When the Texas Tech basketball team finally returns to the court, the following players will be x-factors that help determine how the rest of the season plays out.
In the midst of an unexpected off week, the Texas Tech basketball team finds itself at a natural place to regroup and improve after a brutal stretch of games that saw the Red Raiders go 1-1 against a pair of top-5 opponents.
Now, with that hiatus in the rearview, the attention turns to another difficult two-game stretch. Monday, Chris Beard and his team will be in Morgantown, West Virginia to take on the No. 14 Mountaineers. It’s a place where Tech has won only once in program history and one of the toughest places to play in the conference.
What might be working against the Red Raiders is that WVU had a chance on Saturday to knock off the rust after their own COVID-19 related shutdown that saw them have to postpone three-consecutive games of their own. Facing Kansas State in Manhattan, Bob Huggins‘ team eased back into the Big 12 fight with a workmanlike 69-47 victory over the Wildcats, one of the worst teams in the league.
After Tech faces the Big 12’s longest road trip, they will then head back out on the road on Saturday to face LSU on Saturday. That game will be no picnic as the Tigers are 10-4 overall and 8-1 at home on the season.
However, the tide has started to turn on the bayou as LSU has dropped their last two games, both by double digits. Thus, one might believe that they will be motivated to play their best basketball of the season this week as their pride has certainly been damaged. Fortunately, on Tuesday, they will have an opportunity to take out their frustrations on a Texas A&M team that is just 2-5 on the season in conference play.
The good news for the Red Raiders, though, is that they have had a full week to prepare for this tricky two-game stretch. And hopefully, when the Red Raiders return to action, the following players will take their games to a new level because they are going to be x-factors down the stretch of this season.
True freshman Micah Peavy appears to be growing up as his first swim through Big 12 play progresses. If that growth continues for the remainder of the season, the Red Raiders will be a much more difficult team to deal with.
So far, Peavy is averaging a respectable 5.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. He’s also dishing out 1.4 assists per outing, good for 4th on the team.
What you have to like about Peavy’s play this year is that he’s performed well against quality opponents. For instance, he had 12 points against Houston, 8 points against Kansas, and 6 points (and 3 offensive rebounds) against Baylor. That’s proof that he isn’t intimidated when facing the top teams in the nation.
Now, he needs to continue to build upon a recent stretch of solid play. Over his last four games, he’s put up 6.3 points per game. That came on the heels of a three-game stretch that saw him score a total of just seven points with two of those performances being scoreless.
It is becoming more and more apparent that Beard prefers to play small ball when forward Marcus Santos-Silva has to leave the court. In those situations, he relies on the 6-foot-7 Peavy to be a pseudo big man and play tough minutes in and around the lane.
Thus, it will be important for Beard to continue to get production from Peavy, both on the scoreboard and on the backboards. If that happens, Tech will be able to hold its own with any team it faces the rest of the way.