Texas Tech basketball: What we still don't know about the Red Raiders as Big 12 play arrives

Jan 1, 2024; Lubbock, Texas, USA;  Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Pop Isaacs (2) works the ball
Jan 1, 2024; Lubbock, Texas, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Pop Isaacs (2) works the ball / Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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Is Texas Tech ready to compete with ranked teams?

One of the strange aspects of this Texas Tech basketball season is that the Red Raiders have yet to face a ranked team. That makes them one of the few teams in the country to avoid a top-25 opponent this far into the season. How will they stack up starting Saturday when a string of ranked teams show up on the schedule?

The best team the Red Raiders have played so far is Villanova. When the Wildcats handed Tech an 85-69 loss in the Battle 4 Atlantis, they had just been knocked out of the polls by a recent loss. Now, they are 10-4 overall and still sitting outside the rankings. Yet, they outclassed Tech the day before Thanksgiving and that's concerning.

Butler also took down Tech 103-95 this year in Indianapolis. That was the only other good major conference opponent McCasland's team has faced so far given how awful Michigan (which Tech beat handily in the Bahamas) has turned out to be. The Bulldogs are also 10-4 this season and unranked after dropping their last two games, both being Big East matchups.

In Big 12 play, Tech will have to face four ranked opponents in the first six games of conference play. That includes three straight games against current top-15 teams Houston (No. 3), BYU (No. 12), and Oklahoma (No. 11) in late January with two of those games being played away from Lubbock.

Right now, eight of the games Tech is slated to play in Big 12 action will be against teams currently ranked. Can the Red Raiders rise to the occasion and take down some of these top-25 teams? If they want to reach the NCAA Tournament, they will have to.