The Texas Tech defense was a no-show
Grant McCasland has made his name by coaching teams that play elite defense. That has been the case at Texas Tech for the most part however, in this game, the Red Raiders played horrible in that aspect.
For the game, the Bulldogs shot 54.6% from the floor. That’s unacceptable if you are McCasland.
Much of what Butler was able to do came right at the rim. Yes, Thad Matta’s team did hit 12 of its 27 shots from beyond the arc but the real problem for Tech was that time and again, Butler had easy dunks or layups in the paint.
What was most damaging for the Red Raider defense was the poor night for center Warren Washington. Playing only 26 of the game’s 45 minutes, Tech’s only big man was ineffective, and down the stretch, McCasland elected to go with a small-ball lineup even that that required 6-foot-6 forward Devan Cambridge to be Tech’s biggest player on the floor against a Butler team that features multiple players 6-foot-10 or taller.
Washington managed only six boards on the night, a huge reason why Butler had such a decided advantage on the glass. He did score ten points but Tech needs him to be as effective on defense and he wasn’t on this night.
Texas Tech’s defense has not been close to elite thus far under McCasland. In fact, the Red Raiders are now only 30th nationally in the KenPom.com adjusted defensive efficiency rating.
While that number is toward the top of the NCAA standings, it is not at a level that this program is accustomed to being at when it has fielded its strongest teams. In 2019, Tech led the nation in that statistic on the way to the National Championship Game as it did in 2022, the season that Mark Adams took the Red Raiders to the Sweet 16.
This year, Tech doesn’t have the size at guard or on the wing to play that type of defense and it showed against Butler as the Bulldogs got to wherever they wanted to go on offense. While it was great to see the Red Raiders post 83 points in regulation, that efficient offensive night was wasted because the team’s signature defense didn’t make the trip to Indy.