Texas Tech basketball: Ugly loss to OU no reason to panic

Feb 9, 2022; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners guard Elijah Harkless (55) shoots the ball over Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Terrence Shannon Jr. (1) during the first half at Lloyd Noble Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 9, 2022; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners guard Elijah Harkless (55) shoots the ball over Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Terrence Shannon Jr. (1) during the first half at Lloyd Noble Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports /

Just about every team that has ever played, regardless of the sport, has put forth a performance that can only be described as a dud.  And Wednesday night’s bedwetting by the Texas Tech basketball team certainly fits that bill.  But despite falling to a sub-par Oklahoma team 70-55, there’s no reason for Red Raider fans to worry or panic.

Certainly, there’s nothing great to be said about what transpired in Norman.  Tech was thoroughly beaten in virtually every aspect of the game as OU played arguably its best game of the season and the Red Raiders played their worst.

Still, the doom-and-gloom from the sizeable swath of the fan base that is acting like Chicken Little is puzzling.  After all, Wednesday’s defeat was the first one on the season that was inexplicable.

Falling to Providence by four points in a true non-conference road game was frustrating but no cause for alarm.  That’s especially the case now given that the Friars are 20-2 on the season and ranked No. 11 in the nation.

Also, losing to Gonzaga in Phoenix was an acceptable and expected outcome.  That’s especially true when you recall that Terrence Shannon Jr. missed that game with his first instance of the back spasms that have caused him to miss several games this year.

The Iowa State loss to open Big 12 play was easily explained.  Due to COVID and injury issues, Tech was forced to play with just seven players on its bench and did not have Shannon, Kevin McCullar, Daniel Batcho, or Mylik Wilson.

Meanwhile, last month’s loss to then last-place Kansas State is drawing some comparisons to Wednesday’s setback at Oklahoma.  But that game was far easier to swallow given that Tech was playing its fifth game in ten days and third game of that calendar week.

Of course, losing to Kansas on the road in double-OT is nothing to be ashamed of.  In fact, that loss opened many sets of eyes around the country and showed the nation just how good the Red Raiders are.

So why are so many fans jumping off of the ship after one horrible performance against the Sooners?  It makes no sense, especially given what we’ve seen in recent weeks in college basketball.

Sometimes we are too focused on our little Texas Tech bubble to realize what has been happening in the rest of the country.  And if we step back and look at the past few weeks in college hoops, it becomes far less worrisome to think about Tech losing to OU.

Just this week, we saw No. 7 Duke lose at Cameron Indoor Stadium to an unranked Virginia squad that entered the game just 14-9 on the year.  Meanwhile, No. 3 UCLA recently lost two games in a row.  Though one was to No. 7 Arizona on the road, the other was to a bad Arizona State team that was just 6-13 on the season entering the contest.

How about No. 1 Auburn?  They just fell to an unranked Arkansas team 80-76 this week.  Sure, the Hogs are playing well right now (they are riding a nine-game winning streak) but they are not some type of juggernaut by any means.

Another top-10 team to recently stub its toe is Michigan State.  Ranked No. 10 this week, the Spartans lost to a painfully mediocre Rutgers squad by 21 points on February 5th only to follow that up with a 70-62 loss to No. 14 Wisconsin the next game.

The point is that college basketball teams often stumble.  Even the best Texas Tech teams of all time have had their head-scratching moments.  Remember when the 2018-19 team that went to the National Title game lost its first game of the Big 12 tournament to last-place West Virginia?

Therefore, don’t panic over the Red Raiders’ poor showing in Norman.  The Sooners were the more desperate team as they entered the night sitting squarely on the bubble and they played like the hungrier squad.  What’s more, the lack of energy in the arena on Wednesday seemed to work in OU’s favor given that Tech, a team that feeds off of emotion and typically plays with all-out energy, seemed to be lulled to sleep by the thousands of empty seats inside the Lloyd Noble Center, one of the worst facilities in the Big 12.

Every team has those moments when you just have to throw your hands up and say, “It just wasn’t our night” and that’s all Tech fans could do on Wednesday.  And while that loss makes a Big 12 regular-season title highly unlikely for Mark Adams and his team, it doesn’t mean that we should be panicking or fretting over the state of things all of a sudden.  In fact, we should be thankful; thankful that this type of random listless performance came in mid-February and not mid-March.