Texas Tech Heads Home Early to Prepare for Selection Sunday
During Texas Tech basketball's recent winning streak to finish the regular season, the Red Raiders often times looked like they were catching all the breaks. Loose balls, good bounces, open looks and charges all happening at opportune moments.
In Thursday's Big 12 Tournament loss to West Virginia, none of that happened for Texas Tech. It all rolled for West By God Virginia.
Some might watch basketball and call these breaks lucky, but any coach will tell you it's all about effort. There was plenty of Mountaineers effort in the Red Raiders' 79-74 loss.
The good news for Texas Tech is that they are still alive in the NCAA Tournament, and will be called early on Selection Sunday. The 3-seed seemingly locked in, the outcome of the tonight's loss doesn't really matter. There is minimal solace to be taken from the fight showed late in the game; it was too little, too late.
Jarrett Culver ended the night with 26 points and 10 rebounds, scoring at will in the last five minutes of the game. Norense Odiase played well for a stretch in the first half, but couldn't keep the momentum going. Matt Mooney, Davide Moretti and Culver combined for double-digit turnovers.
The story of the game, though, was down low, where West Virginia dominated the Red Raiders in the paint out-rebounding Texas Tech by a total of 44 to 30. The Mountaineers pulled down 19 offensive rebounds while Texas Tech managed seven second-chance opportunities.
The comeback at the end of the game felt inevitable, the finish though was anticlimactic after such a strong run. There was no big Brandone Francis three. Not enough help from Moretti or Mooney. The defense felt a half-step off.
The silver lining in a loss, or at least the spin that's being spun after the game, is that it's better to lay an egg in the Big 12 tourney than losing an NCAA tournament first-round game.
If you trust Chris Beard on a win streak, you trust him after a bad loss, too.
The Selection Sunday show will air on Sunday, March 17th, 2019 on CBS at 5 p.m. CT.
Most analysts have Texas Tech at a 3-seed. The loss to West Virginia shouldn't change that, but we'll know for sure on Sunday.