Texas Tech could not keep pace at the line
Prior to the game, we discussed the importance of the free-throw line noting that it would be essential for Tech to have an edge there. That’s how the Red Raiders won their first three games, by having one of the largest advantages in free-throw attempts of any team in the nation.
However, it was Villanova that made a killing one point at a time on Wednesday. Making 26-32 of their free throws, the Wildcats were excellent at the line (81.3%).
On the other hand, Tech was only 13-22 (59.1%). Thus, even if Tech had made all of its free throws, it still would have had a deficit of four points in that regard. As it was, though, the disparity was 13 points. That accounted for the bulk of the margin of victory for Villanova.
Again, this issue can be traced back to the difference in the physicality of the two teams. Tech launched 12 more 3-pointers than ‘Nova because of their inability to create any dribble penetration.
That led to an expected free-throw disadvantage. Unfortunately, when this team doesn’t have an edge at the line, it is likely going to struggle to score points.
There is no one on this roster who currently displays the ability to take over games and create offense for his teammates. Pop Isaacs has the potential to be that guy given his overall talent but he is not playing at his best to start this season.
Outside of him, Tech appears to have few go-to options for offense. That means that when the other team is on a run and the Red Raiders need a bucket to stop the bleeding, the free-throw line is often a way to stop a negative streak.
However, when a team takes only 15 shots from inside the arc as Tech did, that team isn’t going to be rewarded with a ton of free throws. Hopefully, this game provides a lesson for McCasland to teach about the importance of getting into the lane and earning the right to go to the line.