Far along in the season, the Texas Tech men’s basketball team hoped to make the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row.
After losing seven of their last nine games, the Red Raiders won’t be playing in the NCAA or the National Invitation Tournament either. The Red Raiders weren’t included in either bracket released Sunday.
Under first-year head coach Chris Beard, Tech finished with records of 18-14 overall and 6-12 in Big 12 play.
Junior guard Keenan Evans and junior forward Zach Smith developed into go-to players in Texas Tech’s motion offense. Evans averaged 15.4 points per game and Smith netted 12.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
Senior forwards Anthony Livingtson (9.9 points) and Aaron Ross (9.0) and junior guards Justin Gray (8.9) and Niem Stevenson (8.6) were also threats to tally double-digit scoring performances any game night for the Red Raiders.
Devon Thomas, Thomas Brandsma, Matthew Temple, Livingston and Ross exhausted their eligibility.
During the conference slate, Texas Tech earned signature wins against then No. 7 West Virginia, No. 25 Kansas State and No. 4 Baylor in United Supermarkets Arena. But a string of close losses — at TCU (62-61) and No. 9 West Virginia (83-74, double OT) and at home against No. 3 Kansas (80-79) — diminished the Red Raiders’ chances at earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The loss to Kansas was, at the time, the fourth in five games Tech dropped in the final two possessions.
The Red Raiders dropped a 61-52 decision to Texas in the first round of the Big 12 tournament, their fourth straight year to not advance past the first game.
Looking to next season, the Tech coaching staff has done it due diligence on the recruiting trail.
In February, Gainesville (Fla.) Rock School’s Daniel Mading committed to the Red Raiders.
The 6-foot-9, 175-pound small forward is expected to join Coronado’s Jarrett Culver (6-6 wing), South Plains College’s Josh Webster (6-3 guard) and Jordan Brangers (6-2 guard), Trinity Valley Community College’s Hyron Edwards (6-0 guard), DePaul transfer Tommy Hamilton IV (6-10 center) and Florida transfer Brandone Francis (6-4 guard) as part of the Class of 2017.
Hamilton and Francis are redshirting this season due to NCAA transfer rules.