Texas Tech basketball: Red Raiders finish the season unranked

The final poll of the 2019-20 season has been released and the Texas Tech basketball team was not in the top 25.

There isn’t going to be a college basketball National Champion this year but to give us the slightest bit of closure, we were given one final poll in the wake of the postseason’s cancellation.  Unfortunately, the Texas Tech basketball team did not make the cut.

After beginning the season at No. 13 in the Associated Press preseason poll, Tech received just three votes in the final A.P. poll.  That put an end to a string of two-consecutive seasons that Chris Beard and his program finished in the top 25.

Of course, last season the Red Raiders checked in at No. 2 in the polls after reaching the National Title Game.  The year before, Tech was No. 6 in the season’s last ranking after reaching the Elite Eight for the first time.

Amazingly, that was the first time in program history that Tech had been ranked at the end of back-to-back seasons.  Perhaps even more surprising might be the fact that this program has only finished seven seasons in the top-25.

As you might expect, Kansas ended the season ranked No. 1.  Of course, Tech came within an eyelash of knocking the Jayhawks off their perch atop the rankings in the season finale but came up just short in a 66-62 loss.  Gonzaga, Dayton, Florida State, and Baylor comprised the remainder of the top 5.

Other Texas Tech opponents from this year that can be found in the last poll of the year include Creighton (7), Kentucky (8), Louisville (14), West Virginia (24), and Iowa (25).  Interestingly, Tech was the only Big 12 team, other than the three ranked teams, that finished with any votes at all.

The highest the Red Raiders were able to climb to this year was 11th in the second poll of the year.  They would be in the polls for the first three weeks before a three-game losing streak knocked them from the rankings.

But two weeks after falling out of the polls, Tech was back at No. 24 thanks to shocking the then No. 1 Louisville Cardinals in New York City.  Beard and his team would spend the next six weeks ranked getting back to as high as No. 18.

However, in mid-January, back-to-back losses to TCU and Kentucky again sent Tech out of the top 25.  The Red Raiders wouldn’t return until February 8th, two days after beating Texas in Austin.

That stay would be brief though as a loss to Oklahoma State on February 15th resulted in another banishment from the polls.  Two weeks later, Tech returned to the top 25 for the final time this year after the blowout win at Iowa State, which would prove to be Tech’s final win of the season.

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In all, most expected the Red Raiders to be a fixture in the top 25 all season but though Tech spent seven weeks unranked and did not end up in the final top 25, it’s not fair to say that this year was a complete waste.  The experience that this young team collected in 2019-20 is going to pay dividends and will likely lead to plenty more weeks near the top of the polls next year.

 

 

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