The all-time Texas Tech basketball March Madness starting lineup

The Texas Tech basketball program is no stranger to March Madness and the NCAA Tournament. So let's take a look at the players that would comprise the all-time starting lineup based on their NCAA Tournament productivity.

Texas Tech v Michigan State
Texas Tech v Michigan State / Streeter Lecka/GettyImages
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Center: Tariq Owens

I fully expected Texas Tech legend Tony Battie to be the starting center on this list. After all, he is one of the best players in program history.

However, his 1996 NCAA Tournament showing was disappointing. He put up only 10.7 points per game in that year's Big Dance (though he did grab 8.3 boards per game as well). That was down from the 18.8 points per game he averaged during that regular season. What's more, in the Sweet 16 loss to Georgetown, he mustered only four points and four rebounds.

Thus, I'm giving the starting nod at center to Tariq Owens. That's because he was a huge factor in Tech's 2019 run to the Final Four. In fact, without him, the Red Raiders wouldn't have made it all the way to the National Championship Game.

In the first five games of the tournament, he averaged 9.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, and an impressive 2.6 blocks per game. Of course, his most impactful moment came in the Elite Eight when he blocked a corner 3-point attempt by Gonzaga's Rui Hachimura then saved the ball from going out of bounds and got it to a teammate.

That late second-half play was one that essentially propelled the Red Raiders to the Final Four for the first time. However, Owens would suffer a sprained ankle in the next game, a win over Michigan State. Still, that day he managed 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks.

Unfortunately, that injury would render him a shell of his normal self in the championship game. Two days later he would play only 22 minutes scoring 3 points, grabbing 5 rebounds, and blocking only 1 shot as Tech would fall in overtime.

For the rest of our lifetimes, all Red Raider fans will be convinced that a healthy Owens would have helped carry Tech to the National Championship that year but it wasn't meant to be. Still, Owens was magnificient as Tech's defensive backbone in the run to the season's final game. In the tournament, he blocked 14 shots (including five in the first round game) and he keyed the defensive effort that led Tech to never-before-seen heights. Thus, he gets the starting spot at center on our all-time March Madness Texas Tech lineup.

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