Arizona vs Texas Tech Preview
On the surface, Arizona’s schedule appears to pick up with a game at Texas Tech on Saturday. After all, the Red Raiders are from a BCS conference and Lubbock will be the Wildcats' first road test of the season. Furthermore, Texas Tech is undefeated and second in the nation in scoring at 89 points per game. The Red Raiders early season success, however, is only masking the fact they are in major rebuilding mode.
While awaiting a permanent head coach, Texas Tech is led by interim coach Chris Walker. The Red Raiders have feasted on cupcake teams at home (sound familiar?) en route to four relatively easy wins. Astonishingly, the Red Raiders have no out-of-conference road games on their schedule.
Texas Tech has been a balanced squad so far. Seven players average at least 7.5 points and none play more than about 26 minutes per game. Forward Jaye Crockett has emerged as a go-to player. The 6’7” Junior averages 16 points and nine rebounds while shooting a scorching 65% from the field. It should make for a marquee match-up when he squares off against Solomon Hill. Unsung hero:
A decent amount of attention has been paid to Seniors Mark Lyons and Hill, as well as emerging freshman star Brandon Ashley. Meanwhile, just outside the spotlight, Nick Johnson is putting up impressive numbers. In addition to scoring more than 10 points per game, the ultra athletic sophomore leads his team in assists and steals—and it’s not even close. Johnson has eight more assists and three more steals than the next closest Wildcats. On a team that lacks a pure pass-first point guard, Johnson’s ability to distribute is of vital importance. Prediction:
Texas Tech is a big time opponent in name only. While it will be interesting to see how the freshmen react to the first hostile environment of their college careers, it seems unlikely a trip to Lubbock will phase them. Arizona should win going away.