Texas Tech Q&A: Gonzaga's high-powered offense faces Red Raiders' stout defense

<p><p>Gonzaga returns to the court for the first time in nine days when it faces No. 25 Texas Tech on Saturday at Footprint Center in Phoenix.</p></p><p><p>The fifth-ranked Zags (8-2) are tangling with their fifth ranked opponent in 11 games. Texas Tech’s lone loss came against Providence, 72-68, but the Red Raiders rebounded with a 57-52 overtime win against then No. 13 Tennessee.</p></p><p><p>Texas Tech has been one of the nation’s top defensive teams under Mark Adams, who is in his first season as head coach but was essentially the “defensive coordinator” under former coach Chris Beard. The Red Raiders are No. 18 in KenPom’s ratings, including No. 7 in adjusted defensive efficiency, while No. 2 Gonzaga is second in offensive efficiency.</p></p><p><p>We quizzed Carlos Silva Jr., sports editor at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, for a closer look at the Red Raiders. Silva covers Texas Tech’s sports programs and took time to answer five questions on a busy Wednesday with college football’s national signing day.</p></p><p><p class=”xmsonormal”>Texas Tech has won all three series meetings, including a 75-69 victory over the top-seeded Zags in the 2019 Elite Eight. The Red Raiders defeated GU 73-63 in the 2007 Great Alaska Shootout and 71-69 in the second round of 2005 NCAA Tournament.</p></p><p><p><strong>S-R:</strong> Was it a essentially foregone conclusion Adams would replace Beard when Beard was hired at Texas?</p></p><p><p><strong>CS:</strong> Not sure if foregone conclusion is the best way to phrase it, but Adams had a leg up on several candidates who were interviewed or interested in position following Beard’s departure. Adams’ link to previous players and understanding of the program – which held a defensive identity due to his no-middle defense – were some of the reasons he was chosen as the new leader of the program.</p></p><p><p>Some of those names included UNT’s Grant McCasland, former Abilene Christian and current UTEP coach Joe Golding and Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham. Long story short, things worked out well.</p></p><p><p><strong>S-R:</strong> Adams is considered a defensive guru and certainly Texas Tech’s stats over the last 4-5 seasons are indicative of the Red Raiders’ prowess defensively. What are the main principles of Adams’ defensive system?</p></p><p><p><strong>CS: </strong>Adams runs a no-middle defense, which was run to perfection with the perfect complement of guards last season at Baylor when it secured the national championship. The no-middle defense keeps opponents out of the middle while limiting passing angles and trapping baseline drivers with an aggressive defense that knows where the ball can be thrown.</p></p><p><p><strong>S-R:</strong> Does Texas Tech’s playing style under Adams look different or pretty much the same as it did under Beard?</p></p><p><p><strong>CS:</strong> It looks different with more sets since the motion offense, made famous by Bob Knight – who Chris Beard considers a friend and mentor <span>– </span>has been altered to a more up-tempo style that includes fastbreak (opportunities) created by defensive turnovers and 3-pointers since Adams and his coaching staff recruited quality shooters. This includes posts Bryson Williams and Kevin Obanor.</p></p><p><p><strong>S-R:</strong> Terrence Shannon Jr., who was limited to 16 minutes due to back spasms in Tuesday’s win over Arkansas State, declared for the NBA draft before opting to return for his junior season. What makes the 6-6, 215-pound Shannon such an effective scorer?</p></p><p><p><strong>CS: </strong>He’s difficult to slow down one-on-one and when he gets a step on a defender he will either end up with a dunk, layup or 3-point opportunity. This season, though, Adams stated the next step for Shannon is being consistent from the 3-point line and filling up the stat sheet: rebounds, assists.</p></p><p><p>He’s done that a couple of times – notably securing his second career double-double (18 points, 12 rebounds) in an overtime win against then No. 13 Tennessee at Madison Square Garden.</p></p><p><p><strong>S-R:</strong> What are the game keys for Texas Tech against No. 5 Gonzaga?</p></p><p><p><strong>CS:</strong> Win the rebounding battle, keep turnovers under 10 and establish the inside-out game. The Red Raiders have been fine defensively, but offense has been an issue due to costly turnovers or not being able to get a post player to score with consistency on the low block.</p></p>