After much off-season hype about this basketball team, the Red Raiders have fallen flat on their face over halfway through Big 12 play. Many in the fan base believe the Red Raiders can salvage this season. There’s 8 games remaining and I look to answer whether or not the Red Raiders can salvage any hope for postseason play.
The Red Raiders have shown flashes of brilliance this season, but never in a consistent fashion. The second half against Iowa State and the first half against Baylor were some of the best basketball the Red Raiders have played this season. However, the second half against Baylor was terrible, with a stagnant offense and a defense that allowed multiple open shooters.
I hope that I eat my words and am completely wrong. No, I don’t think this season is salvageable. I’m not calling for anyone’s job or saying that the coaches or players aren’t doing everything they possibly can to right the ship, because that would be undeniably true. Unfortunately, there are three main reasons this season is all but over. Each of them are detailed below:
The only teams that you have played twice so far is Iowa State and Baylor. While you defeated Iowa State, it took a record-setting comeback. You play Oklahoma State twice and everyone else once this season. I know that some will scoff at Oklahoma State but they are winners of three in a row including victories over a ranked TCU and West Virginia.
Every other team the Red Raiders play this season is currently predicted to make the NCAA Tournament. The Big 12 Conference is looking more and more like a 9-bid conference.
Lack of Versatile Players
Mark Adams thrives with players that can play multiple positions. Last season, most everyone that got significant playing time could play multiple positions. Guys like Adonis Arms, Kevin McCullar, and Terrence Shannon Jr. could guard multiple positions and could play multiple spots on offense.
This season, Coach Adams went after scorers in the transfer portal, as outside shooting was lacking last season. Not only has this team not been effective scoring three-point shots (33% for the season), some of the players brought in are defensive liabilities, something that does not translate to playing time.
Guys like Jaylon Tyson have been very versatile for the Red Raiders this season, playing all guard spots and some forward spots at times this season. Building around Tyson is crucial for next season.
I’m not going to speculate on information that hasn’t been made public by the University. Something’s been off this season. It really started after the Maui Invitational when the team began playing horribly against inferior opponents. The offensive sets run are different on a game-to-game basis and does not appear to be what Assistant Coach Steve Green wanted to bring in when he was brought over from South Plains College in the summer.
In addition to that, the defense has not been up to par this season. Part of that is due to the lack of versatility on the roster this season, but it appears as though something else is going on.
Do you think the Red Raiders can salvage this season? Let us know in the comments below!