Tortilla Tossin’ Player of the Game: Clarence Nadolny is it for me, despite not being the leading scorer. Nadolny scored 17 going 6 of 13 from the floor, including 2 misses from deep, making all 5 free throws, 3 boards, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 3 steals, and all 6 fouls.
Multi-Purpose Player of the Game: Going a bit under the radar here, it was absolutely pivotal to have another ball-handler in addition to Nadolny and Adonis Arms, so I’m going with Mylik Wilson who created some fantastic opportunities in 23 minutes, scoring just 5 points, but grabbing 4 boards, dishing 5 assists, 2 turnovers, and a steal for the day.
- The first thing I noticed when looking at the game book was that Texas Tech absolutely punked Kansas in the paint. Texas Tech had 44 points in the paint to just 18 for Kansas. That’s just silly, and yes, Kansas had an advantage in three-point shooting, but it’s not enough to make up the difference in dominating inside. Add in 15 second chance points and that’s your game right there. That’s your 8 point win.
- Really it was that first half defense that helped too. Texas Tech held Kansas to 35% shooting in the first half and 3 of 11 outside, while Texas Tech made 47% of their shots in the first half. Both teams played to a draw in the second half, each scoring 42 points and Kansas shot significantly better, up to 54%, while Texas Tech also shot better, 56%.
- This was the game of Clarence Nadolny. He was the player of the game, despite not being the leading scorer. For me, I think this was Nadolny wanting to take the fight to Kansas from the tip. You sort of hate to call guys like Nadolny gritty because it sometimes imply that he lacks skill, but for Nadolny, I kind of buy into the idea that he’s more grit than skill and I think that’s okay. He’s never been a great shooter, but he puts it all on the line when he plays, constantly on the floor. That doesn’t mean that Nadolny doesn’t have skill, you don’t get to this level without it, and his game has improved so much, but he’s a bowling ball in so many ways and that can affect a game. The steal off the inbounds in the sort of thing I’m talking about. That’s both skill and grit and in your face all at the same time.
- I have the quote from Mark Adams below, but his idea of make winning plays is certainly helped by the lineup that he had on the floor at particular times. When he needed guys to handle the ball, he went with Nadolny, Wilson, Arms, Warren, and a big. When he needed to break the zone, he went with Santos-Silva and another big as well. He definitely helped create situations where the team could succeed.
- Bryson Williams would have received the player of the game in most situations, 22 points on 9 of 13 is fantastic, but he did miss 4 of 7 free throws, he did have 8 boards, and 3 assists without a turnover. That last bit is important as Williams tends to force the issue, but he didn’t yesterday and that benefited him greatly.
- The guys that contributed 7 or 8 points yesterday where all significant. Kevin Obanor’s 7 points and 7 boards were important. Davion Warren’s 7 points and defense were critical. Arms’ 8 points and 4 assists were absolutely necessary. Marcus Santos-Silva, I could have sworn he would have had a double-double, but he had just 7 points and 4 rebounds, but add in 2 steals and 2 blocked shots and he’s added a ton as well.
- If you want to dip your toe into advanced numbers, the only net positive players for Texas Tech were Williams, Wilson, and Santos-Silva. Everyone else had a net negative effect. Take for example Nadolny, from a box score standpoint, he was +11, but with BPM, he was +4.4 and to break that down further, he was 0.5 on offense and 3.9 on defense for a overall rating of -0.1. That’s fancy numbering, but overall, Nadolny’s biggest impact was on defense and those numbers sort of prove that out. Those numbers also maybe dismiss how important his 17 points were because I don’t think Texas Tech wins without them, but the idea is still the same in that these numbers don’t take into account the feel for a game, which I definitely have an appreciation for.
- Texas Tech’s 12 turnovers were also important and then add in 18 assists and that’s a team that’s moving the ball and keeping those turnovers relatively low.
- Head coach Mark Adams: “I think we’ve grown up a lot. There’s a toughness about us that we may not have a few weeks ago or even when we played Gonzaga and Providence. These guys didn’t quit. They came up with big plays. We talked in the huddle ‘make winning plays’ in the last four or five minutes. I think everybody, including (the media), knew this was going to be a nail bitter. We weren’t going to win by 15-20 because Kansas doesn’t quit. It came down to a few plays in the last few minutes and I’m just really proud of our guys for making the big plays to get the win.”
- Up next? The grind does not stop. Texas Tech will travel to Waco to take on Baylor on Tuesday, January 11th, tip-off is at 6:00 pm, set to be televised on ESPN2.