Before the season kicked off I did a season preview and predicted 17-15 (7-11) with a NIT birth and even then some thought those expectations were too high.
Should be Tubby's team
7-11 is better than I expect
Needless to say, this team surprised everyone this season. Last year Texas Tech went 13-19 (3-15) but the core of the team was mostly freshmen. This season Tubby Smith turned the team around rather quickly by going 19-13 (9-9) and making it to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007. Even though the Red Raiders were bounced by Butler in the first round, this team had a very successful season in Tubby's 3rd season at Texas Tech.
Now the question is what is expected of this team for the 2016/2017 season? Toddrick Gotcher and Devaugntah Williams will be gone leaving this team with a core of juniors and seniors.
Projected Starting 5
Devon Thomas/Jordan Jackson/C.J. Williamson
As you can see, the 2-guard spot will be up for grabs. Texas Tech will have Devon Thomas in the mix, he appeared in all 32 games, along with the young talent of Jordan Jackson and C.J. Williamson. I expect Matthew Temple and Aaron Ross to come in off the bench to help out down low. Aaron Ross will have a good chance at Big 12 6th Man of the year. Donovan Ham will also supply some support off of the bench helping at either guard spot.
Toddrick Gotcher and Devaugntah Williams led the team in scoring with 10.9 and 10.8 points a game, but Aaron Ross and Zach Smith followed closely behind. HOT TAKE: I believe Just Gray will lead the team in scoring next year. He didn't get in on a lot of action early in the season but he closed out the year nicely.
So this brings us to the big question here of if the team will face too high of expectations next season. The answer is NO.
Why Expectations Won't Be Too High
1) It will be year 3 for this young core to be together. They've built up chemistry and they know of each others strengths and weakness in their game.
2) Tubby Smith is a coaching legend. He's been in this spot before and knows how to handle it.
3) This team is going to be hungry. They got a small taste of making it to the NCAA tournament and will be eager to make it back and win in the next go-around.
4) TCU and Oklahoma St will have new coaches, so expect them to be the bottom two teams in the Big 12 again.
5) The top-tier teams will have some turnover. Next year there will be no Buddy Hield, Georges Niang or Perry Ellis. There will be some other great talent who will graduate or go to the NBA as well.