Texas Tech trying to reverse awful history in Big 12 Tournament

This week, the Texas Tech basketball team will have an opportunity to reverse its miserable fortunes in the Big 12 Tournament.
Big 12 Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals
Big 12 Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

This week, as the Big 12 descends on Kansas City, fans are excited for a week of tournament action to wet the pallet before March Madness tips off next week. However, for many Texas Tech fans, the thought of the conference tournament is something to be uneasy about.

In fact, no current Big 12 school has a worse winning percentage in the event than the Red Raiders. In all, Tech is just 14-24 (.368) in the Big 12 Tourney. The only schools that have been worse in the event's history are former Big 12 members Nebraska (6-15) and Texas A&M (6-16).

Of course, Tech has never cut down the nets at the Big 12 Tournament. The closest the program has come was in 2005 and 2022 when in both seasons the Red Raiders reached the championship game. In 2005 it was a 72-68 loss to No. 10 Oklahoma State that ended the run and in 2022 Tech fell 74-65 to No. 6 Kansas.

Other times, highly-touted Red Raider teams have struggled in Kansas City. The most notable example was in 2019.

That season, the Red Raiders entered the tournament having won nine games in a row and owning a share of the Big 12 regular season crown. Seeded second in the tournament, Tech would play one of its worst games of the season in a stunning 79-74 loss to No. 10 seed WVU. It was the first time a No. 10 seed had won a second-round game in the event.

Of course, that loss proved to be a blessing in disguise as it served to refocus the Red Raiders ahead of the NCAA Tournament. Throughout the team's run to the National Championship Game, the Red Raiders repeatedly referred back to that loss to the Mountaineers as a reminder to take nothing for granted.

It was the second year in a row that WVU had ended Texas Tech's Big 12 Tournament run, though. In 2018, Tech, the No. 3 seed, opened up by beating Texas 73-69 but fell to the No. 2 seed Mountaineers 66-63 in the semifinals before making a run to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history.

That was just one of a number of brief stays in K.C. for this program. In all, Tech has been eliminated from the Big 12 Tournament in its first game 12 times in 26 years of the event. What's more, the program has won two games or more in the tournament just six times.

This year, Tech won't be picked to add to that small number despite being a top-four seed. That's because Grant McCasland's team isn't playing until the quarterfinals after earning two byes.

The problem is that even if Tech wins its first game, a matchup with the nation's top team, Houston, likely awaits in the semifinals. Thus, it could be a quick exit from the Big 12 Tournament again for the Red Raiders.

That may not be the worst thing, though. Tech isn't a deep team and it could use all the rest it can get before embarking on its NCAA Tournament journey next week.

That's especially true if there is any hope of big man Warren Washington getting to play in the postseason as he nurses a nagging foot injury. In fact, Washington may not play at all in Kansas City as Tech tries to get him back to full health for March Madness.

Still, it would be nice to see Tech make some noise in the Big 12 Tournament. Doing so would not only help the Red Raiders' potential seeding in the Big Dance but it would also start to erase some of the trauma Tech fans feel when thinking about watching our team in the Big 12 Tournament.