clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Baylor

Filed under:

MBB Scouting Report: Texas Tech Red Raiders

McCasland Returns to Waco

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Matchup: Texas Tech (16-5 / 5-3) @ Baylor (16-5 / 5-3)

Time: Tuesday, February 6, 2024, @ 8:00 PM CT

Place: Foster Pavillion, Waco, Texas

Where to Watch: ESPN

Big Picture

The Texas Tech Red Raiders come in off back-to-back losses, their first time losing consecutive games this season. Tech is now 2-3 this season in true road games. The Raiders have fallen into a five-way tie atop the Big 12 conference in the loss column (this tie includes Baylor).

NCAA Basketball: Cincinnati at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Baylor Bears come in having won back-to-back games. The Bears’ win over the weekend was absolutely wild, but it brings them into the tie at the top of the conference standings with 3-losses.

The Bears have won 7 of their last 10 meetings with Tech, including 6 of the last 7 games in Waco, Texas. The Raiders are Baylor’s second-most-played opponent all-time.

Season Recap

Texas Tech’s best wins this season are against BYU and Oklahoma. Their losses have come at the hands of Villanova, Butler, Houston, TCU, and Cincinnati.

The Red Raiders dropped 8 spots in the latest AP Poll after losing both games last week. KenPom has Texas Tech as the 32nd-best team in the nation while Evan Miya’s metric has them 29th nationally (Baylor is 16th and 19th respectively in those metrics).

Raiders’ Style

Defensively, Texas Tech is primarily a man-to-man team. They almost never use zone or full-court press. Aside from their elite rim-protecting 7-footer down low, they play relatively small lineups.

cbbanalytics.com

Texas Tech is a relatively slow team in terms of offensive tempo. Part of this is caused by their lack of turnover creation. They rank 12th among Big 12 teams in fastbreak scoring. A majority of their shots are either mid-range or three-pointers.

Raiders’ Strengths

  • Texas Tech is an excellent three-point shooting team (they lead the Big 12 in 3P% at 41.0% in conference play).
  • The Raiders display great ball security on offense (they have the 2nd lowest Turnover Rate in the Big 12 in league play).
  • Tech has made teams play at the charity stripe (they have the best FT% at 76.7% in conference play).

Raiders’ Weaknesses

  • Texas Tech has struggled mightily on the glass, especially when it comes to defensive rebounding (they rank last in the Big 12 in Defensive Rebound Rate in league play, allowing opponents to rebound nearly 37% of their missed shots).
  • This is not the Tech team of yesteryear. They have been porous on the defensive end (in league play, KenPom ranks the Raiders dead last among Big 12 teams in adjusted defensive efficiency).
  • The Raiders have not been able to get much scoring in the paint this season (they are last among Big 12 teams in points-in-the-paint this season).

Players to Watch

Pop Isaacs (Guard, No. 2, Sophomore, 6’2” 180 lbs.): 17.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.5 APG, and 1.1 SPG on 37/33/82 splits. Issacs is Tech’s best and most important player. He is 2nd among Big 12 players this season in points produced per game. As a shooter, look for him to hunt shots at the top of the key or in the mid-range along either baseline. The best thing you can say about Issacs on the defensive end is that he doesn’t foul much. He is on a bit of a heater at the moment, having averaged 24.3 PPG and 4.8 APG on 42/43/87 splits over his last 4 games. Slowing this guy down should be defensive priority number one for the Bears, watch for a combination of guards to be tasked with chasing him around.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Tech at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Toussaint (Guard, No. 6, Super Senior, 6’0” 200 lbs.): 12.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 4.2 APG, and 1.1 SPG on 43/31/85 splits. The West Virginia and former Iowa transfer is the team leader in assists and is 2nd on the team in scoring. The smallish guard doesn’t take a lot of threes, instead preferring to drive downhill and seek contact (over his last 5 games he is in the 96th percentile nationally in FT Attempt Rate). He is a better defender than the stats would suggest, but has struggled on that end perhaps because his supporting cast doesn’t do enough to help him out. He is the type of guard that a zone could be effective at taking out of rhythm.

Warren Washington (Center, No. 22, Super Senior, 7’0” 230 lbs.): 10.3 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, and 1.6 BPG on 62/NA/59 splits. Washington leads the team in rebounding, blocked shots and FG%. The journeyman center (transferred from Arizona State after having played for both Nevada and Oregon State) is mostly out there for his excellent rim protection and also his team-best rebounding ability. He is a reverse splits guy in that he plays better on the road than at home this season. His at-the-rim FG% in road games this season 85.7% (97th percentile nationally). It should be fun to see Missi and Ojianwuna compete with this guy down low.

Darrion Williams (Forward, No. 5, Sophomore, 6’6” 220 lbs.): 8.9 PPG, 6.9 BPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.0 SPG on 42/39/87 splits. The Nevada transfer is effectively the team’s starting power forward, albeit a smallish one. He is 3rd on the team in Rebound Rate and 2nd in Defensive Rating. On the offensive end of the floor, he doesn’t take many shots, although he has enough range that you don’t want to leave him open (especially in the corners).

Kerwin Walton (Guard, No. 24, Senior, 6’5” 210 lbs.): 8.1 PPG and 2.3 RPG on 56/52/79 splits. The former North Carolina transfer is a starter, although he has by far the lowest Usage Rate among Tech’s starting lineup (meaning that he doesn’t take many shots or create many assists on the offensive end). It’s a bit befuddling that this is the case considering how talented of a scorer Walton is (he is in the 99th percentile nationally this season in eFG% and TS%). Baylor can’t afford to leave him open but they must also be aware of the fact that Walton is only attempting 5 shots per game this season.

Chance McMillan (Guard, No. 0, Senior 6’3” 180 lbs.): 10.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.0 APG, and 0.7 SPG on 48/44/90 splits. The Grand Canyon transfer is Tech’s leading scorer off the bench. He is a 3P specialist who is 12/21 (57%) from deep over his last 4 games. McMillan’s statistical productivity begins and ends with his scoring ability. He doesn’t give much on the defensive end or as a facilitator on offense. Baylor has to keep this guy from getting open threes. If you ignore his poor performance on right-corner threes, his 3P% this season is 45.7%.

Predictions

Key(s) to the Game

Baylor has to dominate the offensive glass. The Bears are the 2nd best offensive-rebounding team in the Big 12 in conference play while Tech ranks last in the league in defensive rebounding. This is a massive opportunity for the Bears to create second-chance opportunities.

Tech has struggled to score in the paint and has lived at the 3P line this season. Preventing them from getting hot beyond the arc is critical to slowing down their potent offense and to keeping the crowd in the game.

Player of the Game: Jalen Bridges (Baylor): Three things are important here. [1] Jalen is due for a big scoring outburst (since the start of conference play, Jalen has hit 4+ three-pointers 3 times, but has not done so in any of the last 4 games; he’s due). [2] Tech doesn’t have the length to consistently challenge Jalen’s offensive versatility. [3] Jalen has played against Texas Tech 3 times in his career and is averaging 13.0 PPG and 5.2 RPG on 56/46/70 splits in those games (this is the team he has performed best against over the course of his career).

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Baylor Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Final Score: Baylor wins 85-77 (this game could be reminiscent of Baylor’s heartbreaking loss in Austin last month in that it figures to be a high-scoring affair where both sides struggle to come up with regular stops; Baylor’s superior length and home court advantage make the difference; Sic Em!).

Stats courtesy of cbbanalytics.com, sportsreference.com, kenpom.com, evanmiya.com, hoop-explorer.com, big12sports.com, ncaa.com.

Baylor Men's Basketball

No. 15 Bears Outrun No. 7 Kansas 82-74 in Waco

Big 12 Conference

Big 12 MBB Preview: 3/2

Baylor Men's Basketball

Basketpod: Bear Down You Bears