Walker Has Lost the
Team: I wondered when the repeated drubbings would finally knock the heart
out of this Texas Tech team. When the team would give up and stop putting forth
maximum effort. When the players, through lack of results on the scoreboard,
would cease buying into what the coaches are selling. It appears that point has
In previous losses, even bad ones, the Red Raiders played
hard from opening tap to final buzzer. That was not the case tonight. Tech came
out lethargic and listless against an Oklahoma State team that needs no
unearned advantages. And the results showed, primarily on the defensive end,
where the Cowboys scored 55 first half points, and could have equaled that tally
in the second had not coach Travis Ford been merciful.
Sadly, the future offers no reprieve. Road battles at West Virginia, Iowa State, Kansas State and Kansas loom, along with home tilts
against an aggressive, athletic Oklahoma team and a Texas club that annihilated
Tech in Austin. Only a home tilt against TCU looks like it could be a
competitive game. It is a very sad situation.
Better than OSU’s Scrubs? With
11 minutes remaining and his squad holding a commanding 73-44 lead, Travis Ford
inserted the backups. Chris Walker did not. Consequently, Tech’s best faced
Oklahoma State’s bench. The result? The Red Raiders shaved a mere five points
off the deficit in 11 minutes of play. Pretty sorry. And it says a great deal
when the opposing coach is so unimpressed by the competition that he basically
calls off the dogs with more than a quarter of the game left to play.
No Progress: Tech’s
Big 12 losses have been, in chronological order, by 34, 14, 18, 34, 16, 16, 9,
27, and 24 points. The average margin of defeat has been 21 points. Tech’s only
wins came in the conference opener and in game six. The scoreboard indicates no
improvement, and neither does the execution on the court. The Red Raiders have
not even been competitive during conference play.
Nobody in their right mind would expect this squad to near
the break-even mark in Big 12 play, but it is not unreasonable to expect a
serviceable product that at least keeps outcomes somewhat in doubt deep into
the second half. This has not happened. Games have been over by halftime, and
in cases such as tonight, were essentially decided six minutes into the game. I
cannot imagine this is acceptable to a man like Kirby Hocutt.
Unlikely Stopper: Chris
Walker once declared that Dusty Hannahs will never be
a stopper. Yet there Hannahs was in the second half,
guarding Markel Brown, who had scorched Tech for 25 points in the first half.
Brown played only seven minutes in the second stanza, but give Hannahs credit,
he cooled Brown off and kept him from scratching the points column. Brown
simply did not get open looks as he did in the first half when Jamal Williams,
Josh Gray and Toddrick Gotcher
took turns guarding him. Suffice it to say, Hannahs was the only bright spot
for the Red Raiders on this night.