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The 2OT: What will it take for the Red Raiders to make a deep run in the tournament?

Maturity and experience are key to post season success

Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

The thought

For the second time in three seasons, the Red Raiders have made the big dance. Prior to 2015, Texas Tech basketball had been in a state of turmoil with five straight losing seasons through four head coaches. The glory days of Bob Knight and Gerald Meyers seemed like a distant memory.

Then just like that, the dark days were over. In Chris Beard’s second season, Texas Tech broke 20 regular season wins for the first time since 2007, reached its highest ranking in the AP polls (#6) and tied for the lowest seed in school history (3).

Success in the regular season doesn’t always translate into success during the postseason. Every year a top 4 seed gets upset by a team that somehow managed to sneak into the tournament. Teams who were destined to the final four end up going home well before the sweet sixteen. Too often, the success a team has during the regular season fails to translate in the playoffs

So what does if take to make a run in the tournament, and does Tech have it?

The take

To make it to the tournament, a team needs a combination of several things. Talent, coaching, and drive.

In Texas Tech’s case (and as is the case for most tournament teams) they seem to have all three boxes covered. They have talent with a deep roster that includes guys like Keenan Evans, who is a finalist for the Wooden award; and Zhaire Smith, who might become Texas Tech’s first ever one and done player.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Texas Tech
Having a senior class that has been to the tournement will be crucial to the Red Raiders post season campaign.
Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Tech has the coach (Chris Beard was named co-Big 12 coach of the year), and if you’ve watched even a second of Tech basketball this season, then there is no doubting this team’s drive to be successful

When it comes to the postseason, however, it takes a certain level of maturity to be successful. Something many teams lack when entering the tournament. The pressure to win and pageantry of the event can become overwhelming to some teams and despite how dominant they may have been all year, some teams just can’t overcome this distraction. We saw it in 2015 when the Red Raiders lost in the first round of both the Big 12 and the NCAA tournaments. We also saw it in baseball last season when the Big 12 Champion team heavy with freshman got eliminated in the regional round of the playoffs.

This year is different. Tech brings a team that includes three seniors on the starting lineup who have been to the tournament before and have more experience than any Red Raider team in almost a full decade. These seniors have also battled and overcome adversity in everything from injuries to head coaching changes.

Will it be enough to carry this team to a sweet sixteen and beyond? Only time will tell. I think the Red Raiders have all the pieces necessary to go further than any other team in Texas Tech men’s basketball history.

Poll

How far will the Red Raiders go in March?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    First Round
    (3 votes)
  • 4%
    Second Round
    (12 votes)
  • 29%
    Sweet Sixteen
    (71 votes)
  • 43%
    Elite Eight
    (105 votes)
  • 11%
    Final Four
    (28 votes)
  • 1%
    Lose National Championship game
    (3 votes)
  • 9%
    National Champions
    (22 votes)
244 votes total Vote Now