2007 Texas Tech Red Raiders Basketball Preview
Coach Bob Knight (126- 73 in six years with Texas Tech, 890- 362 in 41 years overall) got the Texas Tech Red Raiders (21- 12 overall, 9- 7 Big 12) to the NCAA tournament in 2006- 2007 after they missed it the year before. The Raiders, who finished fifth in the conference, were out of the March Madness picks in the first round, losing to Boston College 84- 75.
Ball control was the highpoint for this team as Texas Tech turned the ball over only 11.6 TPG, which ranked the Red Raiders first in the Big 12. But they were seventh in scoring (71.7 PPG) and in scoring defense (69.1 PPG). In rebounding, they were dead last with minus-4.6 RPG. They were 11th in assists, making only 13.3 APG. The Raiders were first in free throws with a .739 ranking. That accuracy certainly helped.
Knight is absent important forwards—Darryl Dora and Jon Plefka—and their 11.6 PPG and 5.9 RPG. Senior center Esmir Rizvic (3.8 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 46.2 FG%), a seven-footer, looks to be a major contributor. Before injury sidelined him, Rizvic was a fine defender. Junior forward Damir Suljagic (1.5 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 38.6 FG%) will be asked to step-up and score, while sophomore Decensae White (4.5 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 48.6 FG%) can shoot, stop opponent’s from scoring and rebound. Freshman D’Walyn Roberts can hit from the outside and inside. This frontcourt has potential but can they come through?
Despite the loss of scoring machine Jarrius Jackson (19.9 PPG), the Raiders still have a potent backcourt. Guard Martin Zeno (16.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.2 APG, 49.5 FG%) is the club’s go-to guy. Senior Charlie Burgess (9.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 44.3 FG%) ably runs the offense.
This is a team that has a lot of questions, but if some guys can step-up the Raiders will see their 15th NCAA pool bracket bid. Knight, who holds the record for most victories in Division I NCAA men’s basketball, still seems to have the fire to win, and he’s confident that he can replace five seniors. But despite the optimism, it will be tough for the Red Raiders to make it to the March Madness lines. The NIT is a more probable achievement.