Though most Red Raiders are squarely focused on the upcoming football season, Texas Tech basketball is never far from the collective consciousness in Raiderland. And one intriguing aspect of the upcoming 2022-23 season is that Mark Adams’ team will participate in the prestigious Maui Invitational in late November. On Monday, we learned what Tech’s draw will be in paradise.
At 1:30 pm CST, Tech (9:30 am in Hawai’i), the Red Raiders will open the tournament with a tough matchup against Creighton. That will provide a key early-season test for Adams’ rebuilt squad.
Coming off of back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, the Blue Jays will be a tough squad again this season. Though they lost two of their top three scorers from this past season, they return solid pieces such as Ryan Kalkbrenner (13.1 p.p.g., 7.7 r.p.g. in 2021-22) and Arthur Kaluma (10.4 p.p.g., 5.4 r.p.g.).
But that won’t be the only stiff competition that Tech will face in Maui. Other teams participating include Arkansas, Ohio State, Louisville, Cincinnati, and San Diego State.
Should Tech manage to take down Creighton, the winer of the first round game between Arkansas and Louisville will await. If Tech loses to the Bluejays, they will, of course, face the loser between the Hogs and the Cardinals.
Interestingly, Tech has some recent history will all three of those teams. In November of 2019, the Red Raiders faced Creighton in the Las Vegas Invitational where the Bluejays would previal 83-76 in overtime.
Meanwhile, later that season, the Red Raiders would score a huge 70-57 upset victory over No. 1 Louisville in New York City. It was the first time Tech had ever beaten the nation’s No. 1 team and that win was all the more improbable given that star Red Raider freshman and leading scorer, Jahmi’us Ramsey, would not play due to injury.
In 2021, the Red Raiders and the Razorbacks would meet in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In a rugged game, the Hogs would slip by with the 68-66 win with Tech missing several key shots to tie the game in the closing seconds.
Now, the Red Raiders are guaranteed to resume at least two of those series in Maui. And this event will be a perfect opportunity for Adams’ team to springboard back into the national college basketball conversation.
A featured event of ESPN, this Thanksgiving week tournament is annually one of the most viewed early-season events on the calendar. Performing well would help vault Tech into the collective consciousness of the sport and would set the Red Raiders up for a strong start to the season.
We can assume that these three games in Maui and the nonconference matchups with Georgetown (Big 12/Big East Battle) and LSU (Big 12/ SEC Challenge) will be the only resume-building opportunities Tech will have outside of Big 12 play.
It is 99 days until the college basketball season tips off. And Texas Tech basketball fans will be anxiously counting down to what we hope will be another wild ride in what has become the university’s signature sport.