Before we start talking about this, we need to establish something first. It is possible to be saddened, even frustrated by a loss and still retain an accurate perspective. Last night, myself and most of the VTM staff were frustrated. In the moment, this loss was a very tough one to take. We knew that our spot in March Madness was secure, but losing to TCU is not a good omen for our focus down the road. Both of these are compatible thoughts.
Still, the question remains: where do the Red Raiders go from here? What happens to the focus of a team that had made a living beating teams it wasn't supposed to beat when it gets it's own game thrown back in it's face? There are two ways this can go down: the team will refocus, or they will overcompensate.
The overcompensation route is the most troubling, because it's the easiest route to go down. After a big loss, it's really easy to get fired up for revenge and play too aggressive. Texas Tech cannot afford to play angry or aggressive, it's completely counter to how Tubby's offense functions. We live off of using the entire shot clock to score points, and if one or two players decide to play too fast, the entire machine will cease to function. We cannot be pulled two different directions.
The other way overcompensation can help is by playing too safe. If the team refuses to attack at all, we won't take the risks necessary to win. We can't play entirely safe in the NCAA Tournament, we have to do what got us there, which partially is taking risks behind the 3-point arc. If Aaron Ross and Toddrick Gotcher, our 3-point land snipers, decide that they're going to take things too slow, we'll be predictable and easy to defend.
Essentially, we need to refocus, and play our game. Not play too fast and aggressive, trying to hit threes or dunks every possession, but not play too slow and try to force things in the paint that aren't there.
Ultimately, this loss is a bad one, and one that we wish we could've had back. But how the 2015-2016 Texas Tech Red Raiders Men's Basketball Team responds will define their season. They could go full-bore into the tournament and shoot from all over the field, they could go in and attempt to work the ball around too much, or they could refocus and play Texas Tech basketball. I really hope they choose the last of these three options.