The Big 12 basketball season is nigh upon us, which means that there are a handful of preseason predictions from your traditional media sources regarding predicted finish within the Big 12.
Dan and I have a conversation coming up about the team in general, but before we discuss the team (and most likely some bias goes along with that) I wanted to know where you think Texas Tech will finish this year.
I know that a lot of you don’t follow basketball as much as football, but I wanted to educate you as much as possible:
- Sports Illustrated’s Big 12 Preview: I can’t remember the guy’s first name, but Hanner is the last name and his predictions are usually on point, and he has Texas Tech picked to finish 8th overall:
The good news is that the Red Raiders return almost every significant contributor from last season. The bad news is that last year’s team went 13-19. The key for this year will be for coach Tubby Smith to continue the development of a quartet of sophomores—Evans, Odiase, Smith and Manderson—who could take Tech back to the NCAA tournament in another year.
- College Basketball Talk’s Big 12 Preview: Scott Phillips picks Texas Tech to finish 8th overall, and notes the overwhelming scoring and rebounding returning this year:
8. Texas Tech: There weren’t a lot of positives from last season’s 3-15 Big 12 showing, but the Red Raiders return 85 percent of its scoring and 86 percent of its rebounding. With some of the other teams in the league adding a lot of new pieces, Texas Tech should be more cohesive out of the gate.
- CBS Sports Big 12 Predictions: Matt Norlander compiles the college basketball experts on CBS and their panel of seven writers ended up picking Texas Tech 9th overall:
Given Tubby Smith coaches this time, I’m expecting something of an improvement here. A lot of last year’s team returns, including star guard Devaugntah Williams, who might average 16 points per game this season. The real test is how this team does off its campus. Texas Tech didn’t win one road or neutral-site game last season.
As an aside, the first sentence completely confuses me. Norlander, Jon Rothstein and Doug Gottlieb all have Texas Tech picked 8th, while Jerry Palm has Texas Tech at 9th and Gary Parrish, Chip Patterson and Sam Vecenie all have Texas Tech pegged at 10th.
- Rush The Court’s Preseason Story Lines: Brian Goodman has some storylines, none of which mention Texas Tech. Goodman also has Texas Tech’s burning question which is if the sophomores can get Texas Tech out of the cellar:
Having Williams and Gotcher back in the lineup is nice, but the key for Smith’s squad this season will be the development of his first full recruiting class. The Red Raiders return five rising sophomores, including Zach Smith and Norense Odiase, who both played in over 50 percent of Tech’s available minutes a year ago. Smith is a 6’8″ forward who doesn’t really have the girth to play down low but also lacks the shooting to play on the perimeter. He had the lowest offensive usage rate among this group, but he’s athletic enough that he should be able to find a role in the team’s schemes even if it’s just becoming a defensive stopper. Odiase is a bit more promising. At 6’9″, 265 pounds, he’s tailor-made to bang down low in the Big 12. Odiase converted 50 percent of his two-point attempts last season and that number should improve as he develops his post game. In addition to Smith and Odiase, Tech will also have Keenan Evans, Isaiah Manderson and Justin Gray back on the floor this season. Evans will earn minutes at point guard, where he showed some defensive promise; Manderson gives the team another big body inside; and Gray should improve considerably after playing in just 15 games last season. – See more at: http://rushthecourt.net/2015/10/27/big-12-preview-texas-techs-burning-question/#sthash.XoGVp3iR.dpuf
- Campus Insiders Big 12 Preseason Rankings: Ken Bikoff pretty much has zero hope for Texas Tech, ranking them 10th and only mentions one player:
Head coach Tubby Smith welcomes back plenty of experience from last year’s 13-19 team, and there is some talent to pull off some upsets. That said, Texas Tech is unquestionably a step below their Big 12 brethren in terms of talent from top to bottom, and consistency is going to be an issue. Devaugntah Williams is a perfect example. When he’s hot, he ranks among the best scorers in the conference. When he’s not hot, he’s, uh, yeah… let’s just say he’s not very good. He has to pick his spots to assert himself and show better judgment on the floor.
The summary is one of that Texas Tech is still pretty young, largely a team consisting of sophomores, but those sophomores played a ton of minutes last year. Where do you think Texas Tech finishes in the Big 12 this year?