Texas Tech baseball just completed a 40-win season in coach Tim Tadlock's second season at the helm. As the Big 12 Tournament approaches the Red Raiders look like contenders this week in Oklahoma City and beyond.

Texas Tech has completed a complete
180 degree turnaround in Tim Tadlock's second season.

One year ago, the Red Raiders snuck into the Big 12 Conference Tournament as the eighth seed with a losing record. The offense gave the pitching staff almost no run support at the beginning of the season and Tech would lose to the likes of Connecticut, La Salle, and Lubbock Christian. Okay, so Lubbock Christian is actually a really good program who has won multiple National Championships and is a team my parents dreamed of me playing for. Still, the Chaparrals play second fiddle in Lubbock to the Red Raiders and Tech should not lose to them.

This year is a new season. As the Cubs fans have stated every year for over a century, "This year is here." What a year it has been and all Red Raider fans look forward to seeing "Texas Tech" in a bracket slot during the 2014 NCAA Selection Show and it will happen. No squad has won 38 games and be snubbed from a regional. Not only have the Red Raiders won 40 games this season, but they have a winning record in the Big 12 Conference. Texas Tech has defeated a number of teams who will see their name during the selection show. Rice, Indiana, Houston and TCU just to name a few.

Before we get too ahead of ourselves though, the Red Raiders still have more work to do. My sister, who is seven years older than me, was a tremendous swimmer. My entire childhood was spent traveling to swim meets and playing GameBoy while my sister would wait for her next event. She taught me to swim and my first job was being an assistant swim coach for a summer league swim team.

This led me to read Michael Phelps' "No Limits: The Will To Succeed". In the book, Michael made it to Olympic Trials for the first time and his mother decorated the entire house. Coach Bob Bowman showed up to the house, saw the decorations and trashed them. Phelps' mother was extremely upset, but Bowman asked her what she would do if Michael won the Gold Medal. His point is that Michael has potential to go further.

As we all know, Phelps was named the "Greatest Olympian of All Time" by the International Olympic Committee.

The Red Raiders are not favored to win the National Championship. They're not even favored to win the Big 12 Tournament Championship. That doesn't mean they don't have the potential to win either one. The Red Raider faithful celebrated this weekend and rightfully so. It's been a decade since Tech baseball fans have been able to celebrate much. That being said, there's a reason for the 180 degree turnaround and Tech fans shouldn't settle for 40 wins and a regional berth or hosting. This season, the Red Raiders have the ability to do much more, particularly if Tech hosts a regional.

After a nice three-game sweep of West Virginia, a team who took the series from Tech in 2013, the Red Raiders will get a chance for some revenge against a dwindling Texas team in their first game. The Longhorns finished 6-8 in their final 14 games of the regular season with two victories against Kansas State, who finished last in the Big 12 and a victory each against Texas-Pan American and Prairie View A&M. West Virginia outscored the Longhorns 17-11 and during the month of April, TCU swept Texas in Austin. Tech has not forgotten about the extra-innings affair in Lubbock either.

This will be a tone-setter for the rest of the tournament and each team knows it. If that is not enough fuel to the fire, both teams are fighting to host a regional. The loser of this game could be heading out of town as a two seed.

Looking onto the second set of games, both Tech and Texas swept Oklahoma during the regular season game and the Sooners should be an easy 0-2 elimination. That being said, the Sooners are basically a home team with the tournament being located in Oklahoma City.

The Cowboys had a reality check on Saturday and that probably helps Oklahoma State more than it hurts. Their Bedlam Series rival, Oklahoma, snapped a 12-game winning streak Saturday. The Red Raiders should've taken the series against Oklahoma State in Stillwater, but the bullpen collapsed in the rubber match after Chris Sadberry went to the dugout with a 2-0 lead in the seventh inning.

If Texas Tech is able to win their first two games, they would need just one more victory to play in the title game Sunday. However, lose one of your first two games and you've got to earn a fourth victory. Not only does an early loss mean a string of elimination games, but whichever team fights off the first two eliminations must beat the third team twice in a row to advance to Sunday's game.

If the Red Raiders do advance to the title game, they will probably face either TCU or Kansas. Both teams went on late hot streaks, but may have cooled off just before the tournament. After sweeping their final three series of Big 12 Conference play, the Jayhawks played a two-game series against Michigan and dropped their final game. They also dropped a mid-week game against Missouri State prior to sweeping West Virginia. Kansas will have a tough time winning a fourth game against Tech.

The Horned Frogs are still hot, but they also dropped two games they should have won in their final two series. TCU fell in extra innings to Oklahoma in Fort Worth and later fell to Baylor during a Brandon Finnegan start. Tech stole a road series from the Horned Frogs in March before dropping a mid-week game in Abilene later on.

If the Red Raiders go 4-0 this weekend, Texas Tech could sneak in as a national seed. They would need some help, but it's not completely out of the picture. Prepare for a fun weekend in Oklahoma City. Tech is a contender.

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