Game Plan: What Texas Tech Must Do To Beat Florida

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 15: Jarrett Culver
DALLAS, TX - MARCH 15: Jarrett Culver /

A Sweet 16 trip is on the line today when Texas Tech faces Florida.  Here is a game plan for how the Red Raiders can knock off the Gators.

Texas Tech survived a scare against No. 14 Stephen F. Austin Thursday in a game in which the Red Raiders played poorly for the first 30 minutes.  Now facing a Florida team that has won four of its last five games, the Red Raiders know that they must play a much stronger overall game if they are to survive again.

Here is our game plan for a Texas Tech victory.

Culver Must Respond

Texas Tech true freshman forward Jarrett Culver was easily the weakest link in the Red Raider chain against SFA.  The team’s second-leading scorer was held to just six points (five below his season average) and he committed for turnovers.

It was one of the first times all season that the Lubbock native has looked overwhelmed.  Against Florida, Culver must respond with a quality performance.

Keenan Evans bailed out Texas Tech with 23 points in round one but he will be playing his second game in three days on his injured toe.  There is no guarantee that he will be as effective tonight.  It is a must that Tech receive more offensive production from Culver who has proven on numerous occasions that he can be an offensive catalyst.

Score In The Post

UF is a quality defensive team on the perimeter but struggles in the paint.  Unfortunately, Texas Tech does not have a dominant post scorer on the roster.  However, Norense Odiase, Tommy Hamilton and Zach Smith are all capable of putting the ball in the hoop down low.

There is no reason to think that a Texas Tech big man will have a 20-point outburst but the collective group must give the Red Raiders more than they did against SFA.

Odiase was held scoreless playing only nine minutes as Texas Tech went to a smaller lineup for virtually the entire second half.  Meanwhile, Hamilton had only two points in eleven minutes and went 0-2 from deep.

Florida is a poor rebounding team that has a -2.2 rebound margin on the season.  Thus, Odiase,  Hamilton and Zach Smith (9 points versus SFA) should crash the glass on the offensive end and score ugly baskets.

The duo of Hamilton and Odiase is averaging just under 10 points a game.  When Texas Tech went on its seven-game winning streak in Big 12 play, one of those two big men was a factor on offense almost every night.

Odiase had 14 big points against Oklahoma and seven against South Carolina.  Meanwhile, Hamilton scored 14 versus Kansas State, nine at South Carolina and eight against both Texas and Oklahoma.  If Texas Tech’s big men can give the team 15 combined points, some of the scoring burden will be lifted off of Keenan Evans shoulders.

Attack the Rim

One of the turning points in the game against SFA on Thursday night was when Texas Tech decided to stop settling for outside shots and started attacking the basket.  Tech is not a three-point shooting team and it can’t afford to try to out shoot Florida.

In the first half against SFA, Tech attempted 11 threes but in the second half that number shrunk to just five.  When Keenan Evans and his teammates began to attack off the dribble it put the Lumberjacks in foul trouble as well as taking a physical toll.

With Florida’s weakness being its post players, Tech must go to the basket at every opportunity.  Doing so will give the Red Raider big men opportunities for put-back baskets.  However, three point shots are far more likely to be rebounded by a smaller team because they produce long rebounds that smaller and quicker players can ofter track down.

Often, when a team plays against a three-point shooting team, it can be goaded into trying to match its opponent shot-for-shot.  Texas Tech needs to remember that this is not a game of H-O-R-S-E and stick to what it does best, drive the ball to the basket.


This game appears to be a very even matchup between to tough and athletic teams.  This will essentially be a home game for Texas Tech and that will factor into the outcome.  Ultimately, the Dallas crowd will propel Texas Tech to the Sweet 16.

 Final Score: Texas Tech: 76  Florida: 72