Voskuil will continue
to see his role confined to zone buster and clutch free throw shooter.

ROTATION OBSERVATION: For much of the second half Pat Knight got away with
playing a shrimpish lineup of six-foot-six Rogdrick Craig, six-foot-three Alan
Voskuil, five-foot-eleven John Roberson, six-foot-one Nick Okorie, and
six-foot-seven Michael Prince. What's more, the Red Raiders out-rebounded
Colorado by seven despite playing this tiny lineup and a zone defense for much
of the night. Rebounding has historically been a major problem for Tech
basketball teams, but oddly enough, it seems to be strength of this one.

ROTATION OBSERVATION PART DEUX: Without question Tech's most effective lineup of
the evening, and the one they used to open up a lead at the game's conclusion
was John Roberson, Mike Singletary, D'Walyn Roberts, Michael Prince and Nick
Okorie. That is probably Tech's most athletic lineup, and with Prince and
Singletary on the floor, is also one of the most energetic. I would expect to
see this group start against Missouri and garner the lion's share of the minutes
on into the future. The primary subs would then be Voskuil and Craig. And
indeed, we could see a shortening of the bench featuring those seven players.

DON'T DOG DARKO: At this point in his career Darko Cohadarevic does not bring a
whole lot of game to the table, but that doesn't mean he's not a valuable member
of the team. For Darko, I suspect, is very good for team chemistry. Much like M.
L. Carr on the great Celtics teams of the 80s, Cohadarevic is extremely
positive, upbeat and enthusiastic. He's the first and last guy giving five to a
teammate regardless of what kind of game he himself is having. And teams that
are struggling, looking for silver linings, need personalities like Darko to
keep morale afloat.

ATTENDANCE REPORT: As you might have expected, students were rather scarce for
this one. Attendance by townies was somewhat better. All in all though, the two
groups joined forces and actually generated some noise and mayhem late in the
game when the team needed them. If the Tech basketball program can become
consistently competitive I know the USA will become an intimidating place to

SINGULAR SINGLETARY: Without question, the one player on the roster who is most
capable of creating his own shot is
Mike Singletary. When he plays minutes in
large blocs, he finds his rhythm and becomes a load for defenses to handle. This
being the case I would always want to see him play big minutes in the second
halves of games that are close. You want a hot Singletary on your side when it
comes down to the nitty-gritty.

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