Texas Tech was picked to finish 9th in the Big 12 in the Big 12 coaches vote. Here's the finish and to be honest, I was surprised:
3. Oklahoma State
5. Kansas State
6. West Virginia
8. Iowa State
9. Texas Tech
My surprise is that Texas Tech is picked to finish 9th and not last. I don't know if I can explain it other than I do think the talent quotient is increased, but I'm still a bit surprised that they're not picked to finish last. I'll take it as a small victory. I am a little surprised that West Virginia isn't picked higher than the coaches and if I had to think that one team should be higher it's the Mountaineers. I hate doubting Huggy Bear.
I also think I don't think that I've mentioned the coaches Preseason All-Big 12 team, also as voted by the Big 12 coaches. No Texas Tech players made the list in any shape or form. Baylor's Pierre Jackson is voted as the Big 12 player of the year, Oklahoma's Amath M'Bay is voted as the newcomer of the year and Oklahoma St.'s Marcus Smart is voted the freshman of the year. Here's the preseason All-Big 12 team:
Pierre Jackson, Baylor (G, 5-10/180, Sr.)
Jeff Withey, Kansas (C, 7-0/235, Sr.)
Rodney McGruder, Kansas State (G, 6-4/205, Sr.)
Le'Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State (G/F, 6-7/230, So.)
Myck Kabongo, Texas (G, 6-1/180, So.)
Never expected any Texas Tech players to make this list. Hoping that by the end of the year, there will be some of these Texas Tech players that can make an impact on the rest of the Big 12 and would think that with some better offensive numbers with interim head coach Chris Walker wanting to run a bit more, this could happen.
In other Big 12 things, ESPN's Eamonn Brennan also ranked the 10 worst non-conference schedules in country and your Red Raiders made this list:
Toughest: Arizona (Dec. 1), Alabama (Dec. 19)
Next-toughest: Arizona State (Dec. 22)
The rest: Prairie View A&M (Nov. 9), Nebraska-Omaha (Nov. 14), Grambling State (Nov. 20), Jackson State (Nov. 26), Northern Kentucky (Dec. 4), McNeese State (Dec. 16), North Carolina A&T (Dec. 28), Florida A&M (Dec. 31)
Perhaps this is now-deposed Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie's final legacy at the school: The strategy of somehow getting away with not scheduling any road games whatsoever. Arizona is a quality opponent (if young), and Alabama is fundamentally solid (if somewhat retooling), but other than those two "highlights," most of this schedule comprises low-major guarantee games and few real challenges. Oh, and Arizona State. You get the point.
Considering where this team was last year, I have no problem with Gillilspie trying to get as many wins as possible, I've got no problem with that. This teams needs some confidence and it needs wins. Texas Tech isn't playing in any sort of holiday tournament and is choosing to play those games at home. Again, no problem with this concept for this year. In future years, yes, I'd love to see a more varied approach.