Texas Tech Red Raiders: 26-6, 14-4 in the Big 12

Head coach: Chris Beard (3rd season)

Players to watch: Jarrett Culver (18.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.7 APG); Davide Moretti (11.6 PPG, 47.8 3PT%); Tariq Owens (8.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.4 BPG)

Season recap: Following a brilliant 2017-2018 season that saw Texas Tech reach the Elite 8 for the first time in school history, this year’s Red Raiders didn’t miss a beat, rattling off 10 straight wins to start the season. The streak finally came to an end against No. 2 Duke at Madison Square Garden when the Blue Devils simply proved to be too talented.

The Red Raiders finished off the season on a nine-game winning streak, including a 91-62 thumping of then-No. 12 Kansas, and found themselves ranked No. 7 in the latest AP Poll. All five regular-season losses on the Texas Tech’s schedule have come at the hands of teams firmly placed in the NCAA tournament, with no “bad” losses—until this week. 

A stunning quarterfinal loss to tenth-seeded West Virginia, the worst team in the Big 12 Tournament, has raised questions about the Red Raiders moving forward. Texas Tech is heavily reliant on sophomore guard Jarrett Culver, who leads the team in points, rebounds and assists, and it has often counted on him to carry much of the offensive load. Joining him in scoring are sharpshooting guards Davide Moretti and Matt Mooney, who average a combined 22.5 points per game, while senior forward Tariq Owens anchors the Red Raiders on the defensive end. 

How they make a run: Texas Tech shakes off the dud and enters the tournament hungry for more, building on last year’s success to return to the Elite 8, and maybe even go deeper.

How they falter: The Red Raiders fail to get meaningful contributions outside of Culver, whose high volume isn’t enough to will the team past a hot-shooting early-round opponent.