Coming into the season, Texas Tech was coming off an NCAA Championship game appearance and they were a consensus Top-15 team. They didn’t have a great non-conference play but did find a way to beat Louisville, which put them back into the Top-25 of most polls. Still to this day, the Red Raiders have a pretty good public perception, mostly due to Chris Beard and all the talent that is on that team. While that is all good, the Red Raiders’ resume is not.
As mentioned earlier, the Red Raiders have that great win Louisville in December, that is their only quadrant 1 win at this point in the season. Texas Tech’s only other 3 quadrant 2-3 wins are a road win at Kansas State, and home wins against Iowa State and Oklahoma State. The rest of their wins are against quadrant 4 teams. While Texas Tech has played a pretty good overall schedule, as 8 of their games are against quadrant one opponents, they are 1-7 in those games, which is simply unacceptable to this point and is one of the main reasons why they right now would find themselves sitting squarely on the bubble.
While I seem to be public enemy number one based on the fact that I am saying nothing good at the moment about the Red Raiders, I do want to acknowledge that they did at least schedule some decent non-conference opponents. Louisville, DePaul, Kentucky and their games in Las Vegas are enough to boost their non-conference strength of schedule to an acceptable 177th.
The main problem I see with that schedule is that instead of scheduling halfway decent mid-majors like North Texas, Stephen F. Austin, and Louisiana Tech, which would help give them a few more wins over decent teams. What they instead did was schedule eight cupcakes against teams that are outside the Top-225 of the NET. That lack of schedule balance I think affected the way that the team played on the court by way of having the team not get tested but also left this team having to do all their work from a resume perspective against some really good competition.
Now the good news for the Red Raiders is that they play in the Big 12, a league that provides opportunities to pick up quality wins, much like their game tonight against West Virginia. This game against West Virginia would qualify as a quadrant 1A win and immediately get them off the bubble for now. The Red Raiders also have three more opportunities for a Quadrant 1A win as they play Baylor once and Kansas twice during the season. If they can pick up any of those wins it helps their resume as well. As for the rest of the league, there’s not a ton of big wins available to pick up but they still should get a few more quadrant 2 wins to help out their resume look even stronger.
Should the Red Raiders begin to pick up the necessary wins that were previously mentioned, Texas Tech should get off the bubble fairly quickly while they look to move towards a higher seed. If they aren’t able to take advantage of these opportunities we could see Texas Tech miss the NCAA Tournament.