Texas Tech is Highest Ranking Texas Team in College Basketball Top 25

Texas Tech is Highest Ranking Texas Team in College Basketball Top 25
Texas Tech forward KJ Allen (21) after a dunk during gameplay. | Image from Texas Tech Basketball Twitter

This week the Associated Press released the latest Top 25 men’s college basketball rankings. Texas Tech and Baylor were ranked in the top ten.

Retaining their place in the No. 1 spot was the Gonzaga Bulldogs for the second consecutive week. However, this week, the Bulldogs were the unanimous top team, receiving 61 first-place votes. 

Arizona moved up one spot to No. 2 for its highest ranking in four years. Auburn received first-place votes last week but dropped to No. 3 after losing 63-62 in an upset to unranked Florida over the weekend. Purdue follows at No. 4, with the first-place team in the Big 12, the Kansas Jayhawks (22-4, 11-2), rounding out the top five. 

The next highest-ranked Big 12 team is the Texas Tech Red Raiders at No. 9. The Red Raiders moved up from No. 11 after completing season sweeps over two ranked opponents last week. First, Tech defeated the then-No. 7 Baylor Bears 83-73 at home. The Red Raiders had also defeated then-No. 1 Baylor on the road in January, for the Bears’ first loss of the season. 

Texas Tech followed that win with a 61-55 victory over the No. 20 Texas Longhorns on the road in Austin over the weekend. Red Raiders fans packed into the Longhorns home arena in Austin to the point that the crowd was split almost equally with Longhorns fans. 

“It didn’t feel like a road game, seeing that sea of red,” Texas Tech coach Mark Adams said.

The win gives Texas Tech (21-6, 10-4) fans significant bragging rights over Texas and their former coach Chris Beard, who left Tech to coach the Longhorns after last season. The Red Raiders also defeated the Longhorns at home on February 1

Texas Tech fans in attendance in Austin booed loudly over the Longhorns school song, and anytime Beard’s face appeared on the big screen. The Red Raiders led by as many as 10 points with just over 3 minutes remaining. However, the Longhorns went on a 9-0 run to close their deficit 56-55. Texas Tech scored the final six points to complete the game. 

The Red Raiders were the more physical team, outscoring the Longhorns 26-10 in the paint and winning the rebounding battle 45-36. Texas Tech has one of the nation’s best defenses, and they showed it. Texas made just 17-of-60 (28%) total shot attempts. 

The Red Raiders have now won nine of the last 11 games over the Longhorns on the basketball court. 

“With all the respect I got for them, that was personal,” said Red Raiders guard Clarence Nadolny, who scored 14 points. “You don’t want to lose to the guy that left you.”

Following behind Texas Tech in the rankings is Baylor at No. 10. The Bears dropped from No. 7 due to their loss to the Red Raiders last week. 

On Saturday, Baylor (22-5, 10-4) bounced back with a 72-62 win over the TCU Horned Frogs. The Bears were severely shorthanded without guards Adam Flagler (knee discomfort) and LJ Cryer (foot discomfort), and key reserve big man Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, who is out for the rest of the season due to a severe knee injury.

Only six Baylor players saw the court all game without the key players. It did not matter, as the Bears led by as many as 21 points with five minutes remaining before a late surge by TCU made the score difference more narrow. 

The win gave Baylor 10 in-conference wins in the Big 12 for the seventh time in the last eight seasons. Before that, the Bears had only won ten games in-conference eight times over 103 seasons. Baylor is ranked in the Top 25 for the 53rd consecutive AP poll and the top ten for the 45th successive poll. Both streaks are school records. 

The Houston Cougars (22-4, 11-2 AAC) of the American Athletic Conference (AAC) are the next highest-ranked team from Texas at No. 14 for the second consecutive week. The Cougars bounced back with two wins last week after suffering two straight losses to unranked teams two weeks ago. First, Houston defeated UCF 70-52 at home before escaping with a 76-74 road win in double overtime over Wichita State over the weekend. 

After splitting their two games last week, the Texas Longhorns (19-8, 8-6) remained at No. 20 for the third consecutive week. Before falling to Texas Tech over the weekend, the Longhorns needed overtime to escape with an 80-78 road win over Oklahoma last week. 

Two local teams also received votes to be included in the Top 25. The SMU Mustangs received three votes to be included in the rankings. The Mustangs suffered a loss on the road last week to Temple before rebounding with a 73-57 win over Memphis at home over the weekend. SMU (19-6, 10-3) is currently in second place in the AAC, one game behind Houston. 

The North Texas Mean Green received two votes in this week’s poll. North Texas (20-4, 13-1 C-USA) is having a great season. They are currently on a 12-game win streak and first place in Conference USA (C-USA).

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