Basketball

Linking Up Texas Tech’s Final Four Berth

Links!

I’m sure that you’re not done reveling in the win from Saturday night and I’m here to help make sure that it doesn’t stop.

ESPN’s Myron Medcalf – Chris Beard, Texas Tech took hard road to first Final Four appearance:

Then, his three daughters — Avery, Ella and Margo — ran toward Beard and squeezed his neck.

“I just thanked them for believing in me when, you know, a lot of people didn’t,” Beard told ESPN after the game. “Coaching schools you never heard of. They’ve always been by my side.”

He added, “And also my girlfriend, Randi, who’s special. I appreciate this platform. You know, the girls are missing so much school here in this March Madness run. I just want to plea to [their schools and teachers] if you can work with the girls a little bit on their missed classes.”

USA Today’s Cott Gleeson – NCAA tournament: Three reasons why Texas Tech will win the national title in Minneapolis:

3. An underrated backcourt. Culver gets a lot of credit for being this team’s offensive juggernaut, but Texas Tech has a backcourt that’s made for March. Sharpshooting sophomore Davide Moretti drained two big three-pointers in the last four minutes to help the Red Raiders pull in front of Gonzaga and veteran point guard Matt Mooney, a grad transfer from South Dakota, had 17 points and five assists. When you’ve got a marksmen like Moretti and a 23-year-old with four years of college basketball experience like Mooney, Culver will has a supporting cast that can make big shots in crunch time.

The Ringer’s Shaker Samman – Texas Tech’s Slow, Steady, and Suffocating Defense Stymies No. 1 Seed Gonzaga:

The Zags found success in the post, led by potential NBA lottery selections Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke, who combined for 40 points and 18 rebounds. But they were left vulnerable by turnovers and a poor shooting night from their typically hot-shooting backcourt. Josh Perkins and Zach Norvell Jr.—who entered the game shooting 36 and 38 percent from beyond the arc, respectively—combined to go just 6-for-18 from deep, and struggled to keep pace with their Texas Tech counterparts. Meanwhile, the Red Raiders forced 16 turnovers—five more than Gonzaga’s season average—and made 39 percent of their attempts from deep. Despite those discrepancies, Gonzaga remained within striking distance with 12 seconds remaining. Trailing 71-69, Gonzaga’s Josh Perkins was called for a technical foul when he reached over the endline and made contact with Matt Mooney in an attempt to disrupt the inbounds pass. Texas Tech’s Davide Moretti sank both free throws to stretch the lead to four, and after being fouled on the ensuing play, Jarrett Culver hit two more to widen the lead to six to seal the Red Raiders’ win.

SI’s Ross Dellenger – Final Four Runs by Texas Tech and Virginia Symbolize What March Madness Is All About:

Just four years ago, Beard was working at Arkansas-Little Rock making $260,000 in salary. He’s made $600,000 in bonuses alone this year. That salty defense of his is coordinated by an ex-boxer and minor league hockey general manager, Mark Adams, whose office is full of candy and whose incentives for his defenders include a WWE-style deflection belt and a UM-inspired rebound chain. And let’s not forget about the players. Sure, potential lottery pick Jarrett Culver is the star, but how about the absurd block-and-save by Tariq Owens of a three-pointer with 56 seconds left that iced it? And what about Italy native Davide Moretti? He got a steal and sank two threes in the final four minutes in front of his parents, who arrived from Italy earlier this week surprising their son. His mother saw him play Thursday for the first time ever in America.

SI’s Greg Bishop – Jarrett Culver, Chris Beard and Texas Tech Press Into Uncharted Territory With Final Four Berth:

They all did. Like Beard, the itinerant hoops lifer who bounced all over the country, working as an assistant for Bob Knight at Texas Tech but also coaching at all levels, even the American Basketball Association, where his team didn’t have a permanent gym. He toiled in Division III, for McMurry University, as recently as 2013, then went to Angelo State, then Little Rock, then UNLV, before he changed his mind and took the Texas Tech gig.

Beard made immediate changes upon his arrival in Lubbock. He asked the administration to increase his staff size, upgrade its video and scouting systems and add a nutritionist. “We knew we wouldn’t get the five-star players,” says Mark Adams, his defensive lieutenant. “We gotta make ’em into five-stars.”

CBS Sports’ Reid Forgrave – 2019 NCAA Tournament: Chris Beard does what was thought to be impossible by taking Texas Tech to the Final Four:

When it was over, Beard climbed the ladder and cut down the net. Nobody expected Beard to be doing this in March 2019 – especially since his team had lost five of their top six scorers from last year’s Elite Eight squad, and especially since, well, this is Texas Tech, and Texas Tech shouldn’t be able to reload its roster like a team like Kansas can.

“Man, it’s just [undescribable],” Beard said. “It really is. Growing up my whole life watching these press conferences, games, and all that, and the guy that always gets there and says [undescribable]. And I’m like, ‘Oh, give us something better than that. But I don’t have anything better. It’s [undescribable].”

Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Eisenberg – How Chris Beard built perennial afterthought Texas Tech into a Final Four team:

There stood Chris Beard, only 10 minutes removed from a season-ending loss to Villanova yet already looking ahead to the future.

Beard had just guided Texas Tech to its first Elite Eight appearance in program history, but the second-year coach wanted to make sure his boss knew he viewed that as a jumping-off point, not a culmination. In a quiet yet resolute voice, Beard told Hocutt, “Don’t think for one second this year is going to define us as a program.”

“That’s an absolutely true story,” Hocutt said. “His sense of urgency and focus is there no matter what the situation 365 days a year. He’s so driven to coach on that Monday night in April. That’s all he talks about.”

SI’s Michael Beller – 2019 Final Four Preview: What to Expect From an Unlikely Pair of Matchups:

Michigan State, on the other hand, is arguably the most balanced team in the country. After knocking off Duke in the Elite Eight on Sunday, the Spartans are ranked fifth in adjusted offensive efficiency and eighth on the defensive end of the floor. They’re one of two teams in the top 10 in both; the other is Virginia. That balance keeps the Spartans in every game, no matter the style. Five of their six losses have been by five points or fewer, and two of those were in overtime.

What’s been so impressive about Michigan State is that it has played at less than 100% for most of the season, missing at least two regulars for much of the year. Joshua Langford suffered a season-ending injury in December. Nick Ward missed the last five games of the regular season with a fractured hand. Kyle Ahrens hasn’t played since the opening minutes of the Big Ten tournament championship game after spraining his ankle. Yet here the Spartans are, two wins from a national championship.

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