Non-Conference Schedule Breakdown
To kick-off the regular season in Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament Texas Tech will play South Alabama, and then Maine in Lubbock. Both had losing records last season and finished in the bottom half of their conferences. These should be warm-up games for the Red Raiders and give enough time to shake off the rust with easy victories.
Our team heads to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut to play Boston College in the Memorial HOF Tourney. BC had a losing record last season, and it does not appear they will be significantly better this season. If the Red Raiders struggles in the game; we should be worried. But, win or lose we will go on to play either La Salle or Northwestern. We hope to get into the championship game against Northwestern, who will be probably be considered a top 25 team in the country at the time. This should be the first real challenge of the season. It will be interesting to witness how our squad plays in this one.
After the HOF Tipoff tournament, we play the next 2 in Lubbock. Wofford and Savannah State both had losing records last season, and we should take care of business.
Then it is off to New York City where we play Seton Hall in the Madison Square Garden. They are another team that is top 25 caliber, and should be better than the Northwestern team we saw during the HOF Tipoff in Connecticut. Another must watch game that will check our pulse to see how good we are as an overall team.
Right off the battle in NYC we go back to Lubbock and play Nevada. Don’t forget this is the NCAA bound 28 win team from last season. They lost some key players but added five eligible D-1 transfers. It is not going to be an easy game, and this one will be a big time home game. Start the season off with some great quality wins, or have all 3 losses against quality teams on our record? Man, I’m getting excited to see what happens!
We finish off our non-conference schedule with the remaining 4 games at home in December. Kennesaw State should be another cupcake game, and we should have a lopsided win in that one.
Next, Rice comes to town and it will be a fun one in the old Lubbock Municipal Coliseum. Rice won 20+ games last season and made the CBI Tournament in the postseason. Another tougher match-up, but if we fall to Rice we will not be on a great path to having a successful season.
The last 2 games before conference play, Florida Atlantic and Abilene Christian both had losing records last season. I would assume they will go down as wins easily for our Red Raiders.
Overall, we could be sitting very nicely after our non-conference schedule if we do our job. We most likely won’t come away with an unblemished record, yet we need to pull off some quality wins to setup for a strong Big 12 showing.
Big 12 Preseason Poll Breakdown
Today the Big 12 released the preseason poll…
No surprise here as the top dog in the conference is the Jayhawks. They always reload each season, and will be the favorite to win the Big 12 tournament. Not much to say except KU will be really good (again) this year.
“Press” Virginia will have another strong season, after getting bumped in the Sweet 16 last season. You can expect more of the same from Bob Huggins, and every team that plays WVU will be in a track meet. They are the clear #2 team in the conference.
# 3 TCU
After not having that great of a regular season, the Frogs went on to beat #1 ranked Kansas in the Big 12 tournament. They then got the invite to the NIT, and won the whole damn thing. They are getting a lot of attention right now from the media, so no wonder they are picked as a top 3 team in the Big 12.
The Longhorns are coming off a horrible 11-22 record from last season. Yet, despite that fact the Longhorns are picked to be a top team in the Big 12. It is basically a knee-jerk reaction to them getting some really good recruits. Including the top rated Mo Bamba who picked UT over Duke and Kentucky.
One of the more experienced squads in the Big 12, the Bears are expected to have a solid season and make the Big Dance this season.
The Sooners had a down season with only 11 wins. The young team is thought to bounce back and have a much better year with the addition of top rated recruit Trae Young.
#7 Texas Tech
This is a somewhat disappointing preseason ranking for our Red Raiders. We return our top two scorers in Keenan Evans and Zach Smith as seniors, and have NCAA tournament experience in the lineup with 4 guys; including Norense Odiase and Justin Gray. We have added some key transfers and are packed with depth on the roster. It may be a good thing that we fly under the radar, because we always seem to play better as the underdog. I would rank this team in the top half of the conference, or at the lowest a #6 ranking. I hope this lights a fire with the team, and we prove that we can hang with anybody in the Big 12. Wreck ’em Tech!!!
#8 Kansas State
A 20 win team last season, they lost a lot of their core group of players. KSU is not expected to be a great team, and it will be more of a rebuilding process this season.
#9 Iowa State
With losing 5 of their top 6 scorers, it is thought that the Cyclone will take a step back this season. ISU will have new pieces, and it will be interesting to see if they can put them together and be competitive on the conference.
#10 Oklahoma State
Brad Underwood took the Cowboys to the tournament and bailed to Illinois. Assistant coach Lamont Evans was arrested on federal corruption charges following an investigation into the criminal influence of money on coaches and players in the NCAA. OSU is at the bottom of the barrel right now.