Oklahoma desperately needs to get their first conference win on Saturday and standing in their way is Bob Knight and the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Here to tell us more about this match up and the Red Raiders in general is Seth from Double T Nation. Welcome to the Machine Seth!
Huge win for the Red Raiders over Texas A&M Wednesday night. Talk a little about the significance of that win for Texas Tech.
Seth: Without sounding like too much of a homer, it really was a big win. Beating a top 10 team could do wonders if the Red Raiders are able to get into the tournament. Of course we all realize that the losses to Sam Houston State (I'm sure you can feel my pain with the loss to SFA) and Centenary hurt that much more. I think Wednesday's win does two things: it gets the Red Raiders in the win column in the Big 12 and it gives them confidence. This team looked like they weren't having any fun before Wednesday, they needed a win to make them realize that it's still just a game.
With Blake Griffin out due to a knee injury Bob Knight is going to get a heavy dose of his favorite post player in Longar Longar. How good are the Red Raiders at defending the post?
Seth: After watching the Red Raiders against one of the more talented post teams in the county in A&M (Jones and Jordan) I think they did an outstanding job. Rizvic has been good and if you limit his minutes, he'll be effective. Suljagic has always been the teams' best post defender and this year is no different. I think the difference on Wednesday night was that two post players were able to double-team whatever Aggie had the ball in the post. If Longar-Longar can pass out of the double-team then OU will have quite a bit more success than the Aggies did.
How does this team go from getting blown out by Oklahoma State to beating the 10th ranked team in the country by 15?
Seth: Playing on the road in the Big 12 is tough, no matter who or where you play. Mizzou beats UT at home, but loses to Iowa State on the road. For that reason alone, I think OU has a decided advantage over Texas Tech. But to answer your question more specifically, OSU's crowd was very much into that game as they didn't want Knight to register #900 on their home court and Muonelo caught fire for a little over 4 minutes, essentially making a very close game a complete blowout. It literally took 4 minutes to happen. Texas Tech played 3 freshmen that game and against the Aggies he stuck with a more veteran group. I think freshman point guard John Roberson was initially intimidated in Stillwater and eventually composed himself, but I think he'll be fine and I don't think he'll have the same wide-eyed look against OU.
Guard play seems to be the key to Texas Tech's success this season. Tell us a little about the backcourt.
Seth:Freshman point guard John Roberson has been pretty good this year. He's a scoring point guard that's still figuring out how to score in the Big 12, but he's certainly been an effective player for a true freshman. Alan Voskuil has been outstanding shooting the ball, 53% from the field and 57 from beyond the arc, but he just doesn't shoot the ball enough. He continually defers or passes the ball, but he can certainly be a weapon. Martin Zeno is perhaps my all-time favorite Red Raider to watch, but he can be incredibly maddening as well. Zeno is susceptible to turning the ball over, but against the Aggies he only had 1 turnover and if he'll just slow down he'll be fine. I'm not sure if there is a player who takes his man off the dribble and goes baseline better than Zeno and if you lay off of him, he's liable to hit a nice mid-range shot.
With Bob Knight getting win #900 on Wednesday night is there the fear of a let down on Saturday?
Seth: Yes, but I think it's natural. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see OU at the top of it's game, despite losing Griffin (it's amazing how a crowd can affect a game) on Saturday afternoon. Typically I would say that beating a top 10 team might give you momentum, but in this case, the Red Raiders needed to get that win for Knight. The proverbial monkey is off their backs, however, Knight typically will not let a team take a game off and I wouldn't expect anything different on Saturday.