The Texas Tech Red Raiders enter tomorrow night's contest against TCU as one of the hottest teams in the nation. The Red Raiders have won four straight games, including three against ranked opponents, to jump squarely into the NCAA Tournament conversation. A win over the Frogs would likely put Tech in the field for the first time in nearly a decade. Hunter Cooke of Viva the Matadors explained what it all means for Red Raider fans and gave us a little preview of tomorrow night's action. Head on over to VTM to check out my half of our Q&A!
1. The Red Raiders enter Tuesday's game as arguably the hottest team in the Big 12. Texas Tech has won four straight, including three against ranked teams. What sparked this recent hot streak?
I have no idea. This is the part where I'd make some stupid comment about black magic, voodoo, prayers, or necromancy, but this streak has honestly put me at a loss for words. It could be a combination of Tubby Smith's coaching, the youth of Zach Smith, and the leadership of Toddrick Gotcher (AKA The Toddfather), but it's impossible to put my finger on just one thing. As of right now, I'm just enjoying the ride and not questioning where the wins come from.
2. Tubby Smith's team is 17-9 overall and 7-7 in league play following the aforementioned winning streak. What do you think the Red Raiders need to do to receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament? What would it mean for this team and this fanbase to return to the Big Dance for the first time since 2007?
I honestly just think we need to win the remaining games that we're favored to win. As long as we don't get blown out by 30-40 at Kansas and West Virginia, I think we're going to squeak in.
As for our fanbase, I think a lot of them would start believing in Texas Tech Basketball again. We've struggled for so long that basketball has sort of been an outside sport here, but with all of this excitement I'm afraid we're going to turn into a basketball school.
3. Texas Tech lost center Norense Odiase in the opening minutes of the team's game in Fort Worth to a foot injury. Who has stepped up to fill the void left by such a key piece of this team? What does his timetable for return look like moving forward?
Matt Temple has stepped up in a huge way, and in case you didn't know, he is a walk-on AND in a fraternity. Odiase could potentially be back by the Big XII tournament, but that's up in the air.
4. TCU and Texas Tech battled for much of their first meeting, before the Red Raiders seized control late and grabbed an eight-point win in Fort Worth. What does TTU need to do tomorrow night to ensure a season sweep of the Horned Frogs?
We have to have 2 of these 3 shooting well: Aaron Ross, Justin Gray, or Toddrick Gotcher. When a couple of those guys are hot, we play well. When they don't shoot well, we struggle immensely.
5. Finally, how do you see things playing out tomorrow night? Will Texas Tech hold serve at home, or can the Frogs pick up just their second Big 12 road win in program history?
I'll put on my homer hat and say Texas Tech wins a mostly uncomfortable game by a relatively comfortable margin. I think TCU is trending up, and we definitely struggle on the road. I just think that we have way too much momentum right now for TCU to pull it off.
Big thanks to Hunter and the team over at Viva the Matadors for their time and insight. Stay tuned right here for continued coverage leading up to tomorrow night's game.