Who Stays and Who Goes: Gone are the days when coaches are given four seasons to piece together an NCAA tournament college basketball team. At least on the men's side. Expectations are for more immediate success.
For that reason, among many others, Billy Gillispie cannot stand pat with his current roster. Yes, this group would eventually gel and make the tournament, but Gillispie doesn't have that kind of time to work with.
He will have to make personnel moves, some of which will include showing the door to certain players. This is an unpleasant thing to have to do at the college level, but college basketball is cutthroat big business, just like the NBA, no matter how much the NCAA bleats on about "student athletes" and academics.
Based on what we've seen this season, we can make an educated guess about which players will return and which won't.
Jordan Tolbert is the most obvious returnee. His talent, which was fully in display in the second half of the Baylor debacle, is considerable. Tolbert is an athletic power forward with a live body, and his upside is tremendous. As his offensive game develops and ramifies, he will become an All Big 12 player.
Fellow forward Jaye Crockett should also be back. He's not quite the horse Tolbert is, but he has a fairly multifaceted offensive game and is a very good rebounder. Crockett is a keeper.
Among the guards, we should expect to see Ty Nurse and Javarez Willis in Red Raider uniforms next season.
Nurse is not quick enough to be an elite Big 12 point guard, but he has some range on his jump shot, is an excellent free throw shooter, and is a mature, steady presence. Nurse is a player you want coming off the bench.
Willis is a creative player with the ball, is extremely competitive, and is a streaky shooter. He's also become much more aggressive as a playmaker late in the season. If Willis can reduce his turnovers, he can become a good lead guard in the Big 12.
Outside of that quartet, everybody else is on the chopping block.
I would be shocked if Jaron Nash plays for Tech next season. His horrendous free throw shooting alone indicates that he does not belong at the Big 12 level.
DeShon Minnis is another extremely limited player. Outside of occasional flashes on the defensive end, he brings little to the table. Minnis doesn't have the quicks to be a point guard and doesn't shoot well enough to be an off guard. Plus, he cannot finish on those occasions when he gets to the tin.
Terran Petteway also looks to be in danger. He gets many starts and minutes, but is the opposite of a stat sheet stuffer. Rarely does a player play so much yet produce so little. One might think he could develop into a role player, but it is hard to see what that role could be. Petteway is just too static to be much of a contributor in the Big 12.
Because of injuries, the jury is out on Toddrick Gotcher and Kevin Wagner. Gotcher looked good in non-conference play, but the competition he faced was not remotely of Big 12 caliber.
Wagner looked to be developing as a playmaker in the Big 12 before suffering a season-ending injury. He's the quickest player on the roster, and is potentially a good penetrator, but I don't know if that's enough to get him another season with the Red Raiders.
Just as Tommy Tuberville revamped his coaching staff following a miserable season, so too Billy Gillispie will overhaul his roster. In this day and age, he has no real choice.
Flatness Not an Issue: The Red Raiders could have been forgiven for coming out flat against Baylor. Following a tormenting overtime loss to the Texas Longhorns only two days ago at the tail end of a dismal season, a flat outing against the Bears seemed highly likely.
But that hypothesis does not explain Tech's utter ineptitude against Baylor. On the contrary, the Red Raiders came out very aggressive. They played quick and fast. They pushed it up the court hard and tried to take it to the Bears. Javarez Willis was particularly energetic.
But it just wasn't meant to be. Tech, as per usual, just didn't have the skill to do the job. Turnovers and missed shots quickly put the Red Raiders behind the eight ball, and then the defense collapsed. And a bloodbath ensued. The result was the basketball analogue of Tech's 66-6 loss to Oklahoma State in football.
The nightmare goes on and on, from year to year and from team to team. And it doesn't look like the Red Raiders will awaken from it anytime soon.