In the final week of the regular season, the Red Raiders looked much improved in many aspects of the game. Scoring, defense (minus Baylor), and a guy named Kyler Edwards looked a lot better as we rolled in two games and battled in another. For how this team performed in the stretch from WVU to the road game in Stillwater, that is a good sight to see.
As I mentioned above, Kyler Edwards has finally found his stride on the offensive end. In the month of March alone, Edwards has shot 18/23 from the field, 11/15 from three-point range, and has scored 49 points. The junior guard is finding his rhythm at the best time for this team, who could definitely use his constant offensive presence heading into the post-season.
The wins over TCU and Iowa State were both needed and dominant. We controlled the games from tip, with the exception of a bumpy stretch against the Cyclones. Sunday was a different story, when we paid a rescheduled visit to the Baylor Bears in Waco. It’s safe to say they are the third ranked team in the country for a reason, to put it lightly.
MaCio Teague basically could not miss a shot no matter where he was at, as he exploded for 35 points while shooting 10-12 from three. Baylor’s other two starting guards threw in a combined 35 points of their own, meaning Tech’s entire team only outscored the trio by a whopping three points. In what could have been a better defensive effort, I believe Baylor’s performance attested more to how good they are, rather than the lack of our defense.
The Post-Season Is Upon Us
With the regular season drawing to a close, post-season basketball is officially here! The Red Raiders are slated to be the sixth seed in the Big 12 tournament, facing off against third seeded Texas in the first round. If we were to win the first matchup, the Kansas Jayhawks would likely be the next team up for the Red Raiders.
In what would be a great trip to Kansas City if we were to win the whole thing, I do not believe winning a lot of games does a lot for us in the long run. Yes, it could bump our seeding from a probable five to the four line, but I’m not sure if 2-3 more games on the schedule actually helps you moving forward, in terms of health and rest.
I would be blissfully pleased even just going 1-1 in KC, but that is definitely not guaranteed considering how good the top seven teams are in the Big 12. There is no doubt that Coach Beard will be wanting his guys to play to win, but I do not believe he will be overly upset if we were even a first round exit out of the tourney.
According to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, Tech is currently listed as a five seed in the Big Dance. While that is definitely a high seed to have, the thing that concerns me a bit is the dreaded 5/12 matchup. For those of you who do not know, these games are infamous for being the matchups where you most likely find the biggest upsets. While I believe that would not happen, it will definitely be in the back of my mind depending on who we’re paired with.
To wrap this all up; it is March. Everything from here on out is on the line and Beard knows that. From what I have seen in him at his tenure at Tech, there’s nobody else I would rather have leading our team into March Madness. In what will be our first big tournament game since that dreaded Monday night two years ago, I know Beard will be using that as fuel to get these guys where they want and need to be.