Social media has never been a place for rational sports opinions, but the panic surrounding this Texas Tech basketball team that lost to Houston and narrowly edged out Abilene Christian is completely unfounded.
Houston has one of the deepest and most talented backcourts in the country. Texas Tech was never going to go undefeated—especially with so many new players trying to build chemistry early in the season—so this is as palatable a loss as we could’ve recorded.
The people knocking the Red Raiders for struggling against Abilene Christian know literally nothing about basketball. This sport goes beyond the surface level of Power-5 vs. mid-major. Abilene Christian is going to win the Southland Conference this year, a league that’s been dominated by SFA (you know, the team that beat Duke last year) and the team’s veteran backcourt led the Wildcats to 20 and 27 wins in the last two seasons, respectively. Put simply, Tech beat a tournament team by seven. We shouldn’t have a problem with that.
The offense will work itself out. The talent is there. The coaching is certainly there. We won’t shoot 68 percent from the free-throw line for the entire season. Don’t worry.
Instead, Tech fans should be intensely encouraged by is how effectively the team is defending. The Red Raiders have the No. 1 defense in the country right now according to KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency ratings, which measures points allowed per 100 possessions taking into account the strength of the opponents. If Tech continues to defend at this level and the offense finds its rhythm, a Final Four bid is all but guaranteed.
Enjoy the process of watching this team come into its own over the next couple of months. By the time the Big 12 Conference tournament arrives, the Red Raiders will be reaching their peak. Then the fun really begins.