The Morning Stake

The Morning Stake | 2019.05.28

Your daily dose of all things Texas Tech athletics.

Leading Off

Drink. My favorite drink is a gin and tonic. Hands down, it’s my favorite liquor-based drink that I enjoy. I do not enjoy whiskey or bourbon or any of the more high-end drinks. But I do enjoy a gin and tonic. I probably haven’t had one in 10 years, the last time I had one was for a wedding of a former Red Raider. About two weeks ago, I broke down and bought some gin, some tonic and a couple of limes and I made a gin and tonic and it was as good as I remember it. This isn’t necessarily an invitation to get you to start drinking heavily (it could be) but it is an invitation for you to try something that you remembered being really good many moons ago because it might still be really good.

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Texas Tech Baseball

No. 8 National Seed = Texas Tech. It is pretty funny to roll through Twitter with lots of people with their hot sports thoughts on Texas Tech and regionals. I’m pretty much a baseball idiot, partly because soccer practice and I have to pick some point to get some things done around the house. Anyway, your Red Raiders prevailed with a national seed . . . again . . . because that’s what they do.

Beware of the Golden Knights. BaseballAmerica’s Teddy Cahill writes about how you should beware of the Army Golden Knights:

Army — Beware the No. 4 seed that has been there before, and last season, not only were the Black Knights in a regional, they took down host team North Carolina State in their opening game. A whole host of key contributors from that team will head to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech this time around, including outfielder Jacob Hurtubise (.383/.550/.456), whose 45 stolen bases are the most of any player in a regional, the one-two rotation punch of lefthander Tyler Giovinco (8-5, 3.43) and righthander Daniel Burggraaf (5-2, 2.85), and lefthanded reliever Cam Opp (3.53, 5 SV).

Why TCU? D1Baseball’s Eric Sorenson has a reaction to the release of the NCAA Tournament field and I think more than anything else, Sorenson cannot figure out why the committee is putting more stock into meaningless conference tournaments rather than what happened in the actual conference play. Part of that line of thinking is maybe what got TCU into the tournament:

Make no mistake, I am a Horned Frog fan. I dig Jim Schlossnagle. I love going to Lupton Stadium. I also like the fact that assistant coach Kirk Saarloos says he’ll offer me free TX Whiskey when I come to see them play in Ft. Worth. But when their name flashed up on the screen today, I knew that was going to be met with plenty a furrowed brow. How can a team with an RPI of 59, a losing record in Big 12 play and a non-conference RPI of No. 112 get an at-large bid?

Tanner said the reason the Frogs were included in the field was partly due to “getting some injured players back and a strong finish to the season.” But the Frogs went 4-6 in their last 10 and have been 10-14 since Tax Day. Look, I love ya’ Frogs, but this just wasn’t your year.

Texas Tech Basketball

Hampton to Announce Commitment. 2019 guard RJ Hampton is set to announce his commitment between Memphis, Kansas, and Texas Tech today at 7:30 a.m. As of yesterday’s commitment of F Joel Ntambwe, Texas Tech does not have an open scholarship spot. My money has always been on Kansas, in fact, Hampton didn’t even take a visit to Texas Tech, so it is not likely that he commits to the Red Raiders. There is also some chatter as of last night that Hampton could maybe go play overseas and I think that this would be an excellent option. This has nothing to do with Hampton potentially playing at Kansas, but the professional option is a really good option if you have a reputable team lined up. I think that a good pro team in Europe, like Real Madrid, is a step-up from playing in the college ranks. A slight step-up because you’re playing with grown men.

Cavs Love Culver. Via AmicoHoops’ Sam Amico, the Cleveland Cavaliers are said to want Jarrett Culver at No. 5, with the thought that he would be a good fit in John Beilein’s system:

The Cavs interviewed Culver last week, and according to sources, walked away feeling as if he would be a great fit in the culture they are trying to build and in new coach John Beilein’s system.

But again, what happens after the top three picks is when the draft mysteries are really expected to begin. Along with Culver, Virginia small forward De’Andre Hunter, Duke wing Cam Reddish, Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland and rising North Carolina combo guard Coby White are all expected to fall in the Nos. 5-10 range.

SportingNews’ Sean Deveney writes that Culver’s lower spot is likely No. 7 with Chicago:

The Hawks, having dropped to No. 8, have little chance of getting Culver without a trade up. According to sources around the league, Culver’s floor – the lowest spot he’d be drafted – is the Bulls at No. 7.

Texas Tech Football

Art Briles Hired by Mount Vernon. That lede says it all. On a Friday afternoon before Memorial Day, Mount Vernon hired the former Baylor coach Art Briles, who oversaw a program with players who committed multiple sexual assaults. When I read the title to ExpressNews’ Mike Finger’s article about the hire, “Returning to Texas, Briles has lessons to teach” I wasn’t sure what to make of it going it, but it is as thorough of a take-down as you’ll find (you should really read the whole thing):

“(W)e believe that he will be able to use his life experiences to teach our young people how to deal with hardships, grow through adversity and develop strong character,” McCullough said.

Indeed, all of those hardships and all of that adversity has provided Briles with a template for the lessons he now can impart to the youth of Mount Vernon. Among them:

Never question yourself: There might come a time in life when you get blindsided by wild accusations. You might be getting paid millions of dollars to oversee a successful football program, only to learn that an investigation by the Pepper Hamilton law firm finds that 17 women reported being sexually assaulted by 19 of your players.

It is in these moments when you should know you did the best you could.

It doesn’t matter if the same investigation finds five different instances of your football staff and coaches engaging in behavior that stifled school and police investigations. It doesn’t matter if the university ends up settling many of these cases. It doesn’t matter if you are found to have sent text messages responding to an allegation about five players raping a woman at an off-campus party by saying, “Those are some bad dudes. Why was she around those guys?”

Never ask yourself why you kept them on the team.

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