Tech’s early-season defensive prowess
Most Texas Tech basketball fans know that the defensive system that the Red Raiders run is unique. It has principles and concepts that most players are not accustomed to following.
Thus, with five players who were not on the roster prior to this year logging at least 18.4 minutes per game, it would not have been a surprise if the defense would have been slow to round into shape this season. But that hasn’t been the case.
Rather, Tech has already come together on that end of the floor and is putting up numbers that are close to what the 2018-19 team put up defensively.
For instance, Tech leads the nation in the KenPom.com adjusted defensive efficiency rating (an estimate of how many points per 100 possessions the Red Raiders are allowing). Giving up 85.5 points per 100 possessions, Tech is allowing only 1.4 more points than the team that went to the 2019 National Title Game. Were Tech to stay at 85.5 for the entire year, that would be a number that would have led the nation in all but five seasons since 2002.
Making this defensive effort all the more impressive has been the fact that Tech is playing ridiculously good defense regardless of the caliber of the opponent. While we all expect the lesser teams on the schedule to struggle against the Red Raiders, it’s been impressive that Beard’s team has held Houston, Kansas, and OU (the first two of which are currently ranked in the top 5 in the nation) to an average of just 63 points.
Now, Tech has also welcomed back its best perimeter defender, Kevin McCullar, who made his season debut on Tuesday night after missing the season’s first nine games with a sprained ankle. Thus, the defense this team is playing may only get better as the year progresses.