College Basketball Insider: Tubby's Texas Tech team exceeding expectations

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 21, 2014 - 10:33 PM

Texas Tech is winning, or at least playing well, in February, unlike Coach Smith’s teams at Minnesota.

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Coach Tubby Smith’s Texas Tech team, with a 5-8 record in the Big 12 Conference this season, is exceeding expectations, which his Gophers team rarely did.

Photo: JUSTIN HAYWORTH • Associated Press,

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When Tubby Smith was fired after the Gophers’ second-round loss to Florida in the NCAA tournament, one of the major complaints among fans and administration was that in his six years at Minnesota, the legendary coach was never able to take the program to the next level.

Now, in his first season at Texas Tech, the 62-year-old coach appears on the verge of doing just that.

After wins over TCU, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma to start the month (I guess it’s not Smith to blame for the Gophers’ perennial February dives), the Red Raiders are 5-8 in the Big 12 — perhaps the best conference in college basketball right now.

Texas Tech also threatened to pull off huge upsets in its past two games.

None of this would be so stunning — Tech is still just tied for seventh in the 10-team conference, after all — if it wasn’t for the fact that the Red Raiders have been SO bad in recent years. Tech hasn’t won more than five conference games since 2008 and has managed a total of just four wins in the previous two seasons. With five more games left on the regular-season schedule, the Raiders even have a shot to dance for the first time since 2007.

And no such spark was expected this season. The Raiders returned some experience but were expected by most to finish near the Big 12 basement.

Suddenly Smith — who coached Kentucky to a national championship in 1998 but won just one NCAA tournament game during his tenure in Minneapolis — is looking like a great hire for a team unworthy even of the term “rebuilding.”

And the sense of hope seems to be palpable. Tech sold out the normally echo-filled United Spirit Arena for its game against Oklahoma State, only the 11th sellout in the 15-year-old building’s history, last occurring in 2007.

“It is wonderful,” Smith told the Dallas Morning News. “It shows the hard work of a lot of people to make this happen. We hope that we can play to the level of support that we have gotten. I am excited, and our players are excited. It also gives validation that we are moving in the right direction with the program.”

Perhaps the most telling improvement can be seen in the Raiders’ recent losses.

At No. 17 Iowa State on Saturday, Tech — which Smith has made into a very sound offensive rebounding team, just as he did with the Gophers — grabbed 14 offensive boards and slowed the pace enough to keep it close with the Cyclones. Tech lost by just six in one of the toughest road environments there is.

Then, against Kansas in Lubbock on Tuesday, the Raiders shot 50 percent from three-point range and had five players score in double digits only to lose on a last-second layup by Andrew Wiggins, nearly upsetting the No. 8 Jayhawks.

Regardless of what the Raiders do down the stretch, it seems obvious that Texas Tech, led by Smith in what most likely will be his final coaching job, is better than we thought it would be. Significantly better.

There weren’t many times at Minnesota people could say that about Smith’s teams.

College basketball short takes

• With Syracuse finally falling, just one undefeated remains: Wichita State. Just how shocking was that Orange loss at home to Boston College, which was 6-17 coming in? ESPN Stats & Info tells us that BPI, ESPN’s version of the Ratings Percentage Index, gave BC just a 1.2 percent shot at beating Syracuse, far worse than last season’s biggest upset.

In that one — TCU’s win over Kansas in February — BPI handed the Horned Frogs a 4.5 percent chance at victory.

• Much has been said, written, spoken and screamed about the NCAA’s new fouling guidelines this season. But as Matt Norlander at CBSSports.com points out, just a month away from the Big Dance, scoring is still way up around college basketball. The number of possessions in an average game is up (from 66.7 to 68.1 heading through Wednesday), points per game are up (67.5 to 71), points per possession are up (1.012 to 1.043) and turnovers per game are down (13.3 to 12.7). All of this change, Norlander points out, without the game becoming a “whistle fest.” Team fouls are up, but only slightly, from 17.7 to 19.3.

• Think storming courts is all passion and good fun? Not for everyone. Arizona has played victim in two court rushes this season — at California and at Arizona State — and in the offseason will be looking into how to prevent such situations in the future, according to ESPN’s Andy Katz.

Apparently Arizona wants to bring up the issue of safety in the Pac-12 meetings this summer. Of course, the SEC has already taken a hard line with court rushes — issuing a fine to any school that rushes. Katz says he doesn’t expect Arizona to pursue anything quite so dramatic.


Big Ten power poll

1. Wisconsin: The Badgers are back at the top, making this the flip-floppiest season ever. But after a four-game win streak that included Michigan State at home and Michigan on the road it’s hard to deny.

2. Michigan: Credit the Wolverines for consistency. They’ve dropped three, but all three are understandable. It’s hard to get this deep into the season without a bad loss.

3. Michigan State: It feels like it’s been a while since the Spartans have won a truly meaningful game (since they were at Iowa nearly a month ago).

4. Ohio State: Suddenly the top has gotten a lot more interesting, with Wisconsin and the Buckeyes perking back up.

5. Iowa: Losses to each of the above teams keeps the Hawkeyes from ranking higher.

6. Nebraska: OK, a winning record in late April with two victories over ranked teams: Who had it? Bueller? Bueller? Tim Miles, color me impressed.

7. Minnesota: That home loss to Illinois has the Gophers barely clinging to the bubble.

8. Northwestern: This is a bad time for a four-game losing streak.

9. Purdue: The Boilermakers haven’t turned blips of optimism into real success.

10. Indiana: Insert joke about the program crumbling here, after a piece of Assembly Hall fell this week.

11. Penn State: The Nittany Lions have been a factor in the Big Ten’s unpredictability.

12. Illinois: The Illini won at Minnesota, but they’re still in the basement.

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Cleveland 16 3rd Qtr 5:44
Atlanta 14
Tennessee 17 3rd Qtr 12:47
Philadelphia 27
Detroit 6 3rd Qtr 6:11
New England 24
Green Bay 14 3rd Qtr 6:20
Minnesota 13
Jacksonville 3 3rd Qtr 6:25
Indianapolis 13
Cincinnati 16 3rd Qtr 4:15
Houston 10
Tampa Bay 10 3rd Qtr 9:40
Chicago 7
Arizona 3:05 PM
Seattle
St. Louis 3:05 PM
San Diego
Miami 3:25 PM
Denver
Washington 3:25 PM
San Francisco
Dallas 7:30 PM
NY Giants
NY Jets 11/24/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Baltimore 11/24/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Detroit
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
LA Clippers 5:00 PM
Memphis
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Boston
Charlotte 5:00 PM
Miami
Golden State 6:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Denver 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
St. Louis 3:30 PM
Winnipeg
Montreal 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Arizona 7:00 PM
Anaheim
Chicago 8:30 PM
Vancouver
Coll of Charleston 61 FINAL
George Mason 60
Massachusetts 75 FINAL
Florida State 69
Youngstown St 76 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 67
Wofford 64 FINAL
Sam Houston St 53
Ark-Pine Bluff 43 FINAL
Central Mich 75
Southern Ill 67 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Drexel 41 2nd Half 7:12
Cornell 43
American Univ 38 2nd Half 7:11
Morehead State 36
CS-Northridge 39 2nd Half 19:45
Ark-Little Rock 41
Bethune-Cookman 32 2nd Half 17:49
Central Conn St 37
Columbia 32 2nd Half 18:27
Lehigh 27
Texas A&M 26 2nd Half
New Mexico 31
TX A&M-CC 24 2nd Half
Saint Louis 27
Merchant Marine 28 2nd Half
Stony Brook 43
South Dakota 23 1st Half 2:54
Fairfield 25
Longwood 15 1st Half 6:38
Eastern Mich 27
Providence 22 1st Half 8:47
Notre Dame 21
Jackson State 2:00 PM
UAB
Coppin State 2:00 PM
Denver
Northwestern St 0 1st Half 20:00
Oklahoma 0
Catawba 2:00 PM
Radford
Newman 2:00 PM
Wichita State
Yale 2:30 PM
Kent State
USC 2:30 PM
Penn State
St Katherine 3:00 PM
UC Riverside
NC Central 3:00 PM
Creighton
South Florida 3:00 PM
NC State
Nichols College 3:05 PM
Holy Cross
Dayton 3:30 PM
Boston College
Wagner 3:30 PM
Hofstra
Towson 3:30 PM
Monmouth
UMKC 3:30 PM
Samford
NC A&T 4:00 PM
Bradley
Eastern Ill 4:00 PM
Cincinnati
Fla Atlantic 4:00 PM
Georgia
Presbyterian 4:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
St Francis-NY 4:00 PM
Rutgers
Binghamton 4:30 PM
Navy
USC Upstate 5:00 PM
UCF
UMass Lowell 5:00 PM
Fordham
Montana State 5:00 PM
Kentucky
Iona 5:00 PM
North Texas
Gardner-Webb 5:00 PM
Seton Hall
Akron 5:30 PM
South Carolina
Connecticut 5:30 PM
West Virginia
Hood College 6:00 PM
Howard
Sacred Heart 6:00 PM
Ohio State
Tennessee St 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Delaware 6:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Mercer 7:00 PM
Colorado State
SD Christian 7:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Northern Ariz 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Manhattan 7:00 PM
Northeastern
Pacific 7:00 PM
Washington
Miami-Florida 8:00 PM
Charlotte
Old Dominion 8:00 PM
Illinois State
UC Irvine 8:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Long Beach State 9:00 PM
UCLA
Montana 9:30 PM
Seattle
Char Southern 9 FINAL
(8) Georgia 55
South Alabama 12 FINAL
So Carolina 37
Rutgers 3 FINAL
(10) Michigan State 45
(22) Minnesota 28 FINAL
Nebraska 24
Northwestern 38 FINAL
Purdue 14
(19) Marshall 23 FINAL
UAB 18
Kansas 7 FINAL
(20) Oklahoma 44
Indiana 27 FINAL
(7) Ohio State 42
Penn State 14 FINAL
Illinois 16
(16) Eastern Ky 3 FINAL
Florida 52
TX-San Antonio 7 FINAL
Western Ky 45
SMU 7 FINAL
UCF 53
Tulsa 28 FINAL
Houston 38
Virginia Tech 3 FINAL
Wake Forest 6
Washington St 31 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 52
Louisiana Tech 27 FINAL
Old Dominion 30
Western Mich 32 FINAL
Central Mich 20
New Mexico 20 FINAL
(21) Colorado State 58
Eastern Mich 30 FINAL
Ball State 45
Appalachian St 35 FINAL
Louisiana 16
(12) Arizona 42 FINAL
Utah 10
FIU 14 FINAL
North Texas 17
(18) Ole Miss 0 FINAL
Arkansas 30
(24) Louisville 31 FINAL
Notre Dame 28
Maryland 23 FINAL
Michigan 16
Texas Tech 34 FINAL
Iowa State 31
(14) Wisconsin 26 FINAL
Iowa 24
Syracuse 7 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
Boston College 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 20
Georgia State 0 FINAL
(23) Clemson 28
Tulane 6 FINAL
East Carolina 34
Stanford 38 FINAL
California 17
Western Carolina 14 FINAL
(2) Alabama 48
ULM 30 FINAL
New Mexico St 17
So Florida 20 FINAL
Memphis 31
Colorado 10 FINAL
(3) Oregon 44
Fla Atlantic 34 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 35
Samford 7 FINAL
(15) Auburn 31
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
Virginia 30
Vanderbilt 0 FINAL
(4) Miss State 51
(17) Missouri 29 FINAL
Tennessee 21
Oklahoma State 28 FINAL
(5) Baylor 49
USC 20 FINAL
(9) UCLA 38
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
Connecticut 0
(25) Boise State 63 FINAL
Wyoming 14
Oregon State 13 FINAL
Washington 37
Fresno State 40 FINAL
Nevada 20
UNLV 35 FINAL
Hawaii 37
Ohio U 11/25/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
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Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
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Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
New England 1 2nd Half
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 4:00 PM
Los Angeles
Montreal 14 9:16
Hamilton 20
Edmonton 3:30 PM
Calgary
Alabama 58 FINAL
Temple 51
Massachusetts 46 FINAL
Florida State 74
Creighton 60 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 96
Bryant 79 2nd Half 0:01
Boston College 90
Robert Morris 84 FINAL
UMBC 60
Sacred Heart 59 FINAL
Maine 58
Virginia Tech 61 2nd Half 2:17
Providence 62
Coll of Charleston 21 2nd Half
George Mason 27
Hartford 29 2nd Half
Lafayette 39
William & Mary 44 2nd Half
High Point 37
Western Ill 51 2nd Half
Florida Atlantic 45
Pittsburgh 33 2nd Half
James Madison 41
Toledo 20 2nd Half 20:00
(24) Purdue 34
Western Mich 28 2nd Half
Michigan 42
Cleveland State 47 2nd Half 15:29
FIU 36
San Diego State 16 2nd Half
(2) South Carolina 51
Mount St Marys 33 2nd Half
Davidson 23
IUPUI 19 2nd Half
(15) Michigan State 31
Illinois State 27 2nd Half
Colorado State 40
Incarnate Word 15 2nd Half 20:00
Indiana 43
Cincinnati 30 2nd Half
Iowa State 38
Furman 33 2nd Half
Clemson 41
VA Commonwealth 43 2nd Half
Ohio State 52
Marquette 20 2nd Half
(7) Duke 42
Bethune-Cookman 12 2nd Half
East Carolina 34
Coppin State 27 2nd Half 19:22
Wake Forest 40
(24) Georgia 27 2nd Half
Georgia Tech 25
Ball State 27 2nd Half
(12) Louisville 38
Auburn 28 2nd Half 20:00
Virginia 33
Utah 17 2nd Half
(16) Nebraska 38
Minnesota 2:00 PM
Memphis
Georgetown 2:00 PM
Kansas
Northwestern St 0 1st Half 20:00
Arkansas 0
TX-San Antonio 2:00 PM
Lamar
Southern Miss 2:00 PM
McNeese State
Air Force 2:00 PM
SIU-Edwardsville
IUPU-Ft Wayne 2:00 PM
USC Upstate
Morgan State 0 1st Half 20:00
Texas Tech 0
Western Ky 2:00 PM
Miss State
Southern U 2:00 PM
Illinois
Eastern Illinois 2:00 PM
North Texas
Alabama State 0 1st Half 20:00
South Alabama 0
Wisconsin 2:05 PM
Drake
Seattle 3:00 PM
Montana State
UC Santa Barbara 3:00 PM
Northern Ariz
Hofstra 3:00 PM
Norfolk State
Iona 3:00 PM
Pacific
Middle Tennessee 3:00 PM
Ole Miss
Portland 3:00 PM
Cal Poly
(10) Texas 3:00 PM
UCLA
Fresno State 4:00 PM
USC
Ave Maria 4:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Holy Cross 4:00 PM
(3) Notre Dame
Chicago State 5:00 PM
Oakland
(11) North Carolina 5:00 PM
Oregon
Harvard 6:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Princeton 6:00 PM
American Univ
Missouri 8:30 PM
(14) California
Yale 9:30 PM
Washington
UNLV 10:59 PM
Hawaii
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pm

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