Kansas freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins recorded a game-winning bucket with only 1.7 seconds left as the Jayhawks avoided a costly upset at the hands of Texas Tech on Tuesday night in Lubbock. The Red Raiders led throughout most of the second half, but ultimately lost in crushing fashion by a score of 64-63.
The Big 12 Conference has proven to be absolutely loaded this season, and the resurgence of Texas Tech under the tutelage of new coach Tubby Smith has a lot to do with that. Smith has taken a team that was expected by most to be a Big 12 bottom-feeder and turned them into a competitive and very dangerous bunch.
The Red Raiders’ overall record of 13-13 and 5-8 in Big 12 play does not accurately indicate how good of a job Tubby has done. He’s made Texas Tech basketball relevant again, and the people in Lubbock have taken notice.
Smith was blindsided when he was fired last March after six seasons of guiding the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The veteran coach brought consistency to a Big Ten program that lacked it, and made the Gophers perennial contenders for the NCAA tournament — something they were not prior to his arrival. The University of Minnesota athletic director desired a younger and more energetic type, and thus chose to replace Smith despite the team advancing to the round of 32.
It was clear that a coach of Smith’s caliber and prestige would not stay unemployed very long. And soon enough, Tubby was again hired to revamp a struggling program — this time at Texas Tech.
Red Raider fans should feel privileged to have this guy as their coach. He’s not flashy, but he gets the job done and can flat-out coach. He’s been successful everywhere he’s been and he’s done it the right way. Furthermore, Tubby is as classy as it gets in college basketball, and his hire has brought respect, competitiveness and stability back to a Texas Tech basketball program that so desperately needed it.
It won’t be long before Tubby takes a sixth school to the NCAA tournament.
Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27