Who’d have ever thought before the season started that the Texas Tech men’s basketball team would make the final four in this year’s March Madness NCAA tournament?! Well, there was one guy in November who put down a $1,500 bet at 200-1 odds that the Red Raiders would win the national championship—that’s looking pretty good right about now!
Texas Tech has never made a Final Four, but they got close last year—Chris Beard’s team made the Elite Eight for the very first time last season. What a distance this team has come in such a short amount of time.
Out of all the teams remaining in this year’s tournament, Texas Tech is objectively the most feel-good story. They haven’t exactly played the most beautiful basketball this season, but their historically excellent defense has paved the way for them being a game away from playing for the national title.
With this in mind, here are just a few reasons why we believe strongly that Texas Tech won’t be done after the Final Four, and why whoever makes it out of the other bracket should be on guard in the national championship:
- Wins. Championships.: It’s the old mantra you hear over and over again in all sports—defense wins championships. And if that’s one of the things you look for in a champion, you need look no farther than Texas Tech, which has the best defense in college basketball. The Red Raiders’ adjusted defensive efficiency comes out to about 84 points per 100 positions, which is the best in college basketball by 2.2 points, and 4.5 points better than third place. They’re basically in a league of their own with regard to defense.
- Jarrett Culver: Culver is arguably the best player left in the tournament—the only other player we’ll hear arguments for is DeAndre Hunter. But look—we’re looking at a potential top five pick for Culver in the NBA draft this summer. He’s at the very least going to be a lottery pick. Having an elite talent like that on your side in the Final Four is extremely beneficial and can elevate the entire team to championship level.
- Three pointers: Texas Tech may have a reputation for gritty defense, but that doesn’t mean they can’t light it up at all. In fact, the team has repeatedly shown they can launch it from behind the arc when it’s most critical to do so. While less than 30 percent of the team’s points come from the three-point range, they do have two starters who can bang three-pointers at a rate of about 40 percent or greater, making them the ideal clutch players to have on your side in a championship game scenario.
- Mentality: When you’re the clear underdog, you can play with absolutely nothing to lose. Nobody expected Texas Tech to be here in the first place. There’s still almost nobody who believes they can take home the title. That allows them to play extremely loose—the pressure’s off at this point, because they’ve already far exceeded expectations.
- Coaching: Did we mention Chris Beard is a genius? His name is already coming up among the lists for best coaches in America. Consider this: five of the top six scorers from last year’s Elite Eight team are gone, and the team still went farther into the tournament than it ever has before. That’s remarkable.
Believe it, folks—Texas Tech is going to the Final Four and will be coming home with the title!
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