Texas Tech Basketball: What We Want to See Against the State of Arkansas

Texas Tech Basketball: What We Want to See Against the State of Arkansas

After back-to-back games against major conference teams, Texas Tech returns to the land of the “buy games” (one where Tech pays an opponent to play in Lubbock) tonight when the mighty Arkansas State Red Wolves come to United Supermarkets Arena. But that doesn’t mean this game is insignificant.

Indeed, this could be an opportunity for the Red Raiders to nail some areas that have proven difficult over the past two games. Of course, this will be important as the next game on the schedule pits Tech against No. 5 Gonzaga in Phoenix. So let’s look at three improvements we want to see tonight from the Red Raiders.

Bryson Williams returns to form

Tech desperately needs senior forward Bryson Williams to return to the form he showed earlier in the season. Otherwise, it will be difficult for this team to reach its full potential in the Big 12.

The UTEP transfer started the year averaging 14.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game over Tech’s first six contests. But against Providence and Tennessee, he averaged just 5.5 points and a mere 2.5 rebounds. That won’t fix it.

Williams seemed to be a little crazy the last two games. Mainly, he hasn’t been as aggressive on offense as he was when the season started.

In fact, he almost became shy when faced with opportunities to score in paint. Instead of going up hard and trying to score through contact, he’s fallen in love with trying to do some kind of reversal or wraparound layup, where he tries to use the hoop as a shield to protect him from defenders.

Of course, these types of shots are difficult to pull off, and Williams hasn’t had much success with these attempts. For what it’s worth, he hasn’t had much offensive success by any means in the last two games, as he combined to only shoot 4-18 from the court against the Friars and Volunteers.

Tonight, let’s see if a more aggressive and decisive Bryson Williams comes back to form against a lesser opponent. Hopefully this will be the stepping stone that will help him get back to being the kind of player he has shown he can be to open the season.

Supporting cast contributions

Against Tennessee, in a challenging game for both teams, Texas Tech got almost nothing from their reserves. That’s not a recipe for success, as the second wave of players Mark Adams brings into the game has to stick.

The only bench player to provide a positive spark against the Vols was 7-foot redshirt freshman Daniel Batcho. The Arizona transfer scored four points and was the only Red Raider reserve to leave a mark on the scoreboard as he finished with four points and 11 big rebounds.

Of the four other players Adams pulled off his bench, the only one to attempt a shot was Adonis Arms, who was 0-3 that night. And between them, Marcus Santos-Silva, Mylik Wilson and Clarence Nadolny contributed just two rebounds and a block.

Texas Tech needs to have more of its bench. Especially since two of the team’s starters, Kevin McCullar Jr. and Williams, can be prone to fouls at times. So see if the bench is capable of returning to being a solid piece of the puzzle for the Red Raiders tonight.

outdoor shooting

There is reason to be concerned that 3-point shooting will be a struggle all season for the Red Raiders. After all, the team is only shooting 34.6% from depth so far.

Unfortunately, what we witnessed in the season’s first two games against major conference opponents did little to assuage our concerns about this team’s ability to knock shots from outside the arc. In fact, the outside shot in those two games made most Red Raider fans feel even more uncomfortable with that aspect of the team.

Combining going just 11-47 from Center City over the past two games, Tech has shot just 23.4% as a team. Damn.

That includes a 4-24 effort against Tennessee. The only saving grace that night was that the Vols were even worse in 3-point range that night as they were a miserable 6-40 (15%).

The best 3-point gun on the team, Kevin Obanor has cooled considerably over the last two games going a combined 4-15 deep. That’s certainly not what this team needs from him, as he’s the most proven marksman this list has.

Meanwhile, after starting his season shooting 50% from distance in his first three games of the year, Terrence Shannon Jr. has cooled considerably in the last two games, making just two of 11 3-point attempts against Providence and Tennssee. .

Perhaps a return home will do this team some good when it comes to their outside kick. We hope so, because surviving in the stalwart Big 12 will be next to impossible if Tech can’t start hitting more 3s than he has in the last two games.

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