Texas Tech enters this evening’s game with a record of 12-6, 3-3 in the Big 12 Conference. The Red Raiders started the season with five easy victories before falling to Iowa and Creighton in Las Vegas and then at DePaul. They responded to that losing skid with another five game winning streak that was kick-started by their 70-57 victory over then #1 Louisville. Texas Tech is coming off of a loss at TCU Tuesday evening that dropped them to .500 in the conference. The defending National Runner-Up is once again relying on a very good defense to win games giving up just 61.8 points per game which is 30th in the country. Offensively, this team pushes the pace a bit more than they have in years past. Coach Chris Beard’s group is scoring nearly 73 points per game led by star Freshman Guard Jahmi’us Ramsey with 15.5 points per game. This is an extremely well coached team that plays really hard and will look to feed off of what promises to be an electric game day atmosphere. Let’s dive in and go over the game plan for beating Texas Tech.
#25 Davide Moretti: 6’3″ 180 lbs, Junior Guard
13.0 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 2.3 apg
SHOOTER!!! NO 3’s!!! 104 of 167 shots have been 3’s. Have to be there to take away the catch-and-shoot 3’s. Really pressure him when he has the ball. If he isn’t dribbling you aren’t close enough. Make him uncomfortable. Make him drive it. Once he puts it on the floor he will want to go to his right. Would rather shoot a jump shot than take it all the way to the rim. Be ready to contest the jump shots. Have to get over ballscreens. Chase him off downscreens and get over the flares. Absolutely no help off of him. Find him in transition. Once he starts to drive it, make him finish with you between him and the basket. Really good at cutting after he screens. Don’t let him get an easy layup by not communicating on a screen. Not a great finisher but is an outstanding free throw shooter. Don’t bail him out by fouling. No 3’s!!!
#3 Jahmi’us Ramsey: 6’4″ 195 lbs, Freshman Guard
15.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg
All-around scorer. Best player. SHOOTER!!! No 3’s! Have to be there to take away catch-and-shoot 3’s. Break his rhythm when he is bouncing it on the perimeter. Really good at making them off the dribble too so you can’t let him rhythm dribble into his shot. Really wants to drive it right when you make him drive. No right hand drives. Not really thinking about passing when he drives it. Get over the ballscreens. Chase him off downscreens and get over the flares. No help off of him when he doesn’t have it. Find him in transition. Will bring it a lot when he gets it. Point Guard duties are interchangeable for them. Pressure him as much as you can when he is dribbling it. Don’t let him just move the ball easily in their motion. Be ready to contest the jumper as he drives it. Contest everything. Have to find him and box him out when the shot goes up. Good offensive rebounder. More shots than points for him.
#0 Kyler Edwards: 6’4″ 200 lbs, Sophomore Guard
11.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.1 apg
No catch-and-shoot 3’s. 90 of 185 shots have been 3’s. Shooting exactly 30% on the season. Wants to drive it right once you take him away from 3. No right hand drives! Be ready to contest the pull-up J’s. Chase him off downscreens and get over the flares. Find him in transition. Very willing shooter. We definitely are wanting to be there to take away the catch-and-shoot 3’s, but you can be a little more willing to help off of him than #25 or #3 to start the game. Will handle the ball a lot when he is in there. Pressure him as much as you can without getting beat off the dribble. Make it hard on him to just pass it around their motion. Stay between him and the basket as he drives it. Be ready to tighten up to him more and treat him like #25 and #3 if he makes one early.
#44 Chris Clarke: 6’6″ 220 lbs, Graduate Transfer Guard/Forward
6.4 ppg, 7.9 ppg, 5.6 apg
Very strong. Distributor. Non-shooter. Not looking to score outside of the paint. No right hand drives!!! When he drives it don’t over help because he is driving to pass. Always looking to make plays for others. Brings the ball up the court a lot and initiates their offense as much or more than anyone else. They will ballscreen for him some. If it is set inside the 3-point line we need to switch those, otherwise you can hop under. Do NOT close out to him when he catches it away from the basket. If you end up close to him then pressure him so he can’t just pick us apart passing it, but we would prefer to play off of him. Help off of him when he doesn’t have it. Loves to throw the long outlet passes. Have to get back in transition. Be physical as he is driving it. Wants to finish with his right hand. Always looking to make plays for others. Excellent offensive rebounder. BOX OUT!!! Averaging two offensive rebounds per game.
#22 T.J. Holyfield: 6’8” 225 lbs, Graduate Transfer Forward
8.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg
Mid-range shooter and right hand driver. No right hand drives. Give a hard contest to all of his mid-range and face-up jumpers. Looks for opportunities ballscreen and pop into space so attack the basket from 15-18 feet. Will post up some but prefers to face-up in the post. Right hand, left shoulder if he plays with his back to the basket. Be physical and make him score with you between him and the basket. Don’t let him get around you. Stay down on fakes. Shooting nearly 62% on 2-point field goal attempts. Just stay between him and the basket. Good athlete. Good offensive rebounder. BOX OUT!!!
#1 Terrance Shannon Jr.: 6’6” 210 lbs, Freshman Guard
11.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Lefty. Very athletic. DRIVER! No left hand drives!!! Only 5-24 from 3 on the season. Really wants to drive it left. Closeout short to stay between him and the basket. You can go up through the downscreens and under the flares. Help off of him when he doesn’t have it. Will throw it ahead to him in transition some. Get all the way back. No layups! Make him score with you between him and the basket. Uses the shot fake on the perimeter to try and get you to bite. Box out!
#15 Kevin McCullar: 6’6″ 195 lbs, Redshirt Freshman Guard
4.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Bigger guard. Play him straight up. More of a driver than a shooter. No right hand drives. Stay between him and the basket. Just throw a hand up if he shoots it. Really pressure him when he has the ball, just don’t get smoked to his right. 26 turnovers to 11 assists. Make him uncomfortable. No layups for him. Box out.
#24 Avery Benson: 6’4″ 200 lbs, Redshirt Sophomore Guard
Lefty. SHOOTER!!! NO 3’s!!! 17 of 31 shots have been 3’s. Have to be there to take away the catch-and-shoot 3’s. Find him in transition. Chase him off downscreens and get over the flares. Once you take away the catch-and-shoot 3 he will drive it left. No left hand drives. Be tight on him. Pressure him when he has it. If he isn’t dribbling you aren’t close enough. No help off of him!
The Red Raiders run Motion offense the vast majority of their possessions. They are constantly screening and are very good at reading those screens and making the appropriate cuts. They also set random ballscreens out of their Motion as well. While they run some of the most “true Motion” that you will find in college basketball, there is still a unique flare to it. A lot of times, #44 Clarke, a strong 6’6″ non-shooter that looks more like a 4-man, will be their primary distributor that initiates their offense. They will even have some of their smaller guards ballscreen for Clarke at times (we need to switch when they do that). Overall, we have to be ready to guard screening action for 20+ seconds each possession and cannot fall asleep or they will take advantage of the mistake. Outside of their Motion, they set ballscreens out of a Horns alignment a lot, will run Flex from Horns as well, and have a screen-the-screener action they like, but expect to see Motion probably 80% of their half-court possessions.
Motion: This clip shows #44 Clarke acting as a playmaker. When he has the ball in the middle of the floor you can see how they have screening actions happening on both sides of the floor. The possession begins with downscreens for #3 Ramsey and #0 Edwards. Clarke ends up getting the ball back and starts to drive it and gets a little ballscreen from Ramsey around the free throw line. We HAVE to switch that ballscreen, it is just way too close to the basket to not switch it. Baylor gets stuck in between and gives up a layup. They were guarding Clarke a little tighter on the perimeter than we want to as well.
Motion: In this Motion clip you can see how they are really good at also having their screener finish his cut towards the rim instead of just standing after setting a screen. Early in the possession #25 Moretti slips a high cross screen and finishes his cut all the way to the front of the rim. Then, Ramsey sets a flare screen and flashes to the middle of the floor. Those little details really keeps you on your toes as the defense. Once again, the ball is in Clarke’s hands most of the possession. This is a good example of why you either need to be way off of him or pressuring the heck out of him on the perimeter. The Baylor defender has his feet outside the 3-point line (something we won’t do) but also isn’t really bothering him and Clarke is able to find an open #1 Shannon. Terrible closeout to the non-shooter and lets him drive to his strong hand for a dunk.
Motion: This last Motion clip shows them setting an early flare for Clarke that turns into a ballscreen once he catches it behind the flare. TCU does a good job of switching that action. They then set a flare for Ramsey as Clarke backs down his defender. Moretti sets another flare for Ramsey and flashes to the rim as Edwards drives it. The possession ends with a ballscreen for Ramsey. TCU switches it, but with only 6 seconds on the shot clock we have to switch out more aggressively to take away the 3 in this situation.
Horns-Ballscreen: TCU gets screened pretty well on the initial Horns ballscreen but end up not switching it which allows #22 Holyfield to roll to the rim for an easy dunk. In the second clip, Baylor does end up switching the initial ballscreen, but you can see #45 for Baylor standing with his back to the perimeter almost the entire possession watching Clarke with the ball. This is the kind of defense we can’t have when Clarke has it. He wants to PASS. Have to guard him one-on-one and make him try to score. They lose Ramsey for an easy 3.
Horns-High Ballscreen: They also like to extend their Horns ballscreen and come set it high to allow the ball handler more space to make a play going downhill. Here the Baylor defender gets beat a little, but makes Ramsey drive left and stays on his hip. However, he gives up on the play once he passes it and Ramsey keeps moving and hits a 3.
Diagonal to Staggered Double: Here is the screen-the-screener action they run a few times each game. A guard will cut overtop to the left wing and get a catch then the forwards cross screen for each other. The cutter will curl it to the left block as the screener pops for a catch. The ball is reversed to the right wing as they set a diagonal back screen and then the two forwards set a staggered double for the guard in the corner. We have to be ready to chase the staggered double or switch it if there is space.
They are a solid, half-court man-to-man team. They do like to mix in a 2-2-1 press that is mostly used to slow you down and make you initiate offense later in the shot clock. They will trap out of it if the ball ends up across half court in a corner. In the half-court they ICE the side ballscreens and really try to force you baseline and funnel you into their help. They also get out and deny on the wings a little bit. When the ball goes in the post they will come double some, but they usually bring their second defender from the baseline, low-side which is a little different.
The first clip here shows them in their 2-2-1 and how they are really just trying to force you to pass the ball back-and-forth a few times before crossing half-court. They do bring the trap here after TCU crosses half-court and end up getting a steal as they try to throw a long pass over the top.
Here is another example of their 2-2-1 and how it starts off pretty soft but then turns into a half-court trap when the ball is dribbled across. You can also see how, in the half-court, #24 gets out and denies on the wing. This clip shows that this isn’t just a pack-line, half-court defense like some people tend to think. They are aggressive and look for opportunities to turn you over.
Keys to the Game
- No 3’s for #25, #3, or #0. Especially #25 & #3, we have to take those guys away from 3. Contest everything. No help off of them. Get over the ballscreens. Chase them off downscreens and get over the flares. Find them in transition.
- Make them score with you between them and the basket. Do not give up layups. They aren’t a very good finishing team. Switch ballscreens anytime you need to to keep a guy on a guy.
- Don’t help on #44 Clarke. He is driving to pass and always looking to make plays for others. If you are up on him then pressure him so much that he has to just give it up. Don’t let him just pick us a part.
- Ball pressure. It is hard for them to really execute their Motion if they can’t get the ball to guys coming off of screens. The more on-ball pressure we can provide the more it will take them out of what we want to do. Outside of #44 Clarke and #1 Shannon we want to be pressuring them as much as possible without getting smoked to their strong hand.