After a devastating loss to Kansas on Saturday, the Red Raiders responded in the best way possible by upsetting the #4 ranked Baylor Bears in Lubbock Monday night. The team’s second win over a top-10 team this season has rejuvenated its NCAA tournament chances and allowed them to keep pace in the rugged Big 12. The remaining conference schedule offers several other big opportunities to improve the team’s resume.
Strength of Schedule
Splitting consecutive home games against potential 1-seeds is a great result that fans should be happy about. Still, the next three games, two of which are on the road, come against tournament teams. Going 2-1 in those games would be huge for the resume and could position Tech nicely down the stretch. Still, when it comes to tiebreakers, the nonconference schedule could easily come back to bite this team, so they’ll need to take advantage of the huge upcoming opportunities.
The loss to Tech didn’t knock Baylor off of their 1-seed in most recent bracket predictions, meaning the media respect how well this Tech team is playing. Seven of the ten teams in the league have the inside track to the tournament, and Tech are fighting to push into that group. Finishing conference play strong and then making some noise in the Big 12 tournament would make it impossible to overlook this Red Raider squad.
We usually mention bad losses here, too, but since there is really only one (Auburn), we’ll focus more on the wins this week. Bouncing back from the Kansas loss to beat Baylor was a huge win for this team. Baylor could have narrowed the gap with Kansas ahead of their upcoming showdown, and Tech had every excuse built in should they have lost. This and the win over West Virginia make one of the best combinations of any bubble team in the nation. Tech still need to find a road win, but they’ve proved that their top-end performance matches up with the elite teams in the country.
Going 3-2 down the stretch would get the Red Raiders to 20 wins on the season and, should they advance in the Big 12 tournament, make them a tough team to overlook. While the Baylor win didn’t cure all of the hiccups along the road, it could prove to be a turning point in the season. Every team hopes to have a chance come March, and the Red Raiders have certainly created one for themselves.