After a 1-1 week that saw the Texas Tech basketball program face two of the top teams in the NCAA, voters were kind to the Red Raiders. On the heels of Saturday's 85-78 victory over No. 20 BYU, Grant McCasland's team now sits at No. 20 in the latest Associated Press to 25 poll.
Moving up five spots after a week that also saw Tech blown out at No. 5 Houston is a sign that the voters recognize two truths. First, the Big 12 is the best conference in the nation. Second, Texas Tech is a team that continues to warrant national respect.
In fact, no team in the nation had a tougher task than the Red Raiders did last week. According to the NCAA NET Rankings, Houston was No. 1 and BYU was No. 4 at the time they squared off with Tech. Thus, going 1-1 in that pair of games is something for everyone in scarlet and black to be proud of.
Now, Houston remains No. 1 in the NET and BYU is holding strong at No. 5. That means that those two teams remain two of the most highly-regarded in the nation according to the only ranking that the Selection Committee officially uses when putting together the field of 68.
As for the Red Raiders, they now find themselves at No. 35 in the NET. For that number to rise, Tech is going to have to collect more Quad 1 wins between now and Selection Sunday.
Currently, the Red Raiders are just 2-3 in Quad 1 games with the win over Texas in Austin also being a Quad 1 victory on the ledger. That's why beating BYU was so critical. It was not only a win that kept Tech atop the Big 12 standings at 4-1 (tied with Kansas State, a team that Tech owns a victory over) but it also gave the team a win that will almost certainly remain a Quad 1 win all the way until the bracket is revealed in March.
Coming up, road games at Oklahoma (No. 23 in the NET) and TCU (No. 37 in the NET) in the next two games will give Tech more opportunities for additional Quad 1 wins. Of course, winning on the road is also something the selection committee takes into consideration when seeding teams for the Big Dance so that is something that Tech needs to do a better job of given that its road record is just 1-2 thus far.
As for the remainder of the Big 12 and the A.P. poll, Houston sits at No. 4, Kansas at No. 7, Oklahoma at No. 11, Baylor at No. 15, BYU at No. 21, and Iowa State at No. 23. Meanwhile, Kansas State, TCU, and Texas all received votes this week. That means that 10 of the 14 teams in the league received at least a vote in the poll this week showing the dominance of depth of the Big 12.
Texas Tech has a much-needed six-day break between games this week before squaring off with OU in Norman this Saturday at 1 pm CST. That will be another chance for Tech to secure a win that will turn heads nationally and continue this season's climb toward the top of the rankings.