Texas Tech basketball: Red Raiders sloppy in victory over UTA

Dec 21, 2023; Lubbock, Texas, USA;  Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Pop Isaacs (2) dribbles the ball
Dec 21, 2023; Lubbock, Texas, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Pop Isaacs (2) dribbles the ball / Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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Texas Tech adjusts to guard the 3-point shot

Early in this game, UTA hung around thanks to some hot 3-point shooting. That's been a concern for Tech all season.

The Mavericks made five 3s in the first 13 minutes of the game with the final one cutting Tech's lead to 24-21. At the break, McCasland specifically mentioned to the TV crew that his team had to find a way to guard the outside shot and it appears that the halftime message was received.

Not having enough knowledge of Tech's system to know what adjustments were made, I can't say exactly what Tech did to guard the 3-ball more closely but whatever the plan was, it worked. In the first half, UTA was 5-17 (29.4%) while in the second, the Mavericks shot just 3-11 (27.2%).

The key wasn't what Tech allowed UTA to shoot in terms of percentage but rather, the number of 3s that Tech allowed to be hoisted. That decrease from the first half to the second half would suggest that Tech either tightened up their defensive rotations or started to play more aggressively around the perimeter.

Either way, 3-point defense is a concern for the Red Raiders. Tech is merely average in that regard ranking 133rd nationally in 3-point percentage allowed (31.6%).

That number could change when Big 12 play arises, though. Four teams in the conference (Baylor, Kansas, BYU, and Oklahoma State) are in the top 50 nationally in 3-point shooting percentage with the Bears being the best in the nation.

Keep an eye on how Tech guards the deep ball as the season picks up steam. For stretches this year, Tech has been vulnerable in that area and if the Red Raiders aren't stronger in that area, some Big 12 teams will make them pay.