This blog entry previews our MBB game with Texas Tech this Saturday.

Juice blogs » The Cyclones

Cyclone Showdown with the “Little General” by Jerry Hales
:: February 21st, 2008 :: 10:25 am

When Bob Knight shocked the college basketball world weeks ago by announcing his retirement, the announcement was met with a mixed reaction in Lubbock. While many were shocked and upset to see their storied coach step aside, others were actually happy to see him go. It amazes me what a few years of decent basketball will do to a program. In a place like Texas Tech, where they were basically basketball nobodies for years and years, they were able to get a legendary coach who made them respectable and got them into the tournament a few years. Instead of being grateful and excited, they upped their expectations and became bitter that he didn’t get them 5 star McDonalds All-Americans every year. I for one hope that these fans enjoy their trip back to basketball obscurity without Bob Knight around to lead the program.

The jury is still out on Pat Knight, and he has probably been in the limelight more than a first year coach should be because of his father’s long shadow. He did have a signature win over Kansas State at home earlier this year, but his team is just 2-3 since he took over. Because he was an assistant to his father for several years, his style is somewhat similar. It will be interesting to see what kind of recruiter he will be, because many of the talented players they did snag were likely drawn by the big name of Bob Knight. The next couple of years will definitely be watched closely by both Red Raider fans and the Big 12 in general.

So how will all of this play out on Saturday when Iowa State heads to Lubbock to take on the Red Raiders? That will depend on a multitude of variables. Both teams have been up and down this season, especially recently. Iowa State took Texas to the wire and had them dead to rights, then lost the game and opened the first half against Nebraska with 11 points. As everybody knows they went on to drill them in the second half and get a much needed win. Texas Tech got beaten soundly by Nebraska about 2 weeks ago, then pounded a great K-State team before losing at home against Oklahoma in the following game.

The key to this game is taking advantage of our strength in the paint, while neutralizing their guards. They have 2-3 ogres in the paint that won’t do much offensively, but offer up 10-15 fouls each game. We have to keep going inside and getting points out of Hubalek and Brackins/Thompson. In contrast, the Red Raiders highlight some terrific guards that can beat you in different ways. Alan Voskuil is a deadly shooter who can’t be given an inch or he’ll light us up quicker than you can say “A.J. Abrams”. Martin Zeno is a guard that wants to penetrate and get to the rim every time he touches it. I would think we would back off him and let him shoot it rather than having him get inside, and I’d look for Rahshon Clark or Wesley Johnson to cover him up. That leaves us with John Roberson at the point. Roberson is only 5′11″ and a freshman, but he was the Texas High School Player of the Year last year. He is lightning quick and can get his shot off in a hurry. I would guess that Peterson/Garrett would be on him, and that is going to be a key match-up because at times both of those guys can be exposed defensively.

In my opinion this game is wide open. Texas Tech will likely be favored at home, and rightfully so, but this is a game that we can get and it would be huge to go on the road and come back with a victory. Our bye came at a great time, and having a week to recover from all of our sickness and injury will hopefully go a long way. We know that Coach McDermott will come out with a good plan against the Red Raiders, it will be up to the players to execute it on defense and to be able to get something going on offense. If we lay another 11 point egg in the first half on the road Saturday, it might turn rotten in the second half. Despite the chance of rotten eggs, I’m going on record as saying ISU 63 TT 58.