No. 20 Texas Tech No. 13 Texas Tangle In Big 12 Quarterfinal
There will be cliches aplenty tossed around as the Big 12 Conference tournament gets rolling this week, and you can bet Texas Tech coach Chris Beard and his team are paying close attention to one in particular.
It's hard to beat a good team three times in one season.
The 20th-ranked Red Raiders will shoot for such a trifecta Thursday when they take on 13th-ranked Texas in a Big 12 quarterfinal at Kansas City, Mo.
Texas Tech (17-9) swept the Longhorns (17-7) during the regular season for the second time in three years.
The Red Raiders have won seven of the teams' past eight matchups after losing 40 of the previous 46 meetings since January 1998.
On Thursday, though, Texas Tech will encounter a Texas team that has bounced back nicely from a 68-59 setback in Lubbock on Feb. 27.
During the Big 12's COVID 19-caused week of makeup games, the Longhorns reeled off three road wins, culminating with a 76-64 victory at TCU on Sunday.
That win nailed down the third seed in the conference tournament.
The Red Raiders are the sixth seed.
"I think we're moving in the right direction," Texas' Matt Coleman III said. "It's hard to win three road games in one week."
Texas Tech won its two home games in the makeup week, beating TCU and Iowa State, two programs in the bottom tier of the league.
However, when Texas Tech ventured away from Lubbock for its regular-season finale, it ran into trouble.
The Red Raiders stumbled against then-third-ranked Baylor, falling 83-68.
Texas Tech had no answer for the Bears' 3-point shooting (15 of 24), especially MaCio Teague, who torched the Red Raiders for 10 3-pointers as part of a 35-point outburst.
"I'm sure a guy that knows a little bit about basketball is probably sitting there thinking, 'Why does that guy keep getting open shots?'" Beard said.
"You've got (Baylor's Jared) Butler and (Davion) Mitchell and some other guys to worry about.
"A lot of it was self-inflicted. We made some key mistakes at terrible times. It's what good teams like Baylor https://niccowanmusic.com/index.php?action=profile;u=20894 do -- they make you pay."
The result marked only the fourth time Texas Tech surrendered 80-plus points this season, with the total matching the high mark by a Red Raiders opponent.
Now the Red Raiders turn their focus to another ranked foe.
Texas pulled away from TCU in the second half Sunday and rode balance to the victory: Five Longhorns scored in double digits, four had four rebounds or more and four registered three assists or more.
The Longhorns thrived from beyond the 3-point arc, hitting 11 of 23.
"I thought it was a good team win," Texas coach Shaka Smart said. "We got contributions from a lot of guys."
And the outcome should arm the Longhorns with a jolt of confidence heading to the conference tournament, Smart believes.
"Guys have done a good job locking in on one challenge and then turning the page to the next challenge," he said.
--Field Level Media