Let’s take a look back at happier times by revisiting the Texas Tech basketball team’s 71-69 upset of Gonzaga in the 2005 NCAA Tournament.
Back in the spring of 2005, basketball uniforms were at their all-time baggiest, sports were still broadcast in standard definition, and the NCAA Tournament was only broadcast on CBS meaning that fans didn’t get to see every game in its entirety. It was also that year that the Bob Knight era of Texas Tech basketball reached its crescendo when the legendary head coach took the Red Raiders to the Sweet 16, his 15th and final trip to the tournament’s second weekend.
While the head coach had been that deep in the tournament quite often, it was Tech’s first trip to the Sweet 16 since 1996 and just the second time the Red Raiders had advanced that far since the NCAA Tournament field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985. It was also a return to glory for Knight though, as he had not won more than one game in an NCAA Tournament since 1993-94.
The 2004-05 Red Raiders finished the year 22-11 overall (including the postseason) after a 10-6 run through the Big 12 regular season and a trip to the conference tournament title game where they fell to Oklahoma State. That was only good enough to get Tech a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament though.
After Knight’s team took down UCLA in the first round 78-66. That set up a second-round showdown with No. 3 seed Gonzaga in Tucson, Arizona.
Though the 04-05 Zags may not go down in the annals of that program’s history as one of the best teams the school has ever produced, they were far from a pushover. After finishing the regular season 23-4 and capturing the West Coast Conference Tournament title, they entered the Big Dance ranked No. 10 in the nation in the top 25 polls.
Headlining their team was sophomore forward Adam Morrison, who earned All-American honors after scoring 19 points per game and who would win the NABC Player of the Year award the next season before being the No. 3 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. The 6-foot-8 forward, who looked more like the bass player for a Grateful Dead cover band than a basketball star, was a matchup problem given his lethal mid-range game and he gave Tech plenty of fits.
So let’s take a look back at this classic Red Raider game because it was one of the more improbable and thrilling moments of the Bob Knight era. (If you want to watch the entire game, you can do so here.) So let’s begin by looking back at how this game unfolded.