While sitting on plush leather couches with his wife, players and fans around him, Texas Tech Head Coach Tubby Smith waited to see where the basketball Gods would place his Red Raiders. When it was announced that they would grab the number 8 seed and face Butler, the number 9 seed in Raleigh, NC the crowd and his players erupted into a frenzy. After years of losing seasons, the Red Raiders had finally made it back to the big post season tournament.
After strong showings in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, in Canada and losing only one game in the first two months of the season, most people paying attention could tell this would be a different team than what they were used to seeing. Texas Tech confirmed those feelings while taking out top 25 ranked teams like Baylor, Iowa State and at the time, the number 3 ranked Oklahoma Sooners. Coach Smith had prepared his team to no end for a season that would be sure to snap their long postseason drought.
After finishing 13-19 last season and not having a winning season for six long years, this is sure to help wash out that bad taste a little. With Texas Tech’s ticket to the Big Dance, Smith becomes only the second coach (along with Oklahoma’s Lon Kruger) to lead five different teams to the NCAA Tournament. Butler is no push over though, finishing the year 21-10 and 10-8 in the BIG East. The Red Raiders will have to do their homework and play smart basketball, “Now we’ve got to go watch some film,” Smith said. Now we’ve got to go to work.” At this point in the season however, most feel there’s a good chance Texas Tech is more than looking forward to putting in the work and continuing to play on here in March.