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 been reached.
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.
Tech 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.