Even though the Red Raiders are the higher seed in the first game of the Big Dance, it seems that everyone has already counted us out in the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, we happened to match-up against one of the more prevalent mid-major teams that has had recent success in March Madness. Butler made the NCAA Championship game twice in back-to-back years while Brad Stevens was the head coach (2010 & 2011). Heck, I was at the Final Four and Championship games in 2011 and got to see firsthand how good this team was. I even was rooting for Butler to beat UConn from the stands in that final game, because who doesn’t love the underdog?
Butler has made the tournament 3 out of the past 4 seasons. They have the experience of being here before, and being ready to play in the spotlight. Texas Tech has not made the tournament since 2007. Our Red Raiders are already picked by Vegas to lose by 4 points. Here are some of the other negative predictions floating around out there…
From si.com –
Texas Tech might be a year away. It enters the tournament fresh off a loss to lowly TCU in the Big 12 tournament and hasn’t won a single postseason game since the 2013 Big 12 tournament. Smith has plenty of NCAA experience, but this is the first time in the tournament for every player on the roster, none of whom average more than 12 points per game. What’s more, the Red Raiders were the worst rebounding team in the Big 12 and allow opponents to grab almost one-third of their missed shots. That inability to limit teams to one shot per possession undermines an offense that is surprisingly efficient and could be what keeps their postseason losing streak intact.
SI Prediction: Lose to No. 9 Butler in first round
From rumbleinthegarden.com –
How far can this team go in the NCAA Tournament?: Hm. A team with some good home wins, only one good road win, and that has lost three out of four – including on to TCU, whose coach was fired this week? Looks like a first-round knockout to me, especially facing an opener against a tough Butler team.
From campusinsiders.com –
Pete Fiutak – I’m sure this will come back to bite me in the buns, but Texas Tech is an awful 8-seed. Butler, the new Gonzaga, will bounce the sputtering Red Raiders out of the first round. The Bulldogs will hit the three to get past Texas Tech in the first round and bother the bejeebers out of Virginia in the second in a tough loss.
Ken Bikoff – Texas Tech has been slipping of late, and Butler is going to have a renewed focus after sweating on Selection Sunday.
Jordan Cornette – Texas Tech has a balanced scoring attack. Butler’s Roosevelt Jones is a matchup nightmare. Bulldogs advance.
From eog.com –
The Red Raiders lost three of their last four games including a loss to TCU, the last place team in the Big 12, in the conference’s tournament. Texas Tech’s five straight wins prior to its season-ending disaster are what propelled the Red Raiders into the tournament.
PREDICTION: Butler 79, Texas Tech 77
The list goes on, but I’ll stop right there. These are the sort of things that I have been reading and hearing since Texas Tech made the NCAA tournament. While there are some positive predictions for Tech to advance in their first game of March Madness, the overwhelming majority have picked Butler to win this game.
Do you think that is going to slow down Tubby Smith and our Red Raiders squad from anything? Absolutely NOT! We have been down this road before. At the beginning of the season we were counted out by everyone who picked us to finish dead last in the Big 12. Ignored by the national media, who did not even mention our school until the wins started rolling in. We had to earn that national media attention by doing what this team does best, playing as the underdog. We have been at our best when we are the team that has been counted out.
Tubby Smith on being back in the Big Dance per lubbockonline.com –
“It doesn’t feel weird to be back. We felt like we had been a good team all season and had a good feeling about this group of young men,” Smith said. “It was actually little weird before (when we didn’t make it).”
Butler may be use to getting labeled as the underdog in the NCAA tournament, but in the game tomorrow Texas Tech is the underdog. That is how we like it… Wreck ’em Tech!!!