Red Raider basketball has been trying to get back to the big dance and it has gone through a handful of head coaches, three in three seasons to be exact, to do that but none have found success in accomplishing that goal.
Bring in Tubby Smith.
Smith has not only been at the tournament, but has been consistently during his 20-plus year coaching career.
Before coaching at Minnesota, Smith is most notably remembered for leading the Kentucky Wildcats to the 1998 National Championship in his first season, but also for his consistent presence in the NCAA post-season, which is a place Red Raider basketball has become unaccustomed to experiencing.
In the past six seasons, since Bob Knight left, the Red Raiders have been able to only muster up 69 victories while making no trips to the big dance.
The only taste of any type of post-season play for the Red Raiders came during the 2009-2010 season, when Tech made a run in the NIT making it to the quarterfinals.
Programs under the guidance of Smith have made it to post-season play 18 of his 21 years of being a head coach.
During his time at Kentucky, the Wildcats made it to the NCAA Tournament every single season, including the National Championship season in 1998. That stretch of tournament appearances was not just early exits either with three Elite Eights and two Sweet Sixteen's in the mix as well.
Starting as the head coach at Tulsa in 1991, Smith led Tulsa to a 17-13 and 15-14 records in his first two seasons but then started a streak of 14-straight trips to the big dance with his programs.
After missing the tournament all together in the 1991 and 1992 seasons, Smith's Tulsa squad made it to the Sweet Sixteen in 1993 and 1994, which also started a streak of 20-win seasons.
Since the 1993 season with Tulsa, Smith's teams had 20-plus win seasons in 17-straight years, including a 35-4 season in the 1997-1998 season and a 32-4 mark in the 2002-2003 campaign.
At Minnesota, Smith had the Golden Gophers in the tournament three out of six seasons there including this past season, before he was fired following an early exit from the tournament, losing to Elite Eight bound Florida in the third round.
In the second round, the Golden Gophers knocked down UCLA, marking the first win in the tournament since 1997.
In his first season at Minnesota, Smith led the team to a NIT tournament berth, but in the 2008-2009 it was back to the tourney for Smith and first time for the Golden Gophers since 2005.
If Smith is able to take the Red Raiders back to the NCAA Tournament it will mark the first time Tech has been a part of March Madness since the 2006-2007 season, which also was the last time the Red Raiders won more than 20 games in a season.
Now the question is, will the proven track record continue at Tech and can Smith get the Red Raiders back to the promised land of college basketball – the NCAA Tournament.