The only losses for Texas Tech this season have come when they have played outside of Lubbock. The only wins for Texas Tech this season have come when they played in the United Supermarkets Arena. I want that to sink in... and take it for what it's worth. The Red Raiders thrive off our home court advantage this season with the crowd behind them.
The USA hasn't been packed, but you can feel the energy surge through the team when we get on a run. The momentum becomes visible in the way the team plays. This young squad plays with a confidence in Lubbock like no other. On the road it has been a struggle. The Red Raiders had a tough overtime loss to LSU in Baton Rouge, and had their tails whipped in both games in Vegas.
In Baton Rouge it was a very hostile environment. Also, I couldn't believe how loud the place could get. Our team was up with a nice lead, but when the LSU fans started to rally their team on with cheers everything started to fall apart for Texas Tech. I had to watch the team put their heads down and get jitters going into the final minutes and OT.
In the Loyola-Chicago game I couldn't watch it because of it not being aired on television. It was clear from the stats and recap that our team didn't play a solid game. Then last night against Houston the Red Raiders were not playing inspired basketball. I watched as they had a few nice spurts, but that intensity and glow in their eyes faded quickly without a crowd to cheer them on. They needed the support and comfort of their home crowd. There was nobody generating noise in the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, the place was dead.
When Texas Tech plays at home in Lubbock they look like a different team. The team plays at a higher level with the home court advantage. I am grateful that they can beat anyone that has stepped onto our home floor.
The Air Force Coach after the Red Raiders comeback win in Lubbock...
"They were a different team in the second half," Falcons coach Dave Pilipovich said. "They played with a little bit of an edge, especially as it got under the 10-minute mark. We didn't handle the ball very well. We turned it over too many times in the second half."
The cause for concern is that when we go on the road we look like a team that is lost on the court. Things don't go our way and we get down on ourselves. Maybe I am reading into it too much, but the road games on the schedule have me a little worried.
This may be the way the team plays all season, and going into Big 12 in January it is something to keep in mind. Our next game on Monday will tell if my theory stands true, but I think we will handle North Texas with the steady pace and energy level expected of the team. It should be another victory for our Red Raiders. After that the real test will be when Texas comes to Lubbock on the 3rd.
Strap in for a roller coaster of a Big 12 season with the chance of seeing some huge upsets in Lubbock this year. But, we need to get the road wins to start falling our way. To be a good team we need to learn to win when playing away from Lubbock. I think and hope Coach Smith will figure out a way before the season is over to accomplish that. I really want the guys on the squad to not fear traveling to games outside the USA. Wreck 'em Tech!