Texas Tech basketball: Early 2020-21 rankings bullish on Red Raiders

As numerous media outlets release their early top 25 rankings for next season, it is clear that many people around the nation are bullish on next year’s Texas Tech basketball team.

The 2019-20 college basketball season should be gearing up for the second weekend of this year’s NCAA Tournament right about now but the cancellation of the sport’s biggest event has left us all looking towards next season far earlier than we anticipated.  The good news is that most experts are expecting the Texas Tech basketball team to be a significant factor on the national scene in 2020-21.

With the focus of the sport now prematurely turning towards this November when the games return, many around the nation are releasing their early top 25 rankings for the upcoming season and the Red Raiders are on every list.  What’s more, many of the top analysts in the country think the Red Raiders will begin next season as a top-15 team.

Jeff Goodman puts the Red Raiders all the way up at No. 7 in his early preseason ranking.  He notes that even if Tech loses both Jahmi’us Ramsey and Davide Moretti, the cupboard will be stocked thanks to the additions of freshmen Nimari Burnett and Micah Peavy.

NBCSports slots Tech at No. 9 in their poll.  They believe that next year’s roster will be constructed in a way that is more conducive to what Chris Beard likes to do.

“The Red Raiders should have a roster that is a much better fit for the way that Chris Beard wants to play,” they write.  “Kyler Edwards and Nimari Burnett are both build in the mold of a classic Texas Tech lead guard, while Terrance Shannon will be on quite a few of the breakout sophomore lists you’ll find.”

A pair of rankings with Tech at No. 10 are Noeprimesports.com and Scott Gleeson of USA Today.  Interestingly, Gleeson talks as if he believes that Jahmi’us Ramsey will be back for his sophomore year.

“…last season’s close losses could turn into next season’s blessings,” he writes.  “Rising sophomore Jahmi’us Ramsey (15.0 ppg) will be an elite player and sharpshooter Davide Moretti returns for his senior year.”

ESPN.com has released its poll and Tech checks in at No. 12.  According to Jeff Borzello, Red Raider fans won’t have to worry about being on the bubble next season.

“We’ll never know if the Red Raiders’ struggles to end the season would have kept them out of the NCAA tournament, but it’s unlikely to come down to the final week next season,” he writes.

Finally, John Rothstein of USA Today puts Beard’s team at No. 17 in his rankings.  That’s about as low as any of the early polls or rankings have Tech slotted.

What is important to remember though is that the rosters of many teams are going to change significantly before the season begins.  That’s going to be true for Texas Tech.

We still wait to see if Ramsey will head to the NBA or not and whether Davide Moretti will decide to play professionally in Europe.  What’s more, Tech will almost certainly add at least one grad transfer this summer as Tech has been linked to a number of players in the transfer portal since the season ended.

Keep in mind that the Red Raiders didn’t add Chris Clarke and T.J. Holyfield to the roster until May of 2019.  Thus, we simply do not know what any of the teams in these early rankings will look like come November, especially given the uncertainty of the NBA Draft and evaluation process.

Typically, underclassmen are able to work out for NBA teams and receive feedback as to where they stand in the eyes of the teams in the association before being able to make their final decision on whether or not they will return to school.  However, if the NBA offseason if condensed because of the coronavirus, those opportunities might not be there for this year’s draft hopefuls like Ramsey.

There is normally an early-summer deadline for NCAA players to declare their intentions to either return to school or stay in the draft but with the interruption of the sports world for an unknown period of time, no one knows when players will have to make their final decisions this summer.  We also don’t know whether this unprecedented global crisis will prompt more players to return to school, especially if there is little or no NBA feedback on where underclassmen stand in the eyes of teams and executives.

Next: Beard interested in another UNLV transfer

But what we do know is that even with an unclear picture of what this team will look like by the time November arrives, the talent already on campus when added to the players set to arrive this summer is good enough to make the Red Raiders one of the preseason’s top teams.  When you give that type of talent to Chris Beard, it should make for another exciting year for Texas Tech basketball fans.


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