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The rising expectations of Texas Tech basketball

Are we expecting the unexpected?

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Fun, wildly-unverified fact of the day: Charles Dickens was a Red Raider fan. How else could he so artfully capture what is in the heart of so many matadors? No need to dust off the ol’ sparknotes, though, the above quote is from that timeless work of Dickens appropriately titled, Great Expectations.

Expectations, great or small, have been something of a hot topic around VTM lately. Has Kliff met them? What should they be? Are they different for different sports? On the most recent Air Raid Podcast, expectations surrounding the basketball program were discussed in regards to the squad’s hot start to conference play. Before the season began and even during the non-conference portion of the season, it was almost universally agreed that Coach Chris Beard should be able to guide this team to the NCAA tournament. But, the discussion ended there. There wasn’t any talk of contending for a Big 12 title. There wasn’t talk of a top 4 tournament seed. There wasn’t any mention of ‘expecting’ to make a deep run in March. The expectations were relatively clear and simple—make the tournament.

Of course, hardly anyone expected Tech to start 5-1 in conference including a road win in Lawrence and a win over No. 2 West Virginia. The Red Raiders have been so impressive that it has some rethinking what this team can do and some redefining just what this team “should” accomplish. Tech is in the AP top 10 for consecutive weeks, and the latest bracketology has them as a projected No. 2 seed.

Here’s where we harken back to Dickens’ words of learning from past suffering. I have been prone to over-hyping Tech hoops due to a scarlet and black bias only to see my hopes and dreams reach the Sweet 16 and go no further. As I reach the wise, old age of 30, I have learned that it’s ok to pump the brakes when things are good. That being jaded is fine. That guarding your hopes and dreams is natural. That if we don’t learn from our past failures, we can only fail to have new successes.

To that point, every season is unique and fluid. There are ups and downs and twists and turns. To be successful, you have to take each game one at a time and can’t look ahead. So, while you don’t want to squander what appears to be a great opportunity this season, I prefer to look at the program at large. I think Coach Beard would tell you the same thing. Building up the program for a single season of success can’t be the goal in mind. The end goal is to build a perennial Big 12 contender, and he has me as a staunch believer in his process. The most impressive facet of the Red Raiders this season is their depth of talented youth. It allows the team to play with a versatility that few in the country, much less the conference, can match. The latest in hoops recruiting promises more of the same in the future. A promising future of many years of good Red Raider basketball looms large on the horizon.

Let us know what YOU expect out of this basketball season.

Poll

I expect Texas Tech hoops to __________.

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Make it to the Final Four.
    (212 votes)
  • 61%
    Make it to the Sweet 16.
    (492 votes)
  • 10%
    Simply make it to the NCAA tournament.
    (87 votes)
  • 1%
    I don’t have any expectations of Tech hoops.
    (13 votes)
804 votes total Vote Now