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Chris Beard catapults himself into “best coach in the country” conversation with Louisville win

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He’s certainly the best coach in the Big 12. Sorry, Bill Self.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Tech at Louisville Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

On five occasions in Texas Tech basketball history, the Red Raiders lost to the No. 1 team in the country.

But on the sixth try, a different story.

Few people outside of the Tech locker room gave the Red Raiders (6-3) even the slightest of chances to take down the seemingly-unbeatable No. 1 Louisville Cardinals (9-1), but we’ve known Chris Beard long enough to anticipate an all-out assault from his players regardless of skill level. The unrelenting physicality of an otherwise undersized team led the Red Raiders to grind their way to a 70-57 victory over the Cardinals.

“We don’t need to be a better team than Louisville,” Beard said in his halftime interview. “We just need to be better than them for 40 minutes.”

Perfectly stated. Without its leading scorer in Jahmi’us Ramsey, Tech loses this game nine times out of 10. But with a coach of Beard’s caliber on the sideline, you can’t help but feel like those odds are a bit too kind to Louisville.

In three years at Tech, Beard has established a culture on two key pillars - teamwork and toughness. There’s no “hero ball” and there’s no discernible selfishness on this team. As far as toughness is concerned, take any 30-second period out of this game and try to find a play where the Red Raiders were out-hustled. It just didn’t happen. And it won’t happen on many occasions in the future, either.

Beard has proven time and time again he’s capable of getting the absolute most out of every ounce of talent in each of his players. He’s done this at every level and now, on the biggest stage in college basketball - Madison Square Garden against the No. 1 team in the country at the Jimmy V Classic - he’s done it again.

I won’t hear your arguments. Beard has surpassed Bill Self as the top coach in the conference - after all, he hasn’t needed to cheat to sign elite prospects - and there’s no reason to assume he’s not one of the best three coaches in the country.

This team may not make it back to the Final Four in 2020, but under the elite coaching of Beard, this program will be raising a championship banner sooner rather than later.

Poll

Is Chris Beard a top-3 coach in the country?

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  • 91%
    Yes
    (714 votes)
  • 8%
    Not yet, but give him time
    (67 votes)
781 votes total Vote Now