Chances are you have opened this article because you root for one of the 64 teams that are no longer dancing. Maybe your team didn’t get an invite at all. Either way, going forward you need to be rooting for the right team. I’ll explain why Texas Tech is that team.
The True Underdogs
Texas Tech’s men’s basketball program was picked to finish 7th in the Big 12 this season and is now one of the four teams left in all of college basketball. Talk about a freakin’ underdog story. However, this team was slept on for good reason. Coming off the program’s first Elite Eight appearance, the team had to replace six key pieces of its roster and just over 70% of its scoring. That posed no problem to head coach Chris Beard, who was able to replace that production with the addition of key grad transfers and incredible player development. While Auburn may also be an underdog story, Texas Tech bears the brunt of disrespect in its own conference as well as the nation without much to fight back with. This year they’re fighting back.
Players to watch for:
Jarrett Culver - I don’t know how some people don’t know who this kid is yet. And if you haven't seen him play yet, you’re missing out. Culver will be a very productive NBA player sooner than later. His sneaky size and length makes him a difficult opponent on both sides of the ball. Jarrett Culver exudes efficiency and has been a large reason why this team is still dancing.
18.9 Pts, 6.4 Reb, 3.7 As
Jarrett Culver (22 PTS, 4 ASTS, 4 REBS, 3 STLS) didn't have his best shooting game (0/4 3FG's) but he put together a nice all-around game in #TexasTech's 63-44 win over #Michigan in the #Sweet16. It will be interesting to see how he fares against #Gonzaga tonight in the #Elite8 pic.twitter.com/cwJhlOatg8— DraftExpressContent (@DXContent) March 30, 2019
Tariq Owens - Possibly the best overall defender in all of college basketball. I’ll say it again for those in the back... POSSIBLY THE BEST OVERALL DEFENDER IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL. While Owen’s makes his impact on the interior as a shot blocker, he guards the perimeter exceptionally well for his size. This combined with his shot blocking prowess, makes the Red Raiders an extremely versatile team defensively. If you enjoy rim-rattling dunks and huge blocks, Tariq Owens has you covered.
11.6 Pts, 2.0 Reb, 2.2 Ast
Tariq Owens with the BLOCK! Shades of Hakim Warrick! pic.twitter.com/n5DoaaJA9K— 12up (@12upSport) March 31, 2019
Davide Moretti - The Italian Stallion. The Spicy Meatball. The Maestro. Whatever you want to call the guy, he is a fan-favorite here in Lubbock and he is undeniably the most efficient offensive threat in the nation. Moretti shot 50% from the field, 40% from three, and 90% from the free throw line in conference play this season. This is an astonishing feat for the young Italian. Expect to see some clutch three-pointers from Moretti for years to come.
8.9 Pts, 5.8 Reb, 2.4 Bpg
Davide Moretti is trying to close this thing out.pic.twitter.com/FVFfR7r0SQ— Sporting News (@sportingnews) March 31, 2019
It’s no secret that Texas Tech has blossomed into an elite defense that is capable of shutting down any team in the country, just ask offensive mastermind John Beline or Nate Oats. Although Oats would never admit to it, this team can guard with the best of ‘em. Ranked #1 in defensive efficiency, this team managed to hold one of the top offenses in the country, Gonzaga, to a measly 69 points. This defense gives Texas Tech the ability to play with any team in the country; proving its effectiveness game in and game out.
This may tie into defense a little bit, but I have never, in 20 years of watching college basketball, seen a team that communicates and helps defensively better than this year’s squad at Texas Tech. Not to mention the chemistry and belief that Chis Beard has instilled into his players. It’s unmatched and will fuel this team on this title run.
Now, please take an application. You know it’s the right thing to do.