The win against Oklahoma State was a must. With DeVaugntah Williams hitting one big shot in overtime to win the game it looks like we are still on the bubble to make the NCAA tournament. Take a deep breath, because we are on the outside looking in. Let’s get a take from the college basketball analysts. After the loss to Arkansas in overtime this past weekend here is what ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan wrote about our Red Raiders in his “Bubble Watch”…
Tubby Smith’s Red Raiders are one of the surprise teams of the season. That has much to do with a 13-19 campaign a year ago, admittedly, but still: Seven of the Red Raiders’ 20 total games in 2015-16 have come against teams ranked in the RPI top 25. That helps explain the elite strength of schedule number. It does not, however, guarantee passage to the NCAA tournament. Wherever the Red Raiders fall on the bubble — some slot them in the field currently, Joe Lunardi does not, and neither does the Watch — we can all agree that eventually they’ll have to turn these impressively scheduled games into victories. A 12-8 overall record (and a 2-6 Big 12 mark) bodes ill.
So, Brennan has our Red Raiders on the bubble… but, on the wrong side of the froth. The win against OSU was needed to show that keeping our heads above water was capable. He has us categorized in the “work left to do” group. Kansas, Iowa State, West Virginia, Baylor, Texas are categorized as “teams that should be in”. Oklahoma is a “lock”.
KSU, TCU, and OSU are not even mentioned. That means our next games against OSU (away), TCU (home), and KSU (home) are must wins much like the game last night.
The Red Raiders need to sprinkle in a few “quality wins” to get on the right side of the bubble. Let’s look at what could happen to pull off an upset. Remember, that Tech has only one road victory this season and that was to TCU. I am not thinking that Tech will pull a huge upset away from Lubbock. Maybe a big upset in Lubbock against ISU might be the cause to get us in the Big Dance? That is sort of the best case scenario, but two substantial upsets are most likely needed.
Currently, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has Texas Tech in the “next four out” category in his Bracketology. My formula to get “in” is fairly simple. Win against OSU, TCU, KSU and throw in two big quality wins to finish 18-12 on the regular season… we will be dancing. Add a strong showing in the Big 12 tournament will also add bonus points for us to the selection committee.
Of course this is all guesses and predictions. Our Texas Tech squad needs to continue to fight every game. They need to scrap to get wins any way possible, starting with a victory in Austin this weekend that could do wonders. We are hanging onto having a chance to get to the NCAA tournament by a thread. Something that hasn’t happened since 2007. Let’s keep the dream alive. Wreck ’em Tech!!!