The NCAA Tournament field will be announced later today and we know the Red Raiders will be in it. Here are five teams we hope aren’t in Tech’s region of the bracket.
It is Selection Sunday and later this afternoon, the Texas Tech basketball team will make history. When the Red Raiders are announced as one of the 68 teams in this year’s field, as they will be, it will mark the first time in program history that Tech has qualified for three consecutive NCAA Tournaments.
Most so-called “bracketology” experts believe that Tech will be a No. 5 seed when the bracket is released. Should that happen, it would put the Red Raiders on high upset alert as the 5 vs. 12 first-round games almost always produce at least one upset.
In fact, in 30 of the last 35 years of the Big Dance, a No. 12 seed has won a first-round game. And what’s potentially disturbing for Tech is the fact that No. 12 seeds have a winning percentage of 35.7 since the field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
Of course, one key member of the Texas Tech basketball program has experience in a 5 vs. 12 upset. That person, of course, is Chris Beard.
In the 2016 tournament, Beard was head coach at Arkansas-Little Rock when the Trojans took down No. 5 seed Purdue in the first round. In the 85-83 double-OT win, ULAR hit a 3-point shot from the half-court logo to send the game to the first five-minute extra period. Then, the same player, Josh Hagins, connected on a circus bank shot to send the game to the second OT on his way to a game-high 31 points.
This year, Tech will hope to avoid being another bullet point on the 5 vs. 12 upset ledger should that be their draw. Currently, ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi has Utah State, St. Louis, Winthrop, Western Kentucky, and Wichita State as the 12 seeds in his bracket with the first two of those teams playing in one of the “First Four” games.
While none of those teams will be easy outs, we will worry about them when or if the time comes. But for now, let’s look at some teams that are expected to be top-3 seeds this year and examine which ones we all should hope aren’t in the Red Raiders’ region of the bracket.