Top-50 Team Countdown: #33.Texas Tech Red Raiders
33.Texas Tech Red Raiders
The Red Raiders come into this season off their best season in program history, as they nearly won the Big 12 and went all the way to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament. This success led Chris Beard to be the Big 12 Coach of the year and earned him a six-year contract extension. The Red Raiders lose a lot with Keenan Evans, Zhaire Smith, Niem Stevenson, Zach Smith, Tommy Hamilton, and Justin Gray all leaving but they did fill those positions in nicely. Grad transfers Matt Mooney and Tariq Owens should provide some quality play and experience. The Red Raiders also add their best recruiting class in program history, which is headlined by four-star forward Khavon Moore. These additions, Chris Beard’s coaching, and the class of quality returning players make this team one that should once again make the NCAA Tournament and compete in the Big 12.
The Red Raiders lost an all-program player in Keenan Evans to graduation, as well as freshman star Zhaire Smith to the NBA but they still have some quality players still around. The Red Raiders are going to be led by Jarrett Culver, who was third on the team in scoring last season, averaging 11.3 points per game. He will likely take major steps forward and become the teams leading scorer this season. Matt Mooney transfers in from South Dakota, Mooney will likely be the teams starting point guard but will be known more for his ability to score from beyond the arc. Brandone Francis is another experienced guard off the bench, who will likely start for the Red Raiders. Davide Moretti will likely come off the bench this season but he definitely will see more minutes this season for the Red Raiders, while being a quality backup point guard. Kyler Edwards is another four-star recruit, who should get plenty of minutes this season and potentially start this season. Avery Benson is a guard who redshirted last year and will play some minutes off the bench this season. Kevin McCullar reclassified from the 2019 class to play this season, he should get minutes off the bench this year. This is once again one of the deepest backcourts in the country, as they have seven players playing for three spots, that was one of the things that made the Red Raiders so well last year and that should continue to be the case this season.
The Red Raiders lose a few good players from last year in the frontcourt but the addition of Khavon Moore and Tariq Owens makes this one of the better frontcourts in the league. Owens is a 6’11” Forward who led the Big East in blocks last season at St. John’s, his length and versatility fits in perfectly to the Chris Beard system and will make him a force on the defensive end. Norense Odiase is a senior who has played big minutes for the Red Raiders already and will continue to start inside for the Red Raiders this season. The Red Raiders also add Khavon Moore a 6’8” Freshman who is one of the highest ranked recruits to ever sign with the program. His upside and versatility will likely help him to play big minutes right away for the Red Raiders this year. The Red Raiders also have Deshawn Corprew, an undersized forward who will likely get minutes this season playing as a small-ball four. The Red Raiders will probably start out the season with both Owens and Odiase starting, however, don’t be surprised if at some point the Red Raiders move Khavon Moore into the starting lineup in place of one of those two players.
The Red Raiders have once again put together another non-conference schedule, which is headlined by a game against Duke in New York City on December 20th. The Red Raiders start the season with three buy games before they head to the Hall of Fame Classic to play USC and either Nebraska or Missouri State. The Red Raiders also play Memphis in Miami for the Hoophall Invitational, before their big matchup against Duke in Madison Square Garden. The Red Raiders start Big 12 play on January 2nd at West Virginia and will end the season on March 9th at Iowa State. The Red Raiders will also play Arkansas at home in the SEC/ Big 12 Challenge on January 26th. The Big 12 Tournament will run March 13th-16th, with the NCAA Tournament beginning March 19th if the Red Raiders make it to the NCAA Tournament.
What to expect this season
The Red Raiders will probably not have the season they had last year but they still should be a Tournament team once again. The Red Raiders will likely start the season off hot, taking care of a schedule that is pretty manageable. Don’t be surprised if the Red Raiders do enter into the Big 12 schedule with a similar record that they had last year. The Red Raiders will probably go through up and downs in Big 12 play but they still should be around .500 in conference play. Assuming they make the NCAA Tournament they are a team that could win a game or two and surprise some people once again in the NCAA Tournament.
PG: Matt Mooney
SG: Brandone Francis
SF: Jarrett Culver
PF: Norense Odiase
C: Tariq Owens
Key Reserves: Davide Moretti, Kyler Edwards, Avery Benson, Deshawn Corprew, Khavon Moore, Kevin McCullar
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