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Previewing Tennessee Tech

2009 Scouting Report / 2009 Game Plan / 2010 Scouting Report / 2010 Game Plan
2010 Stats
2011 Roster
2011 Schedule


TTU Offense 08-09
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 49.3 159
Turnover Rate 21.6 246
Off Reb Rate 34.0 124
FTA/FGA 33.3 252
TTU Offense 09-10
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 51.4 64
Turnover Rate 21.8 252
Off Reb Rate 33.9 130
FTA/FGA 41.4 83






Officially, Tennessee Tech's mascot is the Golden Eagle because they are so pervasive seventy miles east of Nashville, Tennessee.  But wikipedia has the real story:

"Dammit the Dog": a former university president once said "dammit" to a dog in front of a crowd. He covered by saying that was the dog's name. The dog has his own tombstone, an operable fire hydrant, on TTU campus opposite Derryberry Hall.

The dog's tombstone is an operable fire hydrant!  Outstanding.  In the pantheon of swear-word-associated mascots, he's right up there with Mr. Are You Shitting Me?, the University of Texas at Arlington's late, beloved poodle.

Head coach Mike Sutton has done an admirable job crafting a team in Dammit's image.  Tech shot the ball well in 2010 but squandered too many possessions with turnovers--and the defense, good heavens the defense.  Rare were the possessions that dammits and other more forceful lamentations did not fly left and right.

Starters (lots of guesswork based on TTU's exhibition game)

Zac Swansey (6-1, 180) -- Transferred from Georgia after his freshman season.  That was a good move.

Zach Bailey (6-1, 175) -- Was not good at basketball last season and probably remains not good at basketball.

Kevin Murphy (6-6, 185) -- Murphy has been a high-usage player ever since he set foot on campus.  He was Tech's leading scorer a year ago and there is no reason to believe that will change this season.  He's turnover-prone but an otherwise effective and versatile scorer.  It's tough to pin him down, though: in '09 he was terrible from two and excellent from three; last year, vice versa.  He's not a high efficiency guy--he's yet to post an eFG% above 49.0 in a full season--and could probably stand to pass up a few shots here and there.  But there's no question he's going to be State's primary concern on Friday.

Alfred Jones (6-7, 205) -- Free Alfred Jones!  Some guys' profiles just scream "give this dude more touches." Jones is a case in point.  He made 62.9% of his twos and over 40% of his threes as a lightly-used sophomore, and added minutes and workload as a junior in 2010 at no cost to his effectiveness: he made 68.8% of his 173 two-point attempts. (He stopped attempting threes, presumably out of a misplaced sense of mercy.)  But he took just 17.2% of the shots last year, putting him squarely in role player territory.  Four other Eagles took more; all were less effective, not surprisingly--it's pretty tough to match 69%.  If Jones is going to step into the go-to role that it appears he's capable of handling, now is the time.  But a player's usage often says as much about his personality on the floor as it does about how his coaches utilize him.  Some guys don't have it in their nature to assert themselves and become that focal point player.  We saw that with Derrick Favors, for example, who deferred to his senior but less effective frontcourt mates last year.  (I don't mean that as a knock.)  Maybe it's true of Jones as well.  Tennessee Tech had better hope not, and they'd better do whatever they can to make sure he's getting more opportunities. 

Terrell Barnes (6-8, 225) -- Barnes didn't play very often as a freshman last season and may sit in favor of Dennis Ogbe or Liam McMorrow.  Barnes was a good offensive rebounder but judging by his shooting percentages should never have been allowed to attempt a field goal.


In the media guide, Sutton says the team has the "talent and depth to rotate numbers up into the teens." Look, he's the head coach at Tennessee Tech; it's understood that he's been drinking.

Jud Dillard (6-4, 180), Dennis Ogbe (6-7, 200), Liam McMorrow (7-0, 265), Charles Newton (6-3, 175), Byron Pickens (6-7, 195; says "root beer" is his least favorite food) and Chase Dunn (5-10, 175) could figure into that sizeable rotation.  Dillard played quite a bit last season and could be the first guard off the bench; Ogbe and McMorrow will probably see the most time at forward.


TTU Defense 08-09
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 50.1 216
Turnover Rate 22.2 67
Off Reb Rate 36.6 303
FTA/FGA 44.4 309
TTU Defense 09-10
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 53.8 333
Turnover Rate 19.5 226
Off Reb Rate 36.8 314
FTA/FGA 48.5 325






It's not a big team--at 6-8, 225, Terrell Barnes was their heftiest player last season--but neither is this a midget squad.  Their interior defense was better in 2009 even though they were smaller on the average.  So that's not it, or at least not all of it.

Whatever the reason, last year's Eagles were an unmitigated disaster at the defensive end.  They had the 15th-worst eFG% defense in the country, and they didn't bother to compensate for that in any way with turnovers or rebounds.