Basketball

Breaking Down TTU Basketball’s 2019-2020 Schedule – 2019 Portion

We break down the first portion of the 2019-2020 basketball schedule, including a non-conference tournament and a potential Top 10 match-up in Madison Square Garden.

One of the most underrated events in sports is when the team’s schedule is released. You get to see who you’re playing, when the big games occur, and how the structure of schedule benefits or hurts your team. We’ll do the 2019 slate this week and the 2020 slate later on.

Three months ago, we learned how who our non-conference opponents were, and when and where we would play them. A month later, we learned our opponent and location for the SEC Challenge, And about a month ago, we learned the date and time of the Big 12 games.

Here are some facts about the schedule:

  • There are 31 games; 18 conference and 13 non-conference games.
  • Out of those 31 games, 17 of them are at home, 10 are on the road, and four are on neutral ground.
  • It’s hard to determine who will be ranked, but probably two of their non conference opponents and a few Big 12 opponents will be ranked to start the year.
  • Eight of their opponents made the NCAA tournament. One team made it to the Elite Eight.

Without further due, let’s break down the opponents and how the schedule will reflect on the Red Raiders’ season. If you want to view the schedule, you can do so here:

November:

  • Eastern Illinois (Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. on FSSW+) ⁠— It’s time to drop the Final Four banner! The Texas Tech pre-conference play home schedule once again isn’t exactly daunting. It starts with Eastern Illinois, whom finished 14-18 last year and 7-11 in the Ohio Valley conference. That being said, five of their six leading scorers return this year, including their top 5 players in minutes. Their leading scorer is Josiah Wallace, who was a first team OVC selection with 15.5 ppg.
  • Bethune-Cookman (Saturday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. on FSSW+) ⁠⁠— If this school sounds familiar to you, that’s because this was the school the baseball program defeated to reach their first ever College World Series. Another thing I noticed is that I don’t remember Saturday non-conference games. Typically they are on weekdays. Anyway, BC went 14-17 overall and 9-7 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. But they are a completely different team than last year, as a lot of their starters are gone. They do return MEAC Defensive POY in Cletrell Pope though.
  • vs Houston Baptist (Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. on TTU TV) — This was a strange one to me. The Red Raiders play another lesser conference foe, but at a neutral court in Midland. I bet this is like the baseball team where you get to play in front of the Midland Texas Tech fans and get experience playing away from home. Houston Baptist went 12-18 overall and 8-10 in the Southland conference. They return Southland second teamer Ian DuBose , who averaged 17 ppg, 5.9 rpg and 1.6 spg.
  • Tennessee State (Thursday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. on FSSW+) — Another Ohio Valley Conference team comes into Lubbock to face the Red Raiders, this time in Tennessee State. The Tigers went 9-21 last year and 6-12 in conference play. However, this team is completely new, with just one player averaging over 20 minutes a game returning. That being said, they have a familiar face, as everyone’s favorite Mountaineer in Wesley Harris is now on the team.
  • Long Island (Sunday, Nov. 24 at 1 p.m. on FSSW+) — This is Texas Tech’s last non-conference game before they start seeing some tougher opponents. Long Island was fairly average last season, finishing 16-16 overall and  9-9 in the Northeast Conference.  They also return perhaps two of the most talented players Tech will see prior to Thanksgiving, with NE Conference first teamer Raiquan Clark (18.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and third teamer Ty Flowers (13.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg).
  • vs Iowa (Thursday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. on FS1) — It’s Thanksgiving Basketball! After the Dallas Cowboy game ends, you can sit back and watch Texas Tech basketball. This is their first nationally televised game of the year, and their first against a Power 5 opponent. Iowa nearly went to the Sweet Sixteen last year, but lost in OT to Tennessee. They return their talented backcourt in Big 10 third teamer Jordan Bohannon (who tried to steal some mats during the NCAA tournament), and Big 10 all freshman selection Joe Wieskamp. Good guard defense will be important. Another threat could be big man Luke Garza, who is their top returning scorer (13.5).
  • vs Creighton or San Diego State (Friday, Nov. 29 at 7/9 p.m. on FS1) — I’m not going to break down these teams because I don’t know who Texas Tech is going to play. But as I said last year, I love these non-conference tournaments. It gives the team an idea of the travel and what the play is like in a tournament. It’s also been a good indication to where the team is at. The Red Raiders struggled both opening games but dominated the last game. Those resulted in an Elite Eight and National Championship appearance.
  • at DePaul (Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. on FS1)  — Hey, a road game. Now some voters won’t leave Tech off because they haven’t had a road test. This is the first true road game prior to Big 12 play since 2016 when Texas Tech played at Richmond. This time, they play DePaul, home of Mark Aguirre and Tommy Hamilton IV. Currently, they have Paul Reed, Big East’s Most Improved Player, and three others players that having starting experience. They have a lot of youth, but a lot of experience at well. They went 19-17 overall and 7-11 in conference play, so it’s definitely a team you can’t sleep on. This is a trap game Tech needs to avoid.
  • vs Louisville (Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. on ESPN) — For the third straight year, the Red Raiders will play a game at Madison Square Garden. And it’s looks like we could have a potential Top 10 match-up at hand. Louisville is considered to be one of the favorites entering the season. They are loaded, with ESPN Top 100 freshmen like No. 24 Samuell WIlliamson, No. 52 Aidan Igiehon, No. 78 David Johnson and No. 86 Josh Nickelberry. Oh, they also return four of their five leading scorers from a year ago, including Jordan Nwora, who averaged 17 ppg while earning third team ACC honors in a conference they produced three No. 1 seeds. They are LOADED. Don’t expect a win, but it would be huge if the Red Raiders can pull off the victory.
  • Southern Miss (Monday, Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. on ESPN2) — After a tough four games, the Red Raiders get a three game breather before Big 12 plays begins. Although they aren’t as easy as the first few, they aren’t Iowa and Louisville. Southern Miss will actually be a good non-conference foe. The Golden Eagles went 20-13 overall and 11-7 to finish second in Conference USA. However, all their players named to all-conference teams and defensive teams graduated. They do return the Conference USA Sixth Man of the Year in LaDavius Draine however.
  • UTRGV (Saturday, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. on FSSW+) — It’s a rematch with UTRGV just prior to Christmas week beginning. If you remember, UTRGV is home to former Red Raiders Jordan Jackson, who left with Chris Beard’s arrival. UTRGV ended up having a solid season, as they went 20-17 overall and 9-7 in the WAC. Jason Levi is their top returner, with a WAC third team selection and Defensive Player of the Year honors to his name. They also return their second leading scorer in Lesley Varner II (11.2 ppg).
  • CSU Bakersfield (Sunday, Dec. 29 at 3 p.m. on FSSW) — They finish their pre Big 12 slate with a match with CSU Baskersfield, who went 18-16 overall and 7-9 in the WAC. They had a WAC first team selection in Jarkel Joiner, but he left to join the Ole Miss team in the spring. In fact, they only return one of their five leading scorers from a year ago, so they have a ton of new faces or guys in roles they haven’t had before.
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