Texas Tech Opens Big 12 Tournament Against Texas Wednesday
Tubby Smith will lead his Texas Tech Red Raiders into the 2015 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri Wednesday as the No.10 seed to face the University of Texas.
"We have steadily made progress and it is starting to show," Smith said. "Over the last five games, we have made strides. We are shooting better. We have defended better. We have grown up a lot."
"When you think we started the season with seven new players and only had two players on the roster who have significantly started," he added. "We were young. We are young. But we have started to turn the corner."
The last time the Red Raiders and Longhorns met, senior guard Robert Turner scored 10 points to lead Texas Tech, but it wasn't enough as the Red Raiders fell to Texas, 56-41.
Zach Smith, a 6-8 freshman power forward, leads the team in starts and minutes played this season. He has been a steady contributor each night in league play. He is averaging 8.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.5 blocks, while shooting 70.2 percent from the field in 32.9 minutes over the last eight games. He has five double-digit scoring efforts, with four coming in the last seven games.
Smith and Norense Odiase have also been a presence in the middle of the paint. The pair have combined for 64 blocks. Odiase has also taken a team-best 17 charges this season. Odiase has averaged 10.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.0 blocks over the last seven games.
Also figuring in the mix are redshirt Junior Toddrick Gotcher and Turner. Gotcher is averaging 10.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists over the last 4 games. Turner has chipped in 8.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists over the last two games.
"If we play within ourselves and cut down on our mistakes, anything can happen in the conference tournament," added Smith.
The game can be seen on ESPNU at 8 p.m.