Just a short while ago, we learned that Texas Tech will be a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. This was expected, as Texas Tech won one of the harder conferences in the Big 12, but didn’t face quite the competition in the non-conference as some of the other conference winners or runner-ups.
We kind of knew this was going to happen after it was revealed that Kansas State was a No. 4 seed. The Red Raiders had a better resume than the Wildcats and were honestly the better team the whole year. Other Big 12 seeds include Kansas (No. 4), Iowa State (No. 6), Oklahoma (No. 9) and Baylor (No. 9). TCU was on the bubble but just missed the tournament.
The location will be Tulsa, which is huge for Texas Tech. Tulsa is just a few hours away from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, so a lot of Red Raider fans will be expected for the first weekend of the tournament. This was huge to Texas Tech last year when the first couple rounds were in Dallas. I’m not sure they win their game with Florida without the crowd.
And they way need to it with their second round match-up. They landed one of the harder possible second round match-ups in the country with a team that has just three losses. We’ll go over the match-ups in a second, but Tech will need to the crowd behind them in the Round of 32 if they win their first game.
Path To Minneapolis
Here is what their path looks like:
- Round of 64 – I’m not going to lie and tell you that I know about Northern Kentucky, because I haven’t heard about their basketball team before. But the fact that I don’t know about them can’t be a bad sign, I guess. Should expect them to move on.
- Round of 32 – This match-up could provide a lot of story lines. First off, Buffalo may be the best No. 6 seed arguably with Iowa State. They have just three losses on the season and were one of the longest undefeated teams. This match-up could also match us with the last team in; St. John’s, which was Tariq Owens old school. Last year, Tech faced Brandone Francis’ old school, Florida, in the second round.
- Sweet Sixteen – This is where it gets tough. Luckily, they view Texas Tech highly, because Michigan is probably the weakest No. 2 seed (the others were Kentucky, Michigan State and Tennessee). That being said, the Wolverines always make deep runs, so this will be very difficult. Other possible teams include Montana (no), Nevada (who somehow got a No. 7 seed) and Florida (again).
- Elite Eight – The Red Raiders got to face the eventual national champions in last year’s bracket, although I don’t think that’s the case this year. Gonzaga deserves the No. 1 seed, but I don’t think they’re going to win it all. If you remember, Gonzaga barley survived the first round and eventually lost to FSU in the Sweet Sixteen. Coincidentally, that’s their likely Sweet Sixteen match-up (Marquette is also an option, as is Syracuse). Much like Villanova, they have a ton of scorers, so that could be a problem.
- Final Four – Well, at some point we were going to face them. Fortunately, they weren’t in our bracket. But they would be our likely Final Four match-up. Zion Williamson is back too, and looks even more unstoppable. We got way better, but so did the Blue Devils. Other possible match-ups include Michigan State, LSU, Virginia Tech and Mississippi State.
- Championship Game – Basically everybody else I didn’t mention. Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky will likely be in the game. Other teams that could make it are Houston, Purdue, Kansas, Kansas State, Wisconsin, Iowa State or Auburn.
First Reaction Prediction
I’d say that Texas Tech should win the first game of the NCAA tournament. It’s obviously not a guarantee, but typically the Top 4 seeds in the NCAA tournament tend to take care of the small conference tournament winners.
The second round will be tough, but much like last year, they’ll have the crowd behind them. Everybody knows this is going to be one of the marquee match-ups in the Round of 32 so all eyes will be on the Red Raiders. I’ll say Tech survives a scare.
The Sweet Sixteen is where I start to see a problem. I always have Michigan out early and they always kick me in the butt and make a deep run. Texas Tech is good, but Michigan has been there and are incredibly talented. I’ll say Texas Tech ends up falling in this match-up. Hopefully I’m wrong.