A few hours before Texas Tech played Kansas State an article came out on Fox Sports titled Tubby Smith’s Texas Tech is one of college hoops’ biggest surprises . The story went on to say some things that haven’t been spoken of outside of our Red Raider community for a long time…
Here’s a college hoops team nobody is paying attention to right now but maybe, just maybe, they should be: the Texas Tech Red Raiders, a program that hasn’t made an NCAA Tournament since 2007 and hasn’t had a winning season since 2010.
We have all been proud of our team for having an excellent non-conference schedule beating teams like Mississippi State, Minnesota, and some other top mid-major teams. Even though last week the squad went down to two top 25 teams (Kansas and Iowa State), our squad had the momentum and a spotlight starting to shine on them…
“The thing that we try to do is build it for the long term much like we’ve done everywhere we’ve been,” Smith said this week, before his team faced Kansas State on the road Tuesday. “You have to utilize the personnel you have and then try to influence freshmen and high school players that there’s going to be an opportunity as we improve and get better that you can be part of something special. It’s not going to be a quick turnaround, but it’s going to be an effective and efficient turnaround.”
The Red Raiders are fundamental, not flashy. They play solid halfcourt defense (ranked 18th in the nation in defensive efficiency). They are one of the worst major-conference 3-point shooting teams. But Smith has guards who can create opportunities off the dribble, a play-hard mentality that goes all 40 minutes, and one more year of experience with his young players.
We had a game plan on Tuesday, but we came out and got smacked in Manhattan by KSU. The Wildcats shot over 50% from the field, and over 50% from beyond the arc. It is hard to defend a team that is shooting lights out. But, with that loss came a blow to our trending upward reputation in the Big 12 and the national spotlight. Maybe only temporarily, but still a shift changer for sure.
A win on the road in the Big 12 is a difficult task. The loss in Manhattan was hard to swallow, but it was known that the victory over KSU would not come easily. To catapult us back into the college basketball world media talk we need to beat Baylor in Lubbock on Saturday. Then we need to steal a Big 12 road win from TCU on Monday. A tall order, but it is time for the Red Raiders to take a fight or flight response after having this 3 game losing streak.
We can do this… just win and everything will be fine. Wreck ’em Tech!!!