Texas Tech will host three of the conference newcomers
If novelty appeals to you, the visits to Lubbock by three of the conference newcomers might be right up your alley. On January 20, BYU will come to Lubbock just three days after Tech plays at Houston, the only Big 12 newcomer that the Red Raiders won’t host.
On February 3, the other red and black school now in the league, Cicny, comes to town. Then, Central Florida makes the long trip west on February 10.
For what it’s worth, Tech will also play at UCF on February 24, one of only two road games against a Big 12 newcomer this season. McCasland’s team won’t face BYU or Cincy away from home.
Houston is obviously the biggest fish of the conference additions. Appearing in the last five NCAA Tournaments, the Cougars reached the 2021 Final Four and were a No. 1 seed in the most recent Big Dance.
The rest of the newcomers have been struggling. UCF has only been to the NCAA Tournament once since 2005 (2019).
Meanwhile, BYU has only one NCAA bid since 2015. That came in 2021 when they lost in the first round as a No. 6 seed.
Cincinnati used to be a feared college basketball program with six Final Four appearances to their credit. However, they haven’t reached one since 1992 and they haven’t been past the second round since 2012. Currently, they are riding a three-season streak of not making the field of 68.
Outside of Houston, none of the new additions to the league are expected to make much noise. Tech needs to go at least 4-1 against these teams in order to be a contender in the conference race. With three of those games in Lubbock and the other being at UCF, which might be the worst team in the league this year, that goal should be attainable.