*After collapsing like a house of cards in a typhoon down the stretch in a 61-52 loss to the No. 10 seeded Texas Longhorns, this Texas Tech team does not deserve an NIT bid. In their last nine games the Red Raiders are 2-7, which is bad enough, but when you can’t even beat the worst team in the Big 12, a team that had gone all season without winning away from home, then you’re not good enough to be in postseason play. There are at least 32 teams out there more deserving of an NIT bid than Texas Tech, who fell to 18-14 overall this season.
*This loss—and it’s a borderline humiliating one—was a carbon copy of Texas Tech’s loss to Iowa State to begin Big 12 play. If you’ll remember, the Red Raiders absolutely dominated that game from the opening tap until well into the second half. Tech led 48-34 with 13:08 to play in that game, and had led every single moment of the game up to that point. But the Red Raiders fell apart. They scored all of eight points over the final 13:27, were passed by ISU at the 4:29 mark and wound up losing by seven.
Against Texas the Red Raiders led by as many as 12 points, and led for the first 34:49 of the game. But when UT passed Tech at the 5:11 mark you knew the Red Raiders were doomed. They had the look of a fragile team that simply wasn’t tough enough to finish the game. Tech scored eight points over the final 6:53, while giving up 23 and ultimately losing by nine.
So there was nothing new in this game. Tech had shown tendencies to collapse down the stretch, and they had shown that they simply didn’t know how to close out opponents and games. It was all so predictable, but not any the less sickening because of it.
*The 52 points scored against Texas tied Eastern Washington for the lowest point total against the Longhorns all season. Heck, Incarnate Word managed to put 73 points on these guys.
*In many ways the Red Raiders looked like a shot team down the stretch of this season. Maybe it was the accumulation of close losses and overtime games. Maybe it was poor conditioning and lack of depth, but Texas Tech has been running on fumes for over two weeks.
Keenan Evans, who somehow managed to lead Tech in scoring with 11 points, looked the most tired of all the players. His legs were like rubber and he had no lift on his jump shot. The dynamic step backs and fade-aways that had previously been his staples, barely drew iron most of the time against the Horns.
Zach Smith, whether it be because of fatigue or lack of confidence, simply could not make a shot if it wasn’t a dunk.
Niem Stevenson, who had a very good stretch of games not so long ago, did little offensively against UT and scored very little late in the season period. Thus Tech now goes into the offseason not knowing what they have in Stevenson.
But know this: the Red Raiders simply must find scorers other than Keenan Evans next year or the results will be the same as this year. One scoring threat isn’t going to lead a team to jack-squat in the Big 12.