The Texas Tech basketball team might be playing at its highest level thus far in the 2023-24 season but as Big 12 play arrives, there is still plenty we don't know about the Red Raiders. Some of that has to do with the fact that we've never seen Grant McCasland lead a team through the rigors of the toughest conference in the nation.
Meanwhile, we also don't know how the new-look conference is going to shake out. The cessation of the double round-robin scheduling format that the league had used since it shrank to ten teams means that not every team's schedule is equally balanced. Who will get the benefit of an easier path through the league?
Another reason we don't know what to expect from the Red Raiders is that this team is largely built around a collection of players that have no Big 12 experience. In fact, three of Tech's top six players have never played a game in this conference and a fourth, Kerwin Walton, hardly played at all in league action a year ago, his first go-round with the Red Raiders.
So let's look at some specific areas where there remain questions about McCasland's team ahead of the league opener Saturday night in Austin. That's because how these questions are answered will determine just how the next two months play out for Texas Tech.
Will the Texas Tech lack of team size in the post be a problem?
Coming into this season, it was obvious that the Red Raiders were going to be a smaller team with only one player (Warren Washington) standing over 6-foot-8. What's more, two of Tech's starting guards, (Pop Isaacs and Joe Toussaint) are no taller than 6-foot-1 at most.
Now, we are about to find out if that lack of size is going to be a huge detriment to the Red Raiders. That's because the Big 12 is full of talented big men and wings.
For instance, 7-foot Kansas Jayhawk Hunter Dickinson is third in the conference in scoring at 18.5 points per game. Meanwhile, 6-foot-11 Noah Waterman is a key for the surprising BYU Cougars as he is averaging 11.6 points and 6.6 boards per game. Even West Virginia, the worst team in the conference, has 6-foot-11 Jesse Edwards averaging 14.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Will the Red Raiders be able to compete against the big men in this league if Washington is in foul trouble, or even worse, injured? That's a concern.
However, Tech's lack of size isn't just limited to the post. That's because Isaacs and Toussaint are also on the smaller side.
Additionally, Darrion Williams at 6-foot-6 is the only Red Raider on the wing who has any semblance of size. Of course, this is where the loss of wing Devan Cambridge for the season is problematic given that his athleticism and size allowed him to defend any position on the floor.
Against cupcake non-conference teams like Sam Houston, Omaha, or Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Tech's lack of size wasn't exploited. That won't be the case in the Big 12 where teams like TCU (one of the tallest teams in the nation) will have a massive height advantage over the Red Raiders and it will be interesting to see how McCasland goes about combating that challenge.