Basketball

Analyzing Texas Tech Basketball’s Schedule

With the season just a month away, we take a look at the upcoming schedule and fully analyze the match-ups.

In August, the Texas Tech basketball team released their out of conference schedule. Then, earlier this month, the Big 12 announced the conference basketball schedule. From these two dates, we got the entire regular season schedule for the Red Raiders.

There are a total of 31 games (not including Big 12 tournament), which includes 13 out of conference games and 18 conference games. There are 18 home games, nine away games and four neutral site games. And eight of those teams made the NCAA tournament, including a final four team and three other Elite Eight teams.

The season begins on Tuesday, November 6th, the Big 12 schedule starts on Wednesday, January 2nd, and ends on Saturday, March 9th. So let’s break down the 2018-2019 schedule:

  • Incarnate Word (Tuesday, Nov. 6) — The Red Raiders open their season on a Tuesday night, which typically happens on a Friday night. The season also typically starts a little later, but not this year. Incarnate Word should be an easy victory, who went 7-21 overall and 2-16 in conference.  Three of their top five scorers return this past season, including senior Charles Brown III, who averaged 13.5 ppg last year.
  • Mississippi Valley State (Friday, Nov. 9) — Texas Tech gets another easy challenge in the Hall of Fame Classic Regional Round when they face Mississippi Valley State. The Delta Devils went 4-28 last season and 4-14 in record. However, according to the 2017-2018 roster, there were a lot of junior that become seniors this season. The one-two punch at guard in Dante Scott and Jordan Evans should be dangerous.
  • Southeastern Louisiana (Tuesday, Nov. 13) — This is the second half of the Hall of Fame Classic Regional Round, and they get a team that did pretty well last season. They went 22-12, finished tied for first in the Southland Conference, narrowly lost to SFA in the conference tournament and went to the NIT. Although, they do lose a lot of senior leadership on that team. On the bright side for the Lions, two of their top three scorers from last season return in first team Southland conference and defensive player of the year Marlain Veal and 6’7″ Moses Greenwood.
  • University of Southern California (Monday, Nov. 19)  — For their first game away from the USA, the Red Raiders face a USC team that controversially missed the NCAA tournament after finishing second in the PAC-12 a season ago. Although they lose three of their top four scorers, which includes two first team PAC-12 selections, they do return a dangerous big man Bennie Boatwright. Paired with fellow big man Nick Rakocevic, USC may try to use their size to their advantage.
  • Nebraska or Missouri State (Tuesday, Nov. 20) — We don’t know who the Red Raiders will face for the second game, so we’re just going to discuss the importance of this tournament. Last year, Texas Tech went to the northeast to face Boston College and Northwestern in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Tip-Off. They defeated BC and blew out a ranked Northwestern squad. Tech is expected to win this tournament and they should. It’s not the end of the world if they drop a game, but winning two games puts them in a situation like last year.
  • Northern Colorado (Saturday, Nov. 24) — After a small trip to Kansas City, Texas Tech return home to face a Northern Colorado team that went 26-12 with an 11-7 conference record a season ago and an invite to the CIT, which they went 4-0 at. They lose their dynamic 20+ ppg scorer in Andre Spight, but they do return Jordan Davis, who was second on the team in points and assists and was third team All-Big Sky.
  • Memphis (Saturday, Dec. 1) — It’s time for Texas Tech to face their former coach in Tubby Sm—wait he got fired? But he was there for only two seasons? That was quick. Well, I guess it’s time for the Red Raiders to face Penny Hardaway’s squad in Miami. They return a dynamic scorer in Jeremiah Martin, who scored 18.9 ppg and was a second team All-AAC player a year ago. They return their top four scorers, all of which are seniors this season. Memphis didn’t do awful last season, as they finished 21-13 with a 10-8 record in the AAC. With this game in Miami, this could be a trap game for the Red Raiders.
  • Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Wednesday, Dec. 5) — The Golden Lions were only 14-21 a season ago, but they were 13-6 in conference, finished second in the SWAC and return five of their top minutes guys from a season ago, a rarity in college basketball. They are led by the SWAC Player of the Year Martaveous McNight, who averaged 18.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg and 3.5 apg, and SWAC defensive player of the year Trent Steen, who also averaged 7.6 ppg and 3.4 rpg. Tech should handle their business against them, but don’t be surprised if we see Arkansas Pine-Bluff in the NCAA tournament.
  • Northwestern State (Wednesday, Dec. 12) — After not practicing much and taking finals for a week, the Red Raiders welcome Northwestern State into town. Luckily, this is possibly Texas Tech’s easiest game of the year, which is good considering the lack of practice. The Demons went 4-25 last season and went 1-17 in the Southland Conference. They return their leading scorer, rebounder and blocker in Ishmael Lane, but don’t return the next few scorers.
  • Abilene Christian (Saturday, Dec. 15) — I absolutely love this game. This is the throwback game, where Tech plays in Lubbock Municipal Coliseum liked they used to and wear throwbacks. Last year’s game against Rice was close and a fun game. This year the opponent is Abilene Christian, who went 16-16 overall and 8-10 in the Southland Conference. The Wildcats lost to Tech 77-47 a year ago, and return a couple players on that team, including Southland honorable mention Jalone Friday and All-Defensive teamer Jaylen Franklin.
  • Duke (Thursday, Dec. 20) — This is the big one, and probably the only non-conference game Tech is expected to lose. Much like the Hall of Fame Classic, this game is pins the Red Raiders against an NCAA tournament team at a “neutral ground” (Seton Hall was close to NYC, Duke fan base travel everywhere). Texas Tech will have their hands full against Duke, with the top three recruits of the 2018 class (Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Cameron Reddish), along with the No. 17 and No. 41 overall recruits according to ESPN. The Red Raiders will be mismatched athletically, but here’s a game where we can size up Texas Tech with one of college basketball’s best.
  • UTRGV (Friday, Dec. 28) — Texas Tech gets off another week for Christmas before playing their final game before Big 12 play begins. And they’ll face an old friend against UTRGV in former Red Raider and Red Raider legacy Jordan Jackson. UTRGV does run into a problem, as all their returning scorers averaged just single digit points this past season. That being said, they do return their leading rebounder and second leading scorer in Terry Winn III. The Vasqueros went 15-18 overall and 6-8 in conference a season ago, so the Red Raiders should take be victorious in this one.
  • At West Virginia (Wednesday, Jan. 2) — The beginning of Big 12 play starts off rough for the Red Raiders. If they win this lost game, it was expected. If they win, it could mean a lot to the team this season. Jevon Carter finally graduated, as did Daxter Miles. However, they return an All-Big 12 third teamer and defensive teamer in Sagaba Konate, who is the ultimate rim protector. James Bolden will be the next annoying guard, and looks ready to take over the Carter/Miles spot. Not only that, but key players such as Esa Ahmad, Wesley Harris and Lamont West return and they have a Top 100 recruit in Derek Culver.
  • Kansas State (Saturday, Jan. 5) — Texas Tech begins the Big 12 home slate against Kansas State. Typically Tech doesn’t get big crowds for the first couple games because school hasn’t begun yet. However, that wasn’t the case last year. Kansas State is perhaps the most experienced team, as Big 12 first teamer Dean Wade and second teamer Barry Brown Jr return. Kamau Stokes, Xavier Sneed and Cartier Diarra also come back, so there’s a lot of fire power. But despite the experience and the Elite Eight appearance, I think Tech should win this one. Tech handled the Wildcats well last season and always do well against them at home. You could also argue Tech played three harder teams in the NCAA tournament than Kansas State.
  • Oklahoma (Tuesday, Jan. 8) — Oklahoma handed Texas Tech their first Big 12 loss a season ago. Although now they lost their one man show in Trae Young, but maybe, as crazy as it seems, perhaps they’ll play more team oriented basketball and be more dangerous down the stretch. They will be led by seniors Christian James, Rashard Odomes and Jamuni McNeace, with sophomore Brady Manek poised to breakout as well. Much like Kansas State, they have a very low rated and small recruiting class, so I wouldn’t expect much from the newcomer.
  • At Texas (Saturday, Jan. 12) — Austin has been a dangerous place for this Texas Tech team. The Red Raiders haven’t won at Texas since the 1996, when both teams were members of the Southwestern Conference. The Longhorns lose Mo Bamba, but they return a lot of key players from last year, which includes All-Big 12 honorable mention Dylan Osetkowski, Kerwin Roach II and hopefully we see the full return and recovery of Andrew Jones. They also have the second best recruiting class in the Big 12, with Top 100 recruits such as Gerald Liddell, Courtney Ramey, Kamaka Hepa, and Jaxson Hayes, who may be around a while. Shaka Smart may have to produce more this season with their talented squad. I don’t think this is the year Tech breaks that streak.
  • Iowa State (Wednesday, Jan. 16) — The Cyclones come into town during the home opener for the students return. Even though Iowa State isn’t likely to be ranked, this should get a huge crowd from the student section. Lindell Wigginton had a great season last year that landed him on the All-Big 12 newcomer team, and is the lone one of those members to return. All-Big 12 honorable mention and fellow sophomore Cameron Lard returns, as well as senior Nick Weiler-Babb and Solomon Young. Iowa State has a good, under the radar recruiting class capped off by Talen Horton-Tucker, a Top 100 recruit. Much like Kansas State, the Red Raiders typically have played Iowa State well at home, including a couple court rushing victories.
  • At Baylor (Saturday, Jan. 19) — Despite the 1-3 record, Texas Tech actually plays relatively well in Waco. All three loses were by five points or less, and one was loss was due to a Keenan Evans injury and the other was a controversial call. The win was a double digit blowout where Tech couldn’t miss in the second half. Looking at the roster, I don’t recognize a whole lot of names. King McClure and Mark Vital are back for their senior years, and they do bring in two Top 100 recruits in Jared Butler and Matthew Mayer . If TCU and Texas Tech want to become notable basketball programs, some schools have to fall out. Iowa State finished last a season ago, and perhaps Baylor is down that same path.
  • At Kansas State (Tuesday, Jan. 22) — Somehow, Texas Tech gets their second match-up against Kansas State before facing Kansas, Oklahoma State or TCU. The Red Raiders won at Kansas State for the first time since 2007 last year, and back-to-back Big 12 games on the road is always rough. This is going to be a tough game for Tech that may no go the way we hope.
  • Arkansas (Saturday, Jan. 26) — Texas Tech gets a little break from their daunting Big 12 schedule when they host Arkansas, who made the NCAA tournament a season ago. They lose their best two players in Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon, but do return an All-SEC freshman player in Daniel Gafford. However, ever other returner averaged under 5 ppg, 3 rpg and 1 apg. They’re going to need a lot on contributions from their reserves a year ago and newcomers.
  • TCU (Monday, Jan. 28) — Last season, the Red Raiders took care of the Horn Frogs, but it likely won’t be quite as easy this time around. They do lose Kenrich Williams and Vlad Brodziansky, but they do return Jaylen Fisher, who did not play during Big 12 play a season ago, and add talented freshmen like Top 100 recruit Kaden Archie. TCU also returns players such as JD Miller and Alex Robinson. This may not be the easiest game though, as there’s just a one day break between games. Although Tech doesn’t have to travel from their previous game, and TCU does.
  • At Kansas (Saturday, Feb. 2) — Chris Beard said that the season starts in February, but unfortunately that means that the season starts at Allen Field House. As we learned last year though, it’s not impossible, as Tech won their first game there (and by double digits). A majority of the guys you know are gone, but they do return All-Big 12 third teamer Udoka Azubuike, along with fellow senior Lagerald Vick and Marcus Garrett. However, like an Kansas team, you have to look at the incoming freshmen. They have three Top 100 recruits, which include the No. 8 recruit in Quentin Grimes, No. 24 in Devon Dotson, and No. 27 in David McCormack. Not only that, but they finally get the Lawson brothers from Memphis in Dedric and KJ. It’s unlikely Texas Tech will win two games in a row at Kansas.
  • West Virginia (Monday, Feb. 4) — The Red Raiders got the short straw on this scheduling. Just like last year, Tech has to face Kansas on a Saturday then turn around and face West Virginia. If you want some good news, the Red Raiders have beaten the Mountaineers twice in row, and West Virginia was a Top 10 team each time.
  • At Oklahoma (Saturday, Feb. 9) — Texas Tech hasn’t won in Norman since 2014, which really isn’t that long at all, but for some reason it feels longer. To be fair to Tech though, Oklahoma typically has been a top ranked team whenever the Red Raiders head to Norman.
  • At Oklahoma State (Wednesday, Feb. 13) — Not sure why Texas Tech’s first game with Oklahoma State comes so late in the season. A lot of us were upset that Oklahoma State didn’t make the tournament last year (especially since Oklahoma did). You know they’re going to be hungry this year. That being said, they will have to make up a lot of depth due to graduates, going pro or transferring. Their top three scorers are all gone and they return just two of their top seven scorers. Lindy Waters III returns for his junior year, as does Cameron McGriff. I wonder if Tech will stay in Oklahoma due to the two Oklahoma games being so close to each other.
  • Baylor (Saturday, Feb. 16) — Texas Tech starts a three game home stretch, which you don’t see too often in conference play. It starts with Baylor, who may not be as good as years past and often struggle in Lubbock.
  • Kansas (Saturday, Feb. 23) — I don’t know how, but Texas Tech got a weekday game off. I can’t remember the last time that happened. That being said, Kansas does not play during the week either.
  • Oklahoma State (Wednesday, Feb. 27) — Dang, playing Oklahoma State within two weeks of each other. The NHL often does this with teams from difference conferences so there may a little bit of bad blood from just playing each other. Texas Tech also has played Oklahoma State well in Lubbock recently.
  • At TCU (Saturday, Mar. 2) — The Red Raiders go on the road for the first time in two and a half weeks. The last two games at TCU were a blow out by the Red Raiders and a controversial call against Tech in 2017. I feel there were a lot of those type of calls that went against Tech during Beard’s first year. Wonder if we make the tournament if all those calls go Tech’s way. Although they also failed to finish games, so there’s multiple people to blame.
  • Texas (Monday, Mar. 4)  — Last time Texas was in town for the senior day, Jaye Crockett was a senior and Tubby Smith was ending his first year a head coach. Tech has won a lot of games in Lubbock against the Longhorns. Minus the Myles Turner team that came over Christmas break in 2015, Tech has won a lot of those games as of late. They typically are entertaining though.
  • At Iowa State (Saturday, Mar. 9 ) — Here’s another place Tech has had trouble playing in recent years. The last time Tech won in Ames was 2011, when Billy Gillispie was the head coach. This is the last regular season game, so if Tech is good this season and is in connection for the title, they’ll have a tough final game.

That’s the regular season for y’all. It’s hard to predict or figure out exactly how the season will play out because of all the new pieces on this basketball team. But this is what each team brings to the table and how the schedule favors or hurts the Red Raiders. Is it November yet?

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