The last couple weeks, we reviewed the Top Ten Athletes and Plays from the past school year. This week, we’re going to go over our Top Ten Games (or in some of these cases, meets or tournaments) from the past season.
In order to rank these games, we’re going to look at a few things. These include how big the game was to the season and program, if it was in the postseason or regular season, amount of viewers this game might have had (from Tech fans and national TV), and of course if Tech performed well in the game.
If you disagree with the ranking, whether it’s the position of a game or a game not making the list at all, please comment below in a calm, orderly fashion. Let’s begin with honorable mention:
- Football vs Arizona State — The Red Raiders got their butts kicked pretty bad in their previous meeting, especially the defense. This was a revenge game, Dylan Cantrell’s career game (160 yards, three TDs) and a win over a Power 5 team.
- Men’s Basketball vs WVU — After defeating Kansas at their place, the Red Raiders were ranked No. 8 and the Mountaineers were No. 2. It was a rowdy environment and Tech came out on top. It was Brandone Francis’ career moment, and seriously put the idea into the minds of Tech fans of a Big 12 championship.
- Men’s Basketball vs SFA — This game meant a lot to the state of the program. The team that was ranked No. 6 during the season, were a Top 3 seed and didn’t need a first round upset to ruin the momentum of the program. The game was close, but Tech ended up winning by double digits.
- Baseball vs Oklahoma (Game 1) — Tech needed a series win over Oklahoma to keep in the Big 12 running. Oklahoma took a lead in this game, but Tech was able to tie it in the ninth. However, this game is most known for Josh Jung causing an walk off balk and giving the Red Raiders the series advantage.
- Men’s Basketball vs Kansas — This isn’t the win. But the loss. So why is honorable mention? Because this was by far the craziest environment since I’ve been at Texas Tech (next was football against TCU in 2015). Students staying all night for the first basketball College Gameday, packed arena, crazy crowd and it helped solidify Tech as a school serious about basketball. Plus it landed a couple recruits.
- Softball vs Baylor — Can’t go into too much detail because I did not watch this game, but it was during the Big 12 tournament and gave softball their first postseason berth since 2012. Big for a rising program.
- Baseball vs Duke (Game 1) — A vast majority of the teams that win the first game of the super regional move on. This was important. Tech was down 3-0 before Grant Little hit a two run double, Rheams tied the game, and Holt and Klein gave the Red Raiders the lead and the win.
- Big 12 Track and Field Championship — This is for both the Indoor and Outdoor championships, in which the men’s team finished first in both. Many athletes that performed in these events qualified for the national championships as well.
No. 10 Football at Houston
|9/23/2017||Texas Tech 27, Houston 24||Dakota Allen (12 TCKL, 2 QB Hurries, INT); Keke Coutee (11 catches, 161 yards, TD); Jordyn Brooks (5 tackles, INT)|
Why This Was Chosen?: This is one of the few games on here where it didn’t affect the grand scheme of the season much, and the reason why it’s below the next three is because it’s not a playoff game. But this deserves to be on here for a reason.
First off, even though it seems a little forgettable now, it seemed like a big deal at the time. Despite it being 11 a.m., I remember screaming at the TV and getting really into the game. Houston was good before Herman left for UT and we thought Houston wasn’t a bad team.
This also moved Texas Tech to 3-0, which gave some fans false hope, especially those like me who thought the team would be around the four win margin on the year. And even though the score was close, the Red Raiders were leading 27-10 in the fourth and it wasn’t really that close at all.
But the most important reason is that for the first time in what seemed like years, the Texas Tech fan base had some faith in the defense. The defensive side created five turnovers and had defensive stops. The Red Raiders showed they weren’t going to be a bottom dweller anymore as far as defense goes.
The highlight plays were Dakota Allen’s interception early, Jordyn Brooks interception in the redzone, Keke Coutee’s 77 yard touchdown, and Justin Stockton’s 84 yard scamper. Allen was the best player this game, and got huge recognition from the announcers and the national TV crowd who knew him from Last Chance U.
No. 9 Women’s Tennis vs Texas
|5/17/2018||No. 11 Texas Tech 4, No. 6 Texas 1||Gabriela Talaba def. No. 1 Bianca Turati 6-4, 6-2; Tech Doubles def. Texas Doubles 6-3, 6-1; Jackson def. Wagland 6-0, 6-3; Dvorak def. Perez-Mur 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.|
Why This Was Chosen?: It was the biggest win for the Women’s Tennis team for multiple reasons. A sweet sixteen underdog win over a conference rival, where you broke a record is a big accomplishment.
For starters, this was the second straight year where the Women’s Tennis team advanced to the Elite Eight. The seniors of this group went to four Sweet Sixteens and two Elite Eights, which is pretty incredible for a career and program that has never gone that far.
Secondly, this was against the Longhorns, who were the Big 12 champs and were currently on the 19 game win streak. In reference, the Red Raiders had 22 wins altogether entering this match.
There were also upsets. Texas was ranked five spots above Texas Tech, yet the Red Raiders won 4-1. Gabriela Talaba, who would make it to the individual Sweet Sixteen this season, gave the Red Raiders their highest ranked win when she defeated the No. 1 player in straight sets.
Finally, this solidified the tennis program, much like the second and third CWS berth did for the baseball team, and helped give them the third ranked recruiting class in the nation. Women’s Tennis might actually have the brightest future of all the athletic programs, and this win is a huge part of it.
No. 8 Men’s Golf NCAA Qualifying
|5/28/2018||3rd Place: No. 13 Texas Tech +9||T4. Ivan Ramirez, -4; T19. Hurly Long, +1; T21. Adam Blomme, +2; T79. Kyle Hogan, +21; 81. Sandy Scott, 81.|
Why This Was Chosen?: Much like Women’s Tennis, this was the highest finish ever for the Texas Tech Men’s Golf team. After losing their first team all-american in Frandrik Nilehn, the Red Raiders still managed to finish third in the NCAA qualifying.
This was their highest finish ever in the NCAA qualifying. They were nine stroke off the leader Oklahoma State (who was way better than everyone else throughout the championships) and at were nine strokes ahead of the cutoff line.
Their third place finish in this qualifying gave them their highest finish in the event. And through 36 holes, they were in first place in the whole tournament. Many golfers stepped up for the event and made a huge impact.
The biggest surprise was Ivan Ramirez, who finished -5 during the tournament and finished fourth overall. His best round was -5 through the first round. Hurly Long and Adam Blomme also had very strong performances, as they were +1 and +2 respectively, and finished tied 19 and 21.
It was a huge performance that pushed Tech into the quarterfinals. However, they were upset by Alabama 3-2, who ended up playing the NCAA championship. It was a huge performance for the golf team.
— Texas Tech Men’s Golf (@TexasTechMGolf) May 28, 2018
Read how it happened ➡ https://t.co/cu4VfAzWcb
Watch how it happened (You’ll want to see these shots) ⬇ pic.twitter.com/mE39kocwNy
— Texas Tech Men’s Golf (@TexasTechMGolf) May 29, 2018
No. 7 NCAA Outdoor Championships
|6/6-9/2018||T5th Place: Texas Tech, 33 points||1. Divine Oduduru, 20.28, 200m; 2. Odaine Lewis, 16.73m, Triple Jump; 3. Odaine Lewis, 7.99m, Long Jump; 4. Trey Culver, 2.21m, High Jump; 6. Zarriea Willis, 1.78m, High Jump.|
Why This Was Chosen?: Both Track and Field teams did fairly well at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon this season. Plenty of athletes medaled or helped give their teams points during the event.
For starters, the Red Raiders can boast a National Champion thanks to Divine Oduduru’s performance in the 200 meter dash. The sophomore finish with a time of 20.28, which was just above the second place finisher.
Odaine Lewis had a strong performance, with second and third place finishes in both the Triple Jump and Long Jump. Trey Culver, a popular name around Texas Tech Track and Field, finished fourth in the high jump. These performances helped give the Red Raiders a fifth place finish at the event.
But they weren’t the only ones who showed out. Zarriea Willis finished sixth place in the high jump, which helped give the Women’s Track and Field team some points in the event.
The Men’s Track and Field team had one of their strongest performances ever, and took home a national title in an event. I say that’s a pretty good meet for the team in Lubbock.
Well, we had a pretty busy week last week at the NCAA Outdoor Championships!
— Texas Tech Track & Field/Cross Country (@TexasTechTF) June 11, 2018
No. 6 Men’s Basketball at Kansas
|1/2/2018||No. 18 Texas Tech 85, No. 10 Kansas 73||Keenan Evans 15 pts, 6 rebs, 3 ast; Justin Gray 12/6/0; Norense Odiase 12/8/1; Culver 12/4/2; Zh. Smith 11/5/2|
Why This Was Chosen?: This is one of the biggest regular season games in Texas Tech basketball history, and most likely the biggest on the road. I was working at the Lubbock AJ when this happened, and if I remember it in detail at work, then it must be a good game.
At this point in time, Texas Tech was 12-1 and had just blown out Baylor to begin Big 12 play to move to No. 18 in the country. Kansas was 11-2 and did not seem as daunting as years past (which proved to be right). Everyone at Tech knew they had a chance to steal this game.
Keenan Evans didn’t have his best game (4-16 from the field), but everyone else seemed to be clicking. Five players scored double digits, and three others were a basket away from reaching it. They were executing perfectly and capitalized off the Jayhawks mistakes. This game showed the nation that Texas Tech was for real.
A few important events happened in this game. This was Tech’s first win in Allen Fieldhouse (and first win over Kansas since 2009), it was Bill Self’s biggest loss at home, it validated that Zhaire and Culver were for real, and it put the thought of a Big 12 title in the heads of Red Raider fans.
You can name plenty of players the MVP of the game, but this was kind of Norense Odiase’s career moment thus far. He didn’t allow Azubuike to be a factor, was a force on the glass and was just overall annoying to the Kansas players. This win was a great win and was one of many on the fantastic season.