Texas Tech Basketball Receiving Increase In National Media Attention

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 17: Keenan Evans
DALLAS, TX - MARCH 17: Keenan Evans /

In the wake of the Texas Tech basketball team reaching the Sweet 16, there has been quite a bit of national and regional media attention helping boost the program’s profile.

Reaching the Sweet 16 for the first time in 13 seasons, the Texas Tech basketball team is hot right now.  The program is receiving national and regional media attention like never before.

Chris Beard has become quite the media darling thanks to his folksy analogies and down-home humility.  On Monday, he appeared on two national radio programs to discuss his team.

Beard was interviewed by Jim Rome, who asked Beard about coaching senior guard Keenan Evans.  Beard, who compared coaching Evans to eating great enchiladas last week, had another great analogy to share.

"“You know, you ever been like at the bar or something and you put like three songs left on the jukebox?  Then they put the lights on and you just got one song left and you’re like ‘man can we share one more song?’  I was telling Keenan that yesterday, I just want one more song with him and this team and I’m just the luckiest guy in the world to get to coach these guys.” Beard Said."

One unique angle that Rome took in the interview was when has asked about how much Beard spoke to his mentor Bob Knight.  Beard said that he still keeps in touch with the legendary head coach who still resides in Lubbock.

"“Coach [Knight] has been so supportive.” Beard said.  “I try not to bother him.  I think he’s earned the right to kind of live on his own terms here.  But he has full access to the program.  He comes by practice from time to time, he spoke to our team last year….[he and] his wife Karen have been really good to the program.”"

And of course, Rome brought up Beard’s comments about eating whataburger at 3 in the morning and sitting in a booth to people-watch.

"“At a late night Denny’s, iHop, Whataburger, whatever your flavor is, just to kind of sit back in the booth from time to time to see it all.  And I’ve really got to give my girlfriend credit for that.  We were going through the drive-through months ago and she was just like, ‘Man let’s just go in.’  And we went in and it was like an eye-opening experience for me…you see the good, the bad and the ugly.”"

Beard was also on the Doug Gottlieb show Monday.  The most insightful question Gottlieb asked concerned the recent controversies surrounding the college basketball coaching profession.  Specifically, he asked Beard about doing the job the right way conflicting narratives between coaches that cheat and coaches that play by the rules.

"“The controversy and the spicy stuff, that’s what sells and that’s the good articles.” Beard said.  “But there’s also like a pureness to like, a lot of the good parts to our game…My girlfriend…she watches a lot of these reality shows and ….everyone of those women have something going on.  None of them are just happily married…the spicy stuff sells..it’s what entertains people.  But I’d like to watch a reality show of a couple of people that are married and doing it the right way because I think there’s beauty in that too…To me that’s where real happiness come from and I would tell you that in basketball too.“To me, I’ve been on all sides of it.  I’ve been a junior college coach…now I’ve competed at these different levels and I’ll tell you, most guys are doing it right.  Most of us are out there trying to get it done and I’d put Purdue’s program right there.”"

Then the former Oklahoma State point guard asked about the Texas Tech job, and how its a destination job to Beard when others may see it differently.

"“I think there’s different programs and players and coaches having success right now.” Beard said. “…For us, we just want this success to continue to lead us to that last Monday night and certainly this year that would be awesome but everything has to go right for something like that to happen but hey, you know, we got a chance. We’re one of 16 teams left so we’ll take our odds.  But ultimately, we want the success we have this year to springboard us to next year and the year after… We just want to be one of those teams that’s not known  for the Sweet 16 several years ago.  We want to be known as a team that gets to this point.  I told the guys this morning, they’re not having a party right now in Lawerence, Kansas or in Durham, North Carolina or in Lexington, Kentucky because they’re in the Sweet 16….their parties happen at the Final Four, so as much as well kinda want to have our little moment right now, let’s keep this think rolling and the we’ll see if we can’t get ourselves in the class of those kind of schools.  That’s what we want to do.”"

While the Texas Tech head coach is one of the media darlings of the tournament, Keenan Evans and Zhaire Smith have also made names for themselves.

Evans was a featured guest on the “Ben and Skin Show” on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas Monday afternoon.  In addition, he’s been the focus of articles by USA TodayThe AthleticThe Austin American Statesman and The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Zaire Smith has opened quite a few eyes and is no longer Texas Tech fans’ little secret. Smith is seeing his NBA stock rise more than almost any other player in the tournament.  And of course, his first round 360 dunk is still generating plenty of buzz.

Next: How Texas Tech Was Able To Beat Florida

When there are only 16 teams left playing (and only two from Texas) the slices of the press pie become larger for each program.  Here’s hoping that Texas Tech is able to do everything possible to capitalize on all of the free publicity.