LUBBOCK, Texas — For Texas Tech coach Chris Walker, it’s harder to find something not to like about Kansas State.
The Red Raiders’ coach was complimentary of the work done by Kansas State coach Bruce Weber during Monday’s Big 12 coaches’ teleconference.
“I think the Cats are awesome,” he said. “Probably the best motion offense in college basketball. They’re really aggressive on defense, they’ve got an experienced bunch — we’re fired up to compete against them.”
The Red Raiders are looking to duplicate the work they did against Iowa State two weeks ago as they welcome K-State to Lubbock tonight. But Walker admits that might be tough to pull off against one of the stingiest defenses in the league.
“They just take you out of your stuff and they use pressure,” he said. “They really keep you out of rhythm and you can’t get a rhythm against them. It’s always hard to go against those teams.”
Walker said the biggest problem for his team this season has been its concentration, leading to countless turnovers. But he said it’s exactly what you expect out of a team full of youth and inexperience.
The Wildcats thrive on causing turnovers, while keeping their own mistakes to a minimum. Keeping the turnover numbers down became crucial for K-State as it held on to beat Oklahoma 52-50 on Saturday.
Weber said he hoped keeping the Sooners to 50 points was more about something his team did rather than Oklahoma having a poor shooting day.
“Our kids were very locked-in,” he said. “We made it tough on them and we didn’t give them any easy baskets. To go there and do that, I was really pleased with our kids.”
The Wildcats have received attention for the revitalized offensive attack since Weber arrived, but one thing that has stayed constant from the past few seasons, is the defensive intensity.
Weber said they had very little work to do on the defensive end when he arrived.
“I’ve given praise to Frank Martin,” Weber said. “He created a culture of toughness, defense, and we’ve just kind of carried it over. He started it — the foundation was set — we just tweaked it some.”
As the Big 12 season reaches its midpoint, several teams are trying to make pushes to strengthen their NCAA tournament resumes.
Although some college basketball experts are predicting the league to get as few as four bids to the tournament, Walker said he sees several worthy teams.
“I still see about five or six teams that have the opportunity,” he said. “I’ve been really impressed. Hopefully we get better by the end of the year and the league does, because when the league gets better, every one prospers.”