Texas Tech Basketball Gets Respect in Preseason Big 12 Poll
The Texas Tech Red Raiders have a first-time Power 5 head coach, only three returners that will be healthy for the opener, only got one Power 5 transfer, and are sitting at 4th in the Big 12 preseason poll. That's some high praise for Mark Adams and the staff's work since the ball got rolling on April 1st of 2021.
The Big 12 announced the Big 12 Coaches poll this afternoon with Kansas getting eight votes to win the league with Texas getting Bill Self's and one other. I'm assuming you can't vote for yourself in these things. Those Jayhawks, Chris Beard's Longhorns, and the defending National Champion Baylor Bears are the only three teams that rank ahead of Texas Tech with Oklahoma State and West Virginia trailing you by only a few points.
The bottom half of the conference shakes out as Oklahoma, TCU, Kansas State, and Iowa State as the bottom tier.
Going back to Texas Tech, it's not that I'm surprised that the Adams' Family is ranked fourth. If you look at the voting numbers, there is a pretty solid tier with Kansas, Texas, and Baylor receiving at least 67 votes each. Then Texas Tech, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State are all within two votes of each other. If I was power ranking the Big 12 heading into the season those certainly would have been my tiers.
I'm interested to see what Oklahoma and Porter Moser can do, but nobody rebuilt rosters in the Big 12 like Texas and Texas Tech did. Nobody. I'm not going to be clouded by my bias against Beard to say that the job he's done amassing talent at Texas this offseason isn't incredible. It is. That roster should be able to compete nationally, just like Texas Tech did when Beard was in Lubbock.
To me though, it might be more impressive that Adams was able to build what he built without the name brand of Beard. Bryson Williams followed Longhorns assistant Rodney Terry to two schools, then came to Texas Tech over Texas. Kevin Obanor chose Texas Tech over Arkansas. Terrence Shannon returns to the team over an opportunity to be drafted by the NBA. KJ Allen committed to Texas Tech instead of USC.
The offseason of Adams was nothing short of a miracle and now they have the pressure of finishing 4th in an incredibly tough conference.
It's a reasonable expectation that Adams and the new-look Red Raiders can finish at least .500 in conference play. That's a mark they've reached in five of the last six seasons. Even with all of the change that's transpired in the last six or seven months, Adams culture has been around for five seasons so I don't expect a learning curve in year one for him. He knows Lubbock. He knows the United Supermarkets Arena. He knows the Big 12.
The 4th place ranking in the preseason tells me that Texas Tech isn't going to surprise anyone either. There will be no, "Welp, Beard is gone their toast." mentality in the Big 12. This is a program that has been competitive and will continue to be competitive in the Big 12 and that will start in 2022.