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Texas Tech Basketball: 16/17 Season Preview And Predictions

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The Red Raiders had an amazing season last year, can they be even better this season?

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech had a surprising year last year by going 19-13 (9-9) and earning a bid to the NCAA tournament. Although the team was ousted in the first round by a tournament-tested Butler squad, the season was viewed as one of the most successful seasons in recent years. There are a ton of new faces on the team, and coach Chris Beard takes over after Tubby Smith left for Memphis. The question now, can this team repeat their success or even be better?

What We Know

The core of the team is back, and has all the tools to be great. A few years ago these guys were basically thrown in the fire as freshmen and learned on the go. Even though the final score wasn't very pretty in most games, these guys built up a very nice chemistry. We saw this chemistry really blossom last year and now this season can be even better.

What We Don't Know

There are a lot of new guys on this team. This starts with the head coach. Chris Beard led Arkansas-Little Rock (30-5) to the NCAA tournament and even upset 5th seed Purdue in the first round. Beard has Texas Tech ties and really wanted to be in Lubbock. This was proven when he turned down the UNLV job after previously accepting the position. Along with the head coach, there are a handful of transfers who made their way to Lubbock.

Starting 5 & Rotation

This is another question we're not too sure of. Below is my inkling of what the rotation may look like.

Starting 5

Keenan Evans

Niem Stevenson

Justin Gray

Zach Smith

Norense Odiase

Key Minutes

Aaron Ross (6th man)

Shadell Millinghaus

Matthew Temple

Devon Thomas

Anthony Livingston

Again this is just my hunch, we won't really know what it'll look like until the season gets under way.

Predictions

Last season took everyone by surprise. I remember predicting a 17-15 record and a NIT birth, and even then some people thought that was too optimistic. This season the expectations will be higher than usual. Myself and a few other VTM staffers put together some predictions for the season. What's your thoughts, think we do better or worse than last season?

Eric Linthicum

It really is tough to say how good the team will be because of all the new faces on the bench. Realistically I can see finishing as high as fourth and as low as sixth in the conference. We have an extremely soft non-conference schedule which means we will need to have a pretty good conference record to setup any post season play. I think a return trip t the NCAA Tournament is a real possibility, but if they finish under .500 in conference play then the NIT might come calling.

Prediction: (21-11, 10-8), 5th in the Big 12

Kyle Jacobson

Like everyone else in Raiderland, I’m very intrigued with this basketball season. On one hand, a great core of experienced players are returning (Zach Smith, Norense Odiase, Keenan Evans, and Justin Gray). On the other hand, there are a bunch of new faces, including new head coach Chris Beard. He has the coaching credentials and the new transfers have talent, but there’s always some uncertainty when you throw a bunch of new parts together. I think starting off, this team will struggle with chemistry and won’t look as capable as last year’s NCAA tournament team. But by the time Big 12 play rolls around, Chris Beard will have them playing a lot better. All in all, I think the end result is similar to last season.

I predict close to 20 wins and a 6th place finish in the Big 12, enough to earn a 9 seed in the tournament. From there, you never know what can happen.

Drew Parker

I think Texas Tech basketball will expand upon their success of last season. With Head Coach Chris Beard, I think we will crack the top 3 of the Big 12, finish the season 22-10, and win at least one NCAA tournament win. I'm excited for the upcoming season, and I think we will put our basketball program back on the map.

Maitland Rutledge

Texas Tech is coming off its first NCAA tournament appearance since the Bob Knight era. New head coach Chris Beard has a team full of senior leadership at his disposal. Even with Tubby Smith out of the picture, I still see this team being competitive this season and maybe on its way back to the tournament.

Prediction: (18-14, 8-10) 7th in the Big 12

Austin Jordan

The Red Raiders return the core of last season's team and coach Chris Beard has plenty of depth and versatility to toy with. A stretch of three straight ranked wins last season propelled the team to the NCAA tournament, and I expect them to be in the conversation to return this season. There aren't many strong resume builders in the non-conference schedule, so the team will need to play well against the Big 12. I think they'll play great at home and grind out enough road wins to return to the Big Dance.

Prediction: (20-12, 10-8) 5th in the Big 12

Drew Borsellino

Texas Tech basketball, nowadays it's a pretty fun topic. There used to be almost zero hype around the hoop team, but now I look forward to it and try not to miss a single game. I even bought a special sports pass last year on my cable just so I could watch every game. Now on to this season. I think this squad will be very capable of repeating their success from last season and can even improve. I won't get too crazy in my predictions, but my predictions are going to be what I think the floor is for this team.

Prediction: (20-12, 9-9) 6th in the Big 12

Schedule & Coverage

You can find the Texas Tech Basketball Schedule here. The season gets under way tonight at 7:30 PM in an exhibition game against Missouri Western State. Once the "real" games get under way, VTM will be doing weekly basketball articles along with pre- and post-game previews and recaps. Let's make sure we support our team and have a great season this year.