The Nation Took Notice After Texas Tech’s Huge Week
The Texas Tech Men's Basketball team was ranked 13th headed into the toughest place to play in the Big 12 a few weeks ago and took Kansas to the brink in a double-overtime thriller. Then, the Red Raiders dominated Mississippi State. Despite teams losing in front of them, Texas Tech still dropped a spot in the polls.
Texas Tech would go on to beat their former head coach Chris Beard's Texas Longhorns in front of a record-setting home crowd on national TV in an emotional matchup.
National reporters who've never said a positive thing about Lubbock were in awe of the atmosphere created for that game.
Notorious troll list account maker Big Game Boomer listed the Red Raiders as the number one student section in the country for their performance with Beard and the Longhorns in the United Supermarkets Arena.
Countless accounts online asked questions similar to this:
You might remember Stadium's Jeff Goodman, who infamously said that Texas Tech was the worst job in the Big 12 just a few weeks ago. He gushed about the atmosphere while he was in Lubbock for more than 48 hours. His Twitter feed was basically a commercial for the city and Texas Tech university. After the game, Goodman was blown away, calling the atmosphere in the USA one of the loudest he'd ever experienced.
Mid-week, national college basketball analysts were calling the Red Raiders a Final Four team.
"I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like that," Red Raiders Head Coach Mark Adams said after the game, and he certainly wasn’t alone in those sentiments. That game against Texas was emotional. Now, teams have let down games after emotional games all the time, but any worry about that was eradicated on Saturday when the Red Raiders handled West Virginia in a brutal matchup that saw both Adonis Arms and Terrence Shannon, Jr. leave the game to the locker room. Shannon, Jr. did return after halftime.
The 60-53 victory over a struggling Mountaineers team might not mean a whole lot in the long run, but to win that style of fight immediately following the Texas game in a building where you only had a single victory in 9 tries prior to Saturday? That says a whole lot more.
AP voters rewarded the Red Raiders with their first Top 10 ranking of the season, slotting them in at 9th. It's a spot behind the Big 12's leader Kansas, and a spot in front of conference foe Baylor.
Texas Tech is now firmly a top 12 team in most definable metrics that matter, which theoretically means they'd be 3-seed if the tournament started today. The Big 12 regular-season title is still in reach, but the Red Raiders need the Jayhawks to lose in order to catch back up in the standings after finishing their season series with a split.
The Red Raiders, fortunately, played a front-loaded schedule and thrived with a 6-3 start to Big 12 play. Then, they started their back half with a win over West Virginia. The final eight conference games feature two games against Oklahoma and TCU, with rematches against Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Texas and Baylor.
There's never an off night in the Big 12, but if Texas Tech can survive the first stretch at 6-3, I'd expect three or fewer losses to finish the year.
Here's a better look at the final stretch and the rest of the schedule: