LJWorld.com weblogs Five-minute Scout
Will this be 'meat necklace' part two?
Team: Texas Tech
KenPom (Ken Pomeroy) Ranking: 249
All statistics from KenPom.com unless otherwise noted
• Defensive pressure: Texas Tech ranks fourth in Big 12 play in defensive steal percentage, swiping the ball away on 10.7 percent of its defensive possessions. The Red Raiders' season numbers are even better in the stat, as they rank 38th nationally (12 percent).
• Deep bench: TTU coach Chris Walker uses his reserves extensively, as 39.6 percent of his team's minutes come from the bench (27th nationally). The Red Raiders go 10 deep on their bench, so Walker's team might not be as affected by foul trouble as some other squads that come into Allen Fieldhouse.
• Slow tempo: After playing the non-conference season at a fast pace, Tech has slowed it down in Big 12 play to try to keep games closer. The Red Raiders are eighth in conference play in adjusted tempo, and a slow-it-down game is their best chance at hanging in the game with the Jayhawks.
• Offensive rebounding: Texas Tech is at the bottom of the Big 12 in offensive rebounding percentage in conference play, grabbing its own misses just 28.5 percent of the time. For reference, KU pulls down offensive rebounds on 35.8 percent of its misses (second in conference).
• Carelessness: No Big 12 team has had a higher percentage of possessions stolen than Texas Tech, as opponents come away with steals on 11.6 percent of the Red Raiders' possessions. That could be trouble in Allen Fieldhouse, where steals often lead to quick transition points for the Jayhawks.
• Defense: Texas Tech has allowed the most points per possession in Big 12 play, allowing 1.12 points per trip to its foes. The Red Raiders struggle in quite a few areas, ranking ninth in the league in effective field-goal percentage defense, defensive rebounding percentage and defensive free throw rate. Forcing turnovers is about the only thing that Tech's defense does at an about-average level.
3 Players to Watch
• Six-foot-7 junior Jaye Crockett (No. 30) is Texas Tech's best offensive player. Though he's a below-average three-point shooter (32 percent), Crockett has been one of the league's most efficient players inside the arc, making 57 percent of his shots there while shooting a high number of twos (103 of 181). Crockett thrives on close shots, making 77 percent of his attempts at the rim (NCAA average is 61 percent). Crockett also is the Red Raiders' best defensive rebounder, ranking 101st nationally in defensive rebounding percentage.
• Six-foot-11 junior Dejan Kravic (No. 11) is the second-best offensive option for the Red Raiders. The center takes 25.4 percent of the shots when he's in (406th nationally), and like Crockett, he's well-above average from two-point range (103 of 198, 52 percent). Kravic relies more on two-point jumpshots to score than Crockett, and he's talented in that area, making 41 percent of those shots (35 percent is NCAA average). Kravic also is a consistent rebounder, ranking in the top 260 in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage while also blocking a high percentage of shots (104th nationally in block percentage).
• Six-foot-1 guard Josh Gray (No. 5) takes on the biggest offensive load for Texas Tech even though his production doesn't warrant that kind of role. He takes 26.6 percent of the Red Raiders shots when he's in (285th nationally), but he's been below-average from two-point range (84 of 189, 44 percent) and dreadful from three-point range (15 of 77, 20 percent). Gray also turns it over too often, as his 87 turnovers are 37 more than any other Red Raider. Despite his offensive deficiencies, Gray is TTU's best perimeter defender, ranking 24th nationally in steal percentage.
In 2008, Texas Tech coach Pat Knight's team lost to KU, 109-51 on the Jayhawks' senior night, with Knight giving the famous quote, "I feel like someone put a meat necklace around my neck and just threw me into a lions' den."
Though Monday night's game shouldn't be that bad, this still is a talent mismatch that will be played on KU's home floor.
Like the West Virginia game, KU's offense will have to worry most about keeping its turnovers down. If the Jayhawks do that, they shouldn't have any problem scoring ... or turning this game into a rout quickly.
Kansas 88, Texas Tech 56
Hawk to Rock
Texas Tech is a poor rebounding team that fouls too often and has a lot of shots blocked. In other words, Jeff Withey should put up plenty of numbers on his senior night. Give me a double-double for him in a game where he probably won't play 30 minutes.
24-5 record, 332 points off (11.4 points off/game)
Hawk to Rock
SE Missouri: Perry Ellis (2nd in KUsports.com ratings)
Michigan State: Jeff Withey (4th)
Chattanooga: Andrew White III (10th)
Washington State: Ben McLemore (4th)
Saint Louis: Perry Ellis (7th)
San Jose State: Travis Releford (2nd)
Oregon State: Jeff Withey (2nd)
Colorado: Elijah Johnson (4th)
Belmont: Kevin Young (6th)
Richmond: Jeff Withey (1st)
Ohio State: Ben McLemore (1st)
American: Jeff Withey (5th)
Temple: Kevin Young (2nd)
Iowa State: Travis Releford (4th)
Texas Tech: Ben McLemore (4th)
Baylor: Jeff Withey (4th)
Texas: Elijah Johnson (8th)
Kansas State: Kevin Young (6th)
Oklahoma: Travis Releford (3rd)
West Virginia: Jeff Withey (2nd)
Oklahoma State: Ben McLemore (1st)
TCU: Kevin Young (3rd)
Oklahoma: Travis Releford (5th)
Kansas State: Naadir Tharpe (3rd)
Texas: Kevin Young (6th)
Oklahoma State: Ben McLemore (7th)
TCU: Travis Releford (4th)
Iowa State: Jeff Withey (4th)
West Virginia: Perry Ellis (10th)
Average: 4.3rd in KUsports.com ratings