January 23, 2009

Game Preview: Tech travels to Mizzou

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Texas Tech secured their first conference win on Tuesday night by defeating
Colorado. The win improved the Red Raiders to 11-7 on the season and 1-2 in the
conference. They will now travel to Missouri (16-3, 3-1 Big 12). The Tigers are
currently on a three game winning streak. The tip off is scheduled at 12:30 p.m.
CST on Saturday and will be televised on the Big 12 Network.


The series is tied 8-8 with Texas Tech winning four of the last five overall.
The Red Raiders have won twice in Columbia including a 78-62 victory in 2005.


  • Sophomore forward
    Mike Singletary led Texas Tech with 20 points and nine
    rebounds against Colorado. He scored the Red Raiders' final 12 points of the

  • Tech has won four of the last five and five of the past seven meetings
    in the series versus Missouri. The Red Raiders have won twice in Columbia,
    with the last victory there on Jan. 19, 2005 (78-62).

  • In 12 home games this season, Texas Tech is averaging the 7th Big 12
    attendance at 8,957. Texas A&M comes in at 8th with an average attendance of


  • MU has won 13 straight games at home, a Mizzou Arena record. The string
    is the 10th-longest home winning streak in school history.


  • Mizzou has had 11 different players reach double digits this year, more
    than any Big 12 squad. Only two players - DeMarre Carroll (15.7) and Leo Lyons
    (14.2) - are averaging double-figure points for the year.


  • The Tigers have posted a 3-1 start in Big 12 play for the first time
    since the 2005-06 season. The last time a MU squad began 4-1 in league play
    was the 2001-02 campaign.


  • Missouri had six players score in double-figures at Oklahoma State, led
    by seniors Matt Lawrence and DeMarre Carroll with 19 points each. Lawrence's
    scoring total came in 20 minutes off the bench.


  • The Big 12 has seven teams ranked in the top 48 of the last RPI rankings
    published at rpiratings.com. As a league, the Big 12 is ranked fourth.


  • The Big 12 has six of its squads ranked among the top 25 nationally in
    scoring offense. Six place in the top 47 in field goal percentage.


  • The Big 12 boasts three teams - Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas - ranked in
    the USA Today/ESPN top 25 poll in both men's and women's basketball. The
    total ties for the most of any conference in the nation (Big East).


  • During the early-signing period, the Big 12 fared very well nationally.
    Seven schools were ranked on the Rivals.com list of top 25 classes, more
    than any conference in the country. In its conference breakdown, Rivals
    rated the Big 12 as "the clear winner of conferences during the early
    signing period."


Under first year head coach Pat Knight, Rogdrick Craig has been an athletic yet
rarely used bench player. Despite featuring ideal size, he has often found
himself lost on the defensive end as well as missing three point attempts on
offense. This all changed against Colorado as Craig stepped up with two steals
and two drawn charges. Each came at critical moments in the end of the first and
second halves. Not only did the defensive plays gain extra possessions for Tech
but it also energized a team that seemed to be motivated by his hard work on the
defensive end. Offensively Craig had a couple nice passes, made a three, and
could have had a really good outing had he converted on a few attempts around
the basket.

While it is not known whether or not Craig will get significant minutes against
Missouri, he certainly became another viable option for the coaching staff. When
in the ball game along with Singletary as well as Michael Prince or
D'Walyn Roberts, the Red
Raiders were a much more athletic, active team. The energy and length that these
forwards provide not only down low but also on the perimeter just might be the
solution to the defensive woes that has plagued this team for much of the


Frequently used for three and four game stretches before being relegated to the
bench for an equal amount of time under Bob Knight, Michael Prince is now
starting to play the kind of minutes he expected when he arrived in Lubbock.
Prince's hustle and commitment to defense and rebounding has come to the fore
front during his senior season. After overcoming an injury that held him out a
couple weeks, the scrappy forward has gotten the start in each conference game.
Against Baylor, he was the best defensive player on the floor for Tech as he
forced numerous turnovers. The next game versus Texas, Prince was solid on both
ends of the floor. He finished with 6 points on 3-4 shooting, 4 boards, and 2
blocks. In the final moments of the Colorado game, Prince skied for a couple of
critical rebounds, he also added two blocked shots and two steals despite
playing most of the game in foul trouble.

While Prince's hesitance on the offensive end may be frustrating at times, it is
his overall game that has earned Coach Pat's trust. He rarely turns the ball
over and frequently finds himself guarding the other team's best player. His
work on A.J. Abrams and
Curtis Jerrells helped limit the two explosive guards to
a combined 24 points. Along with guarding quick point guards, Prince can also be
found battling down low against power forwards and centers. This versatility
will continue to be a critical key as the Red Raiders look to improve on the
defensive end as conference play continues. 


The Missouri Tigers enter the game as an offensive juggernaut that puts pressure
on the opposing team for 40 minutes. Under head coach Mike Anderson, the Tigers
are an athletic up tempo bunch that loves to press so much that they claim "The
fastest 40 minutes in basketball is Mizzou." This proclamation is coming to
fruition this season as they are leading the Big 12 in steals at 10.84 per game
and are outscoring opponents by 20.7 points per game.

Not only do the Tigers force turnovers, but they also take care of the ball
quite well. They lead the conference in turnover margin at +6.68 per game. This
allows them to get extra scoring opportunities which they frequently capitalize.
The offense is excellent at creating open shots for teammates via the pass and
this is proven by their 19.79 assists per game which lead the conference. When
open Missouri is a deadly shooting team. They are second in the league in field
goal shooting (48.9%) behind league Baylor. For the season, their efficient
offense has led to Mizzou scoring 90 or more points 7 times this season
including 107 versus Colorado.

While the Tiger offense and defense has been solid, one area they could use some
improvement is defensive rebounding. This season they have been averaging 25.37
rebound per game which is fourth lowest in the Big 12. This number is slightly
skewed due to the amount of turnovers they force, but the Tigers also only rank
6th in the conference in defensive rebound percentage.

Missouri is a deep team that only has two scorers in double figures mainly due
to the way they spread the ball around from game to game. Six players this
season have been the leading scorer with DeMarre Carroll leading the way. He is
averaging 15.7 ppg, tenth best in the Big 12. The 6-foot-8 senior is dangerous
in the paint and will more than likely draw lots of attention from Michael
Prince and D'Walyn Roberts. Slowing Carroll will go a long way to a Red Raider
win as in Mizzou's three losses he is only averaging 10 ppg.

The second threat for Missouri is Leo Lyons. Although he was recently demoted to
a reserve position, Lyons is the Tigers second leading scorer at 14.2 points per
game. His minutes have been on the decline however. He has only played over
twenty minutes once since conference started. This is a trend that will be
interesting to watch as Lyons along with Carroll was an All Big 12 Preseason
Honorable Mention.

Filling in for Lyons has been junior
Keith Ramsey. In his two starts, he has 11
points per game. At 6-foot-9 Ramsey will be a tough matchup as he has hit 3 of
his last 4 three point attempts and is shooting nearly 50% on the season.
Another three point weapon for the Tigers is Matt Lawerence. He is shooting an
impressive 42.9% from behind the arc. His 2.37 three pointers per game ranks him
eighth in the conference.

The two catalysts that get the ball in the right hands for Mizzou are
J.T. Tiller and Zaire Taylor. Both players are ranked in the top six in the
conference in assists to turnovers as well as averaging over 3 assists per game.
Look for the pair of 6-foot-3 guards to try and penetrate and kick as the Red
Raiders have been vulnerable to easy drives for most of the year.  


1. Close out on three point shooters. Missouris is a very good three
point shooting team and if not defended well they can put a game out of reach in
a hurry. Matt Lawerence is a big time shooter that can hit 5 or 6 threes if he
gets hot. Michael Prince and Rodrick Craig must continue to play intense defense
on the wings to keep Tech in this one.

2. Roberson must protect the basketball. Against the press,
John Roberson
usually is pretty steady. It is when he gets ahead of himself in the front court
that he tries to create too much while attempting an impossible pass. If he can
stay under control and knock down a few shots, Tech will have a great chance at
getting a road victory.

3. Get off to a good start. The Red Raiders have struggled on the
road for most of the last four years and the main reason is they fail to score
early in games. They have to get in a flow offensively from the start because
they simply don't have the firepower to comeback especially against a team as
good as Missouri.


The starters

Forward - DeMarre Carroll 6-8 Senior

Forward - Keith Ramsey 6-9 Junior

Guard - Kim English 6-6 Freshman

Guard - Zaire Taylor 6-4 Junior

Guard - J.T. Tiller 6-3 - Junior

The reserves

Guard - Matt Lawerence - 6-7 senior

Guard- Marcus Denmon- 6-3 freshman

Forward- Leo Lyons - 6-9 senior

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