Monday is always a slow night in college hoops, but there are still some things that we need to talk about.
These are those things.
1. TEXAS TECH MIGHT HAVE FIGURED THINGS OUT
No. 24 Texas Tech won their third straight game on Monday night, absolutely mollywhopping TCU in Lubbock to the tune of a 88-42 win.
Jahmi’us Ramsey and Davide Moretti both had 17 points in the win. As a team, the Red Raiders shot 59 percent from three. Either Baylor or Kansas — and maybe both — is going to end up winning the Big 12 regular season title, but at this point, it seems like the Red Raiders have solidified themselves as the third best team in that conference.
Perhaps more importantly, it feels like Chris Beard’s team has started to actually figure things out.
Bart Torvik runs a website that is similar to KenPom in the sense that it is an analytics driven database that ranks all college basketball teams based on a number of different stats and algorithms that are beyond the comprehension of my feeble mind. What I do understand, however, is how to tinker with some of the stats that Torvik provides, and one of the cool things about is site is that it allows to you see how a team ranks over a specific period of time. When it comes to Texas Tech, they jumped up into the top 20 nationally with this win over the Horned Frogs, but they are a top five team in the country since January 1st. If you whittle that dataset down to January 26th, the day after the lost to Kentucky and the day before they beat West Virginia at home, Texas Tech has been the best team in all of college basketball.
Most importantly, they seem to have figured out how to take advantage of all the weapons they have on the offensive end of the floor. They’ve ranked as the ninth-best offense in college basketball for the last three weeks. They rank 21st nationally in offensive efficiency since Jan. 1st. That stretch has bumped them up from a team that was outside the top 100 in offensive efficiency to one that sits at 49th on Torvik and 54th KenPom.
Put another way, Kyler Edwards is playing some of his best ball of the season, Davide Moretti is back to being Davide Moretti, Jahmi’us Ramsey is doing what he does and T.J. Holyfield is finally playing like a guy that can be a weapon on the perimeter.
I feel comfortable saying this now: Beard has solved the Rubix Cube that his this year’s Texas Tech team.
2. DUKE BEAT FLORIDA STATE
Jordan Goldwire committed to Duke as an afterthought, an AAU teammate of Alex O’Connell’s that joined the program because the Blue Devils were point guard deficient in the Class of 2017. I’m not sure that, when he committed, anyone would have predicted that he would turn into a starter for a top ten Duke team and a guy that plays a pretty significant role as a glue guy.
On Monday night, he led the team with 13 points, hitting all five of this shots and three threes, as Duke outlasted Florida State in Cameron, 70-65.
The Blue Devils now sit at 21-3 after this win, but I will say this: Duke has won their last two games by a total of seven points after their opponents shot 33-for-58 from the free throw line. Regression has to hit at some point. Just something to keep an eye on.
3. BAYLOR’S WIN STREAK DID NOT END AT TEXAS
In a hideous display of offensive basketball, No. 1 Baylor won their 22nd consecutive game with a 52-45 win in Austin over Texas.
The loss drops the Longhorns to 14-10 overall and just 4-7 in the Big 12. They really only have one good win on the season — at Purdue — and that came all the way back on Nov. 9th, the same day that Baylor suffered their only loss of the season. They’ve now lost three straight games, the latter two were potential marquee wins at home. Four of their next six games are on the road, and one of the home games is against West Virginia.
Things could get really bad for Shaka Smart’s Longhorns in the next three weeks.