This week Chris Beard and Texas Tech announced the non conference basketball schedule for the upcoming 2016-2017 season. The season will tip off at home against Houston Baptist on November 11th. The biggest highlights of the non conference include a November trip to Cancun for the Cancun Challenge and the SEC/BIG 12 Challenge in late January. The Cancun Challenge has a pretty decent field including Purdue, Utah State, and Auburn. The only potential hiccup I see could be the December 17th trip to Richmond, but Tech really is a much better team.
A strong non conference schedule really helps make a case with the NCAA selection committee in March and unfortunately Tech does not have one. Tech will need to have success in Cancun and against LSU to have their non conference even considered when it comes time for March Madness. Coach Beard will have to have this team playing well very early in the season if they expect to pick up some quality wins in Cancun.
I do think Beard's team will be good enough to overcome the weak non conference, but there will be little margin for error in the regular season. The good news is Tech should have around 10 wins coming into January conference play.
Here is the 2016-2017 non conference schedule:
Friday, Nov. 11 - Houston Baptist - Lubbock, Texas
Tuesday, Nov. 15 - North Texas - Lubbock, Texas
Saturday, Nov. 19 - Eastern Kentucky - Lubbock, Texas
Tuesday, Nov. 22 - Auburn - Cancun, Mexico
Wednesday, Nov. 23 - Cancun, Mexico
Friday, Nov. 25 - Idaho State - Lubbock,Texas
Wednesday, Nov. 30 - Incarnate Word - Lubbock, Texas
Saturday, Dec. 3 - Rice - Lubbock, Texas
Wednesday, Dec. 14 - Nicholls State - Lubbock, Texas
Saturday, Dec. 17 - Richmond - Richmond, Virginia
Wednesday, Dec. 21 - Longwood - Lubbock, Texas
Saturday, Jan. 28 - LSU - Lubbock, Texas (Big 12/SEC Challenge)