The title of this piece says it all. Ok, not really, but it says a lot. Lately, when watching Texas Tech basketball, I have found myself (and my fellow VTM contributors can attest to this) yelling at Toddrick Gotcher an inordinate number of times. Last night, after Tech's thrilling upset of the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners, I realized this is less a result of any perceived poor play by Gotcher than it is of my own cognitive bias as a basketball fan.
I think I'm still gunshy from the (very recent) days of Texas Tech needing Gotcher to be a scorer to win basketball games. May we never return to those days.
Gotcher's stat line from last night won't jump off the paper and grab you by any means. He had only eight points on 30% (3-10) shooting from the floor (1-5 from 3-point range), five rebounds, and a pair of assists and steals...but that stat line does little justice to the near-Herculean amount of effort/hustle he displayed in last night's game and the leadership he continues to provide for this young, surging Texas Tech team.
His 1-5 stat line from deep won't tell you that with Oklahoma up by 4 with just over two minutes to play, with every Tech fan feeling that familiar sinking feeling of impending doom, he buried a clutch three from the corner to pull Tech back within one and keep the Red Raiders alive.
It won't tell you that, in what was potentially the play of the year for the Red Raiders, he single-handedly stopped what amounted to a 4-on-0 fast break with pure hustle and determination, leading to a huge three pointer on the other end from Keenan Evans instead of a wider lead for the Sooners.
Tech's "Super Sophomores" may be carrying this team back to the realm of basketball relevance, but they still live and die by the leadership and court savvy of leaders like Toddrick Gotcher.
Just 12 days ago, the Red Raiders were 3-7 in conference play and things were looking grim. With three wins in a row over Top 25 teams (Tech was an astonishing 3-52 over the past 6+ years against ranked teams before going on this run) and a real shot at playing itself into the NCAA Tournament, we as fans can just enjoy the ride and be proud of what these guys are building in Lubbock.